AISF wishes to disseminate knowledge and to be a reference point for those who wish to know more about the liver, its functioning and how to keep it healthy.

This site explains the function of this organ, its disorders, and ways to avoid them.

This section contains general information, which does not and should not replace the fundamental value of a medical test and a specialist consult.


The liver is located in the abdomen, under the right-side rib cage, and is the largest organ in the human body.

The liver is closely involved in every vital process: its diseases can be extremely severe and sometimes fatal.

The liver has numerous functions:

  • It metabolises nutrients, in particular those that are essential for the body, namely carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
  • It detoxifies the organism, as it protects the body from the action of numerous harmful compounds, both natural (for instance, alcohol and metals) and artificial (chemicals, pollutants, drugs etc. ) and from nitrogenous substances derived from protein metabolism.
  • It balances body fluids and, together with other organs- the kidneys in particular - helps regulate fluid distribution between blood, cells and tissue.
  • It produces bile, which is essential for digestion.




Pay attention to hygiene: hepatitis A is transmitted orally, that is to say, by infected food and beverages, such as shellfish, vegetables and water.  Be careful when you use scissors, razors and other sharp instruments that are also used by other people you do not know: hepatitis B and C are spread through infected blood.


Correct nutrition

A healthy and balanced diet helps keep your liver healthy.  Eat a lot of fruit and vegetables: they are a valuable source of vitamins, minerals and fibre.  Reduce your fat and fried foods intake as much as possible.  Weight control limits the accumulation of fat in the liver (hepatic steatosis or fatty liver) which can become the basis for a future pathology.


Moderate your consumption of alcoholic beverages

Do not exaggerate with alcohol: a glass of wine or beer per meal does not pose any problems, except in the case of restrictions due to liver disease. However, never drink alcohol while taking drugs as their combination can be extremely toxic for the liver.


Physical activity

Physical activity contributes to the normalisation of blood triglycerides in various ways.  Indeed, physical activity increases the activity of triglyceride-digesting enzymes (especially Lipoprotein lipase or LPL).


Never exceed the prescribed drug dosage

Do not misuse drugs and do not exceed the doses indicated by your doctor or suggested in the package leaflet: most drugs pass through the liver and, when their levels are high, can be harmful. Never mix different drugs without medical supervision.


Do NOT take recreational drugs

Synthetic recreational drugs can damage the liver permanently.  When syringes are exchanged, it is possible to spread hepatitis B or C or even the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which can make many liver diseases worse.  The combination of drugs and alcohol can be fatal.


Take care when getting piercings and tattoos

A lot of infections spread when piercings and tattoos are made using non sterilised tools.  Check that your tattoo artist uses disposable, sterilised tools in a clean and equipped environment.


Avoid unprotected sexual intercourse

There are a lot of sexually-transmitted diseases, including hepatitis B. Use a condom for safer sex.


Get vaccinated against the hepatitis B and A viruses

In 1991, mandatory universal vaccination of infants against hepatitis B was introduced.  However, anyone can ask to be vaccinated.  In the case of hepatitis A, it is recommended to get vaccinated when travelling to or having prolonged stays in exotic Countries and, in general, in areas where the disease is endemic (WHAT AREAS?)  (this is especially important for subjects already suffering from chronic hepatic pathologies).


Have regular blood tests performed

A simple blood test can check hepatic enzymes levels in the bloodstream, to get an idea of the health status of your liver.  Among these tests, the value of transaminases blood concentrations (especially GPT or ALT) is very useful in signalling the presence of a liver disease.