Do Fish Have Livers? Important Functions It Plays In The Body

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Oct 30, 2023 By Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Originally Published on Nov 30, 2021
Read on to know if fish have livers.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 9.0 Min

The liver is one of the most essential internal body organs in mammals, but is it the same for aquatic animals like fish?

The study of a fish’s body is known as fish anatomy, while the study of how the fish’s internal organs work together in a symphony in the water is known as fish physiology. The anatomy of the fish and its internal organs have evolved to support and provide excellent survival skills underwater.

The conditions underwater with soluble air are very different from the terrestrial conditions, as water is much denser than air, and this difference can make the process of respiration quite difficult underwater for human beings.

The liver is one of the most important and essential body organs in all vertebrates, including those that live in water. Fish too are vertebrates, which means that their bodies are supported by a bony structure that ends in a tail with a hollow cavity for the organs.

The structure can be made up of solid bone, like that of humans and animals, or of cartilage, which is a soft bone like the one that is present in our nose and ear.

The liver is a vital organ that is responsible for carrying out a lot of functions, like controlling blood sugar levels, filtering out toxins in the body, and preventing the blood from clotting in the body.

The liver is also responsible for producing a thick and gooey fluid known as bile, which can assist with digestion. It is the largest solid organ in vertebrates and is known to contain the ability to regrow itself to its full size in case of injury or damage.

The liver comprises about four lobes that each contain about eight divisions, which further contain thousands and thousands of small lobes.

Fish are complex vertebrates that have numerous different organs that help carry out basic bodily functions. Fish have a structure made up of bones called vertebrates, which comprises vertebral arches with a spine running along the length of their bodies, giving the body its shape and providing buoyancy.

The external organs of fish primarily include their skin, gills, eyes, scales, mouth, frontal fins, and dorsal fins. These organs are located on the outside of the body. The mouth and the gills make up the respiratory system that aids the intake of oxygen.

Some fish have specialized gills that allow them to come to the surface in search of oxygen and inhale oxygen directly from the air. The presence of a gill arch inside the body provides much-needed support to the gills.

The internal organs primarily include organs like the digestive system, which contains a soft tissue lining, the reproductive system, which comprises ovaries, and testicles that contain sperm in the male fish. The sperm is diffused with the eggs of the female fish, which are released after fertilization.

Other organs include the swimming bladder, kidneys, heart, spleen, and intestines. The kidneys and livers together help in filtering blood in fish.

Read this page till the end to find out if fish have developed livers like mammals and what function the liver performs in their bodies.

After reading about the life of a fish in water, also check that do fish have eyelids and do fish have blood.

Do fish have livers?

Now that we know how vital this body organ is for survival and carrying out millions of body functions, you may wonder if all fish have livers. Read further to find out and unravel some amazing facts, particularly the essential features of the fish liver.

All scientists are on the same page regarding the fact that all fish, big and small, bony and cartilaginous, mammals or not, possess a liver. This is because the liver carries out the functions that are basic for the survival of all kinds of animals, birds, and fish.

The liver in fish also somewhat performs the same functions that it does in human and animal bodies. The liver is present near the gills and helps carry out a lot of functions like digestion and prevention against internal and external toxicity.

What is the function of livers in fish?

As we have now established how important the liver is as an organ and how it is absolutely necessary for carrying out bodily functions, let’s take a closer and more detailed look at what the liver actually does and the various functions that it performs for the fish’s body.

You’ll be surprised to know that the liver alone performs numerous bodily functions and therefore is a very complex body organ. Some of the major functions that the liver performs are highlighted below.

Producing Albumin: The fish liver functions to produce a number of fluids to help aid a lot of bodily functions like digestion and battling toxicity and carrying out waste from the liver.

One such liver fluid is albumin, which helps in the transportation of essential nutrients in the body and helps prevent other fluids from getting absorbed into the bloodstream.

Producing Bile: Another essential fluid that is produced by the liver is bile juice. Bile is a very thick, gooey, and sticky liquid that is synthesized by the liver and aids in digestion, removing toxins from the food that has been consumed, thus preventing food poisoning. It particularly helps in the proper absorption of fats into the bloodstream.

Blood Filtration: The liver not only removes toxins and possibly poisonous elements from the food that is consumed but also helps clean out the bloodstream. The blood that flows in the abdominal region of the body is filtered by the liver.

Prevents Blood Coagulation in the Body: Blood begins to clot in the body of a fish for a variety of reasons. The knot-like coagulations start to form and can cause various problems in the body, such as restricting blood flow and movement in the body. The liver helps prevent the coagulation of blood in fish bodies.

Stores Nutrients: The liver can help restrain a lot of essential nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin D, blood sugar, fats, and many other nutrients. These important vitamins and minerals are then reabsorbed by the bloodstream and help prevent numerous deficiencies.

Prevents Infections: This large organ also helps clean out the bloodstream, as mentioned above. In the process of this cleansing, the liver also cleans out various bacteria and germs that might be present in the bloodstream.

Metabolism Of Xenobiotics: One of the most important functions of fish livers is to help with the metabolism of xenobiotics.This ensures that the lipophilic compounds are readily soluble in water, allowing them to be excreted easily. This function of the liver is directly related to the production and excretion of bile.

Fish liver is one of the most nutritious seafood you can get.

Benefits Of Eating Fish Liver

The fish liver is one of the most nutritious kinds of seafood you can have on your menu. It has a variety of benefits for your health and helps maintain a healthy and balanced diet.

But sadly, after the fish is caught, most fishermen remove the liver along with other fish entrails in the surrounding water before selling the caught fish’s skin on the market for consumption.

This is because the insides of the fish tend to rot sooner and spoil the meat, although fish liver has been used for making fish oil, which is used as a supplement to support growth and help in the prevention of various diseases.

Some of the major benefits of having fish liver or fish oil on your menu are explained below.

Reduces inflammation: Inflammation is a crucial part of our body that helps prevent infections. But sometimes inflammation can go on for prolonged periods of time and cause pain and discomfort.

This leads to a medical condition known as chronic inflammation. Eating cooked fish liver from some fish like tuna and other large fish or fish liver oil can help suppress inflammation as it contains many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin D.

Improves Bone Health: Bones form the basic structure of our body that helps provide proper form and allows movement. As we grow, our bones start becoming weaker and, after a certain point, start losing their mass.

The vitamin D present in fish liver oil helps in strengthening the bones and helps them absorb calcium better. Taking natural vitamin D supplements is essential for people who are in their middle-age years, especially women and people who live far away from the equator and do not receive many sun rays.

Improves Arthritis: The fish liver can help soothe the symptoms of arthritis by soothing and helping reduce swelling and joint pain. There is no medical cure for treating arthritis, but studies have shown that fish liver can help people with joint pain and arthritis.

Improves Eye Health: Studies have shown that the vitamin A present in the fish liver can considerably help improve eyesight. The omega 3 fatty acid and vitamin A work in perfect harmony with each other to promote vision and prevent age-related vision loss and diseases like glaucoma.

Great For Your Heart: The omega 3 found in fish liver and cod oil is an essential nutrient that the human body cannot produce on its own and is essential for the proper functioning of your heart. One capsule a day can be exceptionally beneficial for people who suffer from heart problems or have undergone heart surgery.

Helps In Depression: Yes, you read that right. By reducing high blood pressure, fish liver and cod oil capsules can help provide relief from depression and anxiety symptoms. Studies have shown that people who are deficient in vitamin D are more prone to depression and anxiety as compared to people who get a sufficient intake of this vitamin.

Treats Stomach Ulcers: The fish liver is rich in antioxidants and therefore prompts the healing of ulcers along the gut and stomach lining. Recent studies have also clearly shown that cod oil can help suppress the human genes that promote stomach inflammation and cause uneasiness and ulcers.

Nutritional Facts Of Fish Liver

As we discussed above, the fish liver is highly nutritious and filled with some amazing vitamins and nutrients that are essential for the functioning of our body.

Although it can be difficult to find and consume cooked fish liver, you can always consume fish liver oil or cod liver oil capsules orally and they would be just as beneficial for your health. Fish liver contains insane amounts of nutrients and good fat, also known as 'good cholesterol' for your body.

It is a good source of energy, vitamins like vitamin D, and saturated fatty acids.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for do fish have livers then why not take a look at, do fish have tongues, or do fish need oxygen.

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Written by Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason

Bachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason picture

Adekunle Olanrewaju JasonBachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

With over 3+ years of professional experience, Olanrewaju is a certified SEO Specialist and Content Writer. He holds a BSc in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. Throughout his dynamic career, Olanrewaju has successfully taken on various roles with startups and established organizations. He has served as a Technical Writer, Blogger, SEO Specialist, Social Media Manager, and Digital Marketing Manager. Known for his hardworking nature and insightful approach, Olanrewaju is dedicated to continuous learning and improvement.
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