Changes in bile synthesis by the liver or alterations in the enterohepatic circulation due to a variety of etiological conditions may represent a novel source of liver disease-specific biomarkers. Bile from patients with liver diseases exhibited significant changes in the levels of glycine- and taurine-conjugated bile acids, phospholipids, cholesterol and urea relative to non-liver disease controls. Cholangiocarcinoma and non-malignant liver diseases (NMLD) showed the most significant alterations. Further, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) could be differentiated from NMLD (p = 0.02), as well as non-liver disease controls (p = 0.02) based on the amounts of bile acids, phospholipids and/or cholesterol. HCC also differed with cholangiocarcinoma although not significantly. Urea increases somewhat in non-malignant liver disease relative to non-liver disease controls, while the bile acids, phospholipids and cholesterol all decrease significantly. The ratio between some major bile metabolites also distinguished NMLD (p = 0.004-0.01) from non-liver disease controls. This snapshot view of bile homeostasis, is obtainable from a simple nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) approach and demonstrates the enormous opportunity to assess liver status, explore biomarkers for high risk diseases such as cancers and improve the understanding of normal and abnormal cellular functions.