Synonyms: Digestive acids
Medical Specialties: Family practice, Gastroenterology, Internal medicine
In the body, bile acids are fatty substances formed from cholesterol and secreted by the liver to help the body digest fats and fatty acids.
Bile acids are weak acids, formed in the body from cholesterol. Bile ducts carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder and then, when needed, to the small intestine.
When we eat, fat contained in food triggers the release of a hormone that leads to the gallbladder contracting and releasing the bile acids into the intestine. In the small intestine, bile helps break down fats so that they can be absorbed, and the cholesterol that comes from food and bile is absorbed.