Bile is a fluid that is made and released by the liver and stored in the gallbladder.
Bile helps with digestion. It break down fats into fatty acids, which can be taken into the body by the digestive tract.
Bile contains mostly cholesterol, bile acids (also called bile salts), and bilirubin
(a breakdown product of red blood cells). It also contains:
- Body salts (potassium and sodium)
- Copper and other metals
Afdhal NH. Diseases of the gallbladder and bile ducts. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 158.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.