Bile is a digestive fluid that is made and released by the liver and stored in the gallbladder.
Bile helps 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 water and body salts (potassium and sodium), as well as very small amounts of copper and other metals.
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David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.