The liver synthesises bile which is important for fat digestion and is also a route of excretion from the body. Bile consists of water, bile salts, cholesterol, phospholipids, electrolytes and bile pigments which give it its typical yellowy-green colour.
Bile is stored and concentrated in the gall bladder. The presence of fats in the gut during meals stimulates the gall bladder to empty. Bile enters the duodenum emulsifying fats into smaller globules, which can then be broken down further by lipase enzymes.
Metabolic wastes and drug products may form part of the bile which can then be excreted from the body through the digestive tract in the faeces. Bilirubin, the toxic end product of haemoglobin breakdown, is excreted from the body in this way.