Where are bile acids produced and stored

Production of the bile

The bile is produced in the cells of the liver. These first release the bile into tiny tubules between the liver cells. From there it then flows through the liver bile ducts and the main bile duct into the duodenum. Shortly before this, the duct from the pancreas opens into the main bile duct.

This anatomical occurrence can lead to problems: if a gallstone clogs the opening of the gallbladder duct into the intestine, not only the bile but also the pancreatic juice backs up into the pancreas. This can cause the pancreas to become inflamed. In some people, however, the biliary and pancreatic ducts open separately into the duodenum.

The wall of the bile duct is muscled in the area where it joins the duodenum. When bile is not needed to digest fats between meals, the muscles contract so that it cannot flow into the duodenum. It stays in the gallbladder, where its water is withdrawn and it is stored for further use.

The consumption of fatty foods stimulates the formation of the hormone cholecystokinin in the small intestine. This causes the gallbladder to contract and force the bile into the main bile duct. At the same time, the muscles of the bile duct opening relax and the bile can flow into the duodenum. The autonomic nervous system plays another important role in the relaxation of the muscles - as in the overall digestion. Physical and psychological stress can affect digestion in this way.