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The liver filters blood, removing toxins found there.

The liver is a large organ in the upper right-hand side of the abdomen. It actually has a number of jobs in addition to detoxification. A vein called the portal vein connects the digestive tract to the liver, allowing drugs, alcohol, and toxins found in food to be delivered this way.

Liver lobules are made up of individual liver cells formed into groups. In the liver cells, a host of enzymes work on the chemicals they find, helping break them down. In general, these compounds aren’t water-soluble, so they need to be converted into another form that’s both nontoxic and water-soluble to remove them from the body via stool or urine.

The enzymes use a set of chemical processes referred to as Phase I reactions and Phase II reactions. Both of these sets of reactions need to work properly for full detoxification to occur. When the products are broken down, they’re shunted to the bowel for elimination.

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