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The liver is one of the most important organs in the body, sitting just next to your stomach, on the right hand side of your body. It is protected by your ribs, which help to stop it becoming damaged in any way. The liver performs many vital functions that are essential in everyday life. These include the storage and synthesis of glucose which is used as energy within the body and production and breakdown of proteins into smaller compounds that can be used to make new cells. Other important functions of the liver include the removal of harmful substances from your blood stream, such as alcohol and drugs such as paracetamol. Finally but most importantly, the liver is responsible for producing special molecules known as clotting factors, which stop you from bleeding following an injury such as a cut.

Normally, following a meal, glucose is absorbed into the blood and transported around the body to be stored in various sites such as muscle and liver tissue as a special complex compound called glycogen. This compound is effectively thousands of glucose molecules strung together, which can then be broken down into glucose when the body needs it. Unfortunately, people who suffer from diabetes lack insulin which is a special hormone that tells the liver and muscle to store glucose. Without it diabetic patients can become very ill, a state known as DKA or diabetic ketoacidosis. This is why diabetic patients need to take insulin regularly, especially following meals.