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Functions of the Liver: Why is it Important to Take Care of Your Liver?

What organ regenerates itself if you treat it kindly? Your liver.

The liver is essential for life, and while most people realize it plays a pivotal role in filtering out toxins, the truth is it does so much more. In fact, the liver impacts almost every facet of a person's health.

If you think you're a liver expert, you might feel surprised to discover some little known facts about the functions of the liver. Test your knowledge here.

Basics

The liver is under the ribs and to the left of the stomach on the right side of the body.

Doctors and scientists consider it both an organ and a gland, which is a collection of cells. But don't let that fool you; this three-pound part executes over 500 roles within the body. The gland is also one of the largest and heaviest organs, second only to the epidermis.

The liver's main function is to convert nutrients into usable forms.

Damage to the liver results in severe symptoms because of its vital role. Although it regenerates if 25% of its tissue survives, continuous damage is life-threatening.

Thankfully, responsible drinking and dietary additions such as turmeric aid in the regeneration process.

The Functions of the Liver

Almost everything we do requires a functioning liver. By the time you finish this list, you will know exactly what we mean.

Detoxification

Probably one of its most famous functions, the liver rids the body of toxins. It identifies foreign or dangerous materials and eliminates them—literally.

When detoxification occurs, the liver targets unacceptable toxins with enzymes and oxygen. The two work together to burn the toxins into nothingness.

Whatever is left over is combined with amino acids and deposited in bile or the urine, which eventually leaves the body.

But the liver's execution process isn't limited to substances like alcohol and drugs; it also eliminates compounds within the body, such as hormones and bilirubin, a byproduct of red blood cells.

Red Blood Cells

Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Within each red blood cell, a protein called hemoglobin carries the oxygen required for regular functions.

Unfortunately, red blood cells die off after approximately 120 days, leaving it up to the body to create more.

One of the liver's jobs is to store hemoglobin, aiding in the creation of new blood cells.

Blood Pressure Regulation

The liver also impacts blood pressure through angiotensinogen, a protein. The liver creates this protein and sends it throughout the body.

The kidneys and lungs metabolize the angiotensinogen into a different form, which binds to receptors throughout the body.

In addition to affecting the nerves, adrenal glands and kidney's functioning, angiotensinogen also impacts blood pressure. It constricts blood vessels to increase the pressure.

Finally, the gland produces albumin, another protein. Albumin also maintains pressure and prevents leaks.

Digestion of Fats

Fats are difficult to digest. It is one of the liver's tasks to make digestion of fats easier.

Think of fats within the body as slabs of oil sitting in water; the two don't mix well. To overcome these slabs, the liver produces bile acids, which bind with the water and fats to form a bridge. Eventually, the "bridge" breaks down the fats altogether.

But your workhorse of a liver doesn't stop there. It also begins the process of transforming the fat into concentrated energy. The body uses this energy when glucose levels become low.

Blood Sugar

Without the liver, appropriate blood sugar levels would not be possible.

When individuals consume carbohydrates, the liver hoards them. There, it breaks the carbohydrates down into glucose and sends it sailing away into the bloodstream.

Through this functioning, the body maintains safe levels.

Clotting

Clotting is imperative in the healing process, and here again, the liver peeks its rubbery head out.

Vitamin K
is the hero who rids humans of minor scars and spider veins, yet it also plays a role in clotting. Due to several components that bind to calcium ions, it is the prime factor that turns a bleeding cut into a scab.

Without the liver's bile, however, no amount of Vitamin K would clot blood. This is because the body requires the liver's bile to absorb Vitamin K.

Nutrient Processing

One of the major tasks of the liver is to break down food into nutrients, which are then used for a variety of purposes. One purpose of the nutrients is energy.

The liver stores particular nutrients for times when individuals require a burst of energy. For that reason, it stores minerals and vitamins then releases them into the body when it needs them.

Other purposes include the creation of proteins or the breakdown of old cells.

Livers and Drug Use

Unfortunately, some medications and drugs have negative consequences on the liver. Alcohol is especially harmful to the liver for two reasons:

  1. It damages liver cells
  2. It dehydrates the liver
    When alcohol reaches the liver, it creates acetaldehyde. This enzyme damages the healthy cells within the gland and leaves permanent scarring.
Furthermore, alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it encourages urination and, by extension, dehydration. Since the liver requires large volumes of water to function, excessive alcohol use minimizes its functioning, wreaking havoc on the body.

Don't push away your rare cocktails yet, though. Alcohol in small quantities or in moderation gives the liver time to regenerate. With the added help of substances like inositol and turmeric, regeneration occurs.

The liver affects practically every system of the body, ensuring it has oxygen flow, appropriate pressure and sufficient glucose.

The functions of the liver span a wide range, but it's not an invincible organ and gland. Like all parts of the body, it's susceptible to damage, especially from alcohol.

1 comment

Jul 01, 2019 • Posted by Debbie

I’d like to buy some

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