Hepatitis C: An In-Depth Guide

The Liver

The liver is the largest internal organ in the human body and the primary site targeted by the hepatitis C virus. 

It is located on the right side of the body just under the ribcage. Weighing just over one kilogram in the average adult, the liver is one of the few organs that can regenerate if damaged. It performs more than 500 essential processing functions for virtually everything people eat, drink, breathe or rub on their skin. 

The liver's functions include: 

1. Blood Cleanser: The liver metabolizes alcohol, drugs and other chemicals, and neutralizes poisons. 

2. Chemical Regulator: The liver monitors body fuel through glucose production, storage, and supply; regulates hormones for sexual development, and thyroid and adrenal function; controls supply of iron, copper, and some vitamins; and monitors levels of cholesterol and other fats. 

3. Protein Manufacturer: The liver makes essential proteins for blood-transporting systems, blood clotting and immune function.

Revised 2011.