I guess wanting to put information about the structure and function of the liver and gallbladder comes from my high school AP biology teacher. We always learned the--in this order--structure, function, malfunction, disease and treatment of any type of organ or system in the body. I'm not going to go into too much detail but if you want to skip to the liver flush just click here.
Getting to know your hepatic-biliary system
The liver is essential to the function of the human body. Its primary functions are detoxification, protein synthesis, production of biochemicals necessary for digestion, namely bile, and a host of other functions. An adult liver is a little smaller than a bicycle helmet making it the largest internal organ in the human body. The liver is also special in that it gets its blood from 2 different locations in the body. There is a direct path from the intestines to the liver as well as branched artery from the aorta. This direct path from the intestines allows the liver to be the first to filter through all the nutrients or toxins that have made it to the intestines.
The liver is also directly connected to the small intestine via the common hepatic duct. This tube makes a stop off along the way to a small pear shape sac called the gallbladder. The gallbladder's main function in humans is to store up bile until a meal with fat or protein is consumed and pushed into the small intestine after the stomach is finished with it. The bile is a very alkaline and not only used to help break down oils but also used to neutralize your stomach acid when it enters the duodenum (the first part of your small intestine. You can remember the parts of the small intestine by remembering the phrase "[D]igestive [J]uices [I]nside" which stands for Duodenum, Jejunum, Ileum). The gallbladder can store almost 2 oz of bile when it and the liver are functioning properly.
Problems that can occur
With all systems of the body, balance is the key to health. If something becomes out of balance--like eating too much fat or consuming too many toxins--the flawless functioning of the system breaks down. Many diseases that involve a slowing or breakdown of liver function are accompanied by jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) because the liver is unable to flush out a byproduct of breaking down old red blood cell. Another problem that can occur is gallstones which is closely associated with a thickening of bile into biliary sludge. This thickening of bile is caused by particles precipitating out in the bile itself. Most often these precipitates are cholesterol crystals and calcium salts though the make-up is unique to each individual and cause of the problem. You can have biliary sludge and not even know it as this condition is often asymptotic. This sludge and the gallstones are what we are attempting to flush.