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Bile acids are formed in the liver from cholesterol, conjugated primarily to glycine and taurine, stored and concentrated in the gallbladder, and secreted into the intestine after the ingestion of a meal. In the intestinal lumen, the bile acids serve to emulsify ingested fats and thereby promote digestion. During the absorptive phase of digestion, approximately 90% of the bile acids are reabsorbed.Total bile acids are metabolized in the liver and can serve as a marker for normal liver function. Increases in serum bile acids are seen in patients with acute hepatitis, chronic hepatitis, liver sclerosis, and liver cancer.
Overnight fasting is preferred. Recommended specimen for patient on UDCA treatment: Before morning dose