The bile is formed in the liver and helps in the digestion of fat in the intestine. Read more about the composition and tasks of bile!


The bile is a secretion from the liver cells, which - on the day more than at night - is fed through the bile ducts to the small intestine and fat digestion is used. In part, it is previously stored in the gallbladder and concentrated. Read all about the bile: Function, composition and important health problems associated with liver secretions!

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  • What is bile?

  • What is the function of bile?

  • Where is the bile formed?

  • What problems can bile cause?

What is bile?

The bile juice is a yellow to dark green liquid that consists of about 80 percent water. The remaining approximately 20 percent consist mainly of bile acids, but also of other substances such as phospholipids (such as lecithin), enzymes, cholesterol, hormones, electrolytes, glycoproteins (proteins with carbohydrate content) and waste. Also metabolites of metabolism are included, such as bilirubin, which is formed during the degradation of the red blood cells and is responsible for the color of the secretion.

Read also

  • anus
  • pancreas
  • intestine
  • colon
  • small intestine
  • gallbladder
  • ileum
  • jejunum
  • Islets of Langerhans
  • liver

What is the function of bile?

The bile acids activate fat and protein-splitting enzymes from the pancreas and the small intestine. They emulsify the fats that have been taken with the food so that they can be dissected by the fat-splitting enzymes. With the fission products (free fatty acids, monoglycerides) the bile acids form so-called micelles (spherical aggregates) and thus allow their absorption, while remaining in the intestine itself and can "continue to work".

With cholesterol, the bile acids (as well as lecithin) also form micelles. Only then can cholesterol be excreted in larger quantities. Bile eliminates other substances that are difficult to dissolve in water, such as drugs and metabolic waste products.

In the lower sections of the small intestine, most of the bile acids are absorbed and brought back to the liver via the portal vein (enterohepatic circulation) - so to speak, they are recycled and only have to be re-produced in small quantities.

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Where is the bile formed?

The bile is formed in the liver cells (about 0.5 to 1 liter per day) as a fluid secretion. This is called Lebergalle. It is secreted into the tubular columns located between the cells, the so-called biliary capillaries or canals. The small tubules unite to larger ones and ultimately lead to the common liver passage. This bifurcates into two branches: one opens as a gallbladder into the gallbladder. The other, as a large bile duct, continues to the duodenum, the uppermost part of the small intestine.

If there is high-fat food in the intestine, the bile is released directly into the duodenum. If not, it can be cached in the gallbladder. It is thickened by dehydration and then referred to as bubble nog.

What problems can bile cause?

In case of biliary colic or a high intestinal obstruction, bile breakage (cholemesis) can occur.

If the bile contains too large amounts of cholesterol or bilirubin, these can precipitate and form "stones" (cholesterol stones, pigment stones). Such cholelithiasis can lead to further complications such as jaundice (jaundice) or inflammation.

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    What gut bacteria can do

    In the human intestine billions of little roommates cavort. There, they not only help with digestion. Intestinal bacteria affect the entire body to the brain and even control feelings. How do you do that?

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    Thick or thin?

    Normally, stretch receptors in the stomach and peptide messengers signal that you feel full after a decent meal. Some of the small roommates in the intestine work against it and produce certain messengers. These pretend to the body, one is still not full. So they provide enough food replenishment. If you have many of the hungry subtenants, you will get fat - and maybe even develop diabetes. But there are also slimming products in the gut.

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    Do not feel like sweets?

    The hunger artist among the intestinal inhabitants is the bacterium E. coli. It uses less food than other bacteria. When its human host eats little sweets, E. coli benefits because its hungrier competitors thrive so less well. E. colis trick: Since its cell wall consists of sugar, it suppresses the desire for sweets in its human host. This also benefits the slim line of the people.

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    Also with various allergies and autoimmune diseases, the intestinal bacteria seem to be related, such as with asthma. When they decompose fiber, they produce fatty acids, which are transported with the blood into the bone marrow. There they influence the production of certain immune cells. These then migrate to the lungs, where they slow down the excessive immune response typical of asthma.

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    Protection against influenza viruses?

    The influence on the immune system can also be a positive one: The intestinal dwellers are also a booster for the immune system. They strengthen the immune system in infections and combat influenza viruses and co. Vigorously. Experiments with mice show: If the intestinal microflora is missing or decimated, an infection is much more serious.

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    Healthy gut, healthy spirit?

    The power of intestinal bacteria probably reaches into the brain and affects the psyche. Recent studies suggest that an unfavorable composition of the intestinal flora could promote depression, schizophrenia and possibly even dementia. One possible reason: Bacteria in the intestine produce fatty acids during digestion that activate the garbage collection in the brain. If it does not work properly, the nerve cells in the brain can be damaged.

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    Even as we feel, the bacteria in our guts are interfering. Certain lactic acid bacteria, for example, produce a precursor to the happiness hormone serotonin and could thus lighten the mood.

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    ... or Griesgram?

    Other microbes could also spoil the mood. For example, cry children have altered gut flora. The scientists' hypothesis: The intestinal bacteria spur children's displeasure so that they are fed more. And that also benefits the bacteria.

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    Hero or scaredy cat?

    An experiment with mice has shown that gut colonies may even influence how anxious someone is. Rodent-free rodents were either given intestinal bacteria by anxious or courageous animals. The amazing thing is that they behave accordingly more anxiously or courageously. It even worked to "reprogram" the animals. Previously anxious mice became courageous rodents with the microbiome.

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    Exchanged subtenants

    That it can give bad belly rumble, if the intestinal flora is disturbed, comes to light. Then threaten complaints from irritable bowel syndrome to severe inflammatory bowel disease. By contrast, a drastic method helps: The rioting subtenants are eradicated with antibiotics. Then the patient receives new subtenants - in the form of a chair transplant with feces from a healthy person.

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    Casting for the intestinal WG

    With so much impact on health, of course, the question arises: Can one choose his Darmmitbewohner? And who would you like to live in your Darm-WG? Basically, the more colorful the shared flat, the better. In fact, you can influence your roommates through your diet. The rule is: fat and high-sugar food limit the variety in the intestine, fiber increases it.

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