Your heart pumps blood, your kidneys filter impurities, your stomach handles digestion, and your brain controls all bodily functions. So what is the function of a hard-working, burdened liver? It has not received the attention and appreciation it deserves. Learning about your liver is the best way to awaken your appreciation for this little-known organ.
This article lists 27 tidbits to make this most underestimated organ shine and help you better understand its structure, function and how to maintain liver health. Finally, you can share these advanced knowledge about the liver with your friends and family, and spread the good habit of loving the liver together.
structure of the liver
- The winner of the battle for the largest organ in the human body is the skin . But your liver holds the title of largest internal organ, weighing in at about three pounds, the second-largest.
- You’re not the only creature with a liver. All living organisms with spinal cords (vertebrates) have a liver, which shows the importance of the liver.
- The shape of the liver appears to be larger at the head and smaller at the tail. It can be subdivided into thousands of lobules, each with its own tiny canal.
- Your liver holds 10% of your body’s blood . It doesn’t always hold that much fluid, but it does process about 1.5 liters of blood per minute.
- The liver is not only an organ but also a gland. That’s because it secretes bile into the intestines.
- Due to biological evolutionary requirements, as long as you have a quarter of your liver, the organ can regenerate to its original size and regain full function. This is why liver donors can donate half their livers and live on.
- Too much fat is bad for the liver. But under normal conditions, this vital organ is about 10 percent fat.
Important functions of the liver
- Speaking of fat, one of the intricate jobs of the liver is fat metabolism. The bile produced by the liver is an important contributor to this task.
- Your liver can replenish up to a liter of bile per day to kickstart your metabolism.
- Bile also metabolizes other macronutrients (proteins and carbohydrates). Therefore, bile production by the liver is key to breaking down a large diet and ensuring overall health.
- More than just your body’s production plant and metabolic workhorse, your liver provides storage space for a variety of important nutrients, including glycogen (stored glucose), iron, copper, and various fat-soluble vitamins .
- Everything you eat is filtered by your liver. The liver absorbs and processes nutrients, toxins, drugs, alcohol, and hormones (hormones) from the diet.
- In addition to filtering, the liver performs many functions related to blood. The bile produced by the liver helps the body support vitamin K to form blood clots, and it can also:
- Produces an important protein (albumin) in serum
- Formation of hormones that regulate blood pressure (angiotensin)
- Bilirubin in broken down hemoglobin
- The liver helps provide the body’s immunity. Both of your immune defenses—innate and adaptive—are maintained by the body’s second largest organ.
- Your liver is a transfer station that delivers nutrients that determine your body’s needs through the portal vein, where they are stored and processed before being sent to the detox process or eliminated as waste.
- When the liver is mentioned, the first thing that comes to your mind is probably the detoxification function. It excretes the toxins you absorb in two stages. The liver’s first detoxification pathway (phase one) neutralizes the compounds, while the second phase processes the by-products of the first phase and dissolves them in water for elimination.
- Glutathione is one of the most important antioxidant components in the human body. The body performs synthetic functions, so you can find glutathione in your body. Since it is used in the second phase of the detoxification process, the glutathione concentration in the liver is more than 10 times higher than in the rest of the body.
Health tips for nourishing the liver
- If offal is your thing (depending on your culture and dietary preferences), then liver is definitely the way to go. Edible animal liver is rich in protein, iron and various vitamins.
- Let me tell you a secret everyone knows: the food you eat has a huge impact on the organs that process it. An important key to maintaining liver health is getting enough fiber . Help this powerful detoxification organ function properly through weight management and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.
- Even though fat is what the liver is made of, eating too much of it can compromise the health of your body’s largest detoxifying organ, especially saturated fat; omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats like olive oil are smarter choices .
- Caffeine gives you a more energized start to the day and gives you energy to keep fighting in the afternoon, and the liver is an important organ for processing caffeine. Caffeinated beverages , especially coffee and green tea, have been shown to have liver-protective health benefits.
- Weight management is important to overall health —and your liver is no exception. Carrying too much weight on the body can strain the liver and ultimately affect its function. Watching your diet and exercising regularly can help you manage your weight and maintain your liver.
- Reducing your sugar intake is an important step in weight management, and it particularly affects your liver—mainly due to your liver’s connection to glucose storage. You can start by switching from sugary drinks to plain water, which will help you maintain healthy hydration levels.
- A diet based on a variety of fruits and vegetables is essential for optimal health. In addition to the macronutrients you need for overall health, some vegetables also have hepatoprotective benefits. Eat plenty of cauliflower (broccoli), spinach, berries, grapefruit, and grapes to keep your liver healthy.
- Your liver is responsible for processing the alcohol you consume. The liver can easily handle moderate alcohol consumption, but the buildup of too much alcohol on a party night can slow down your liver’s progress.
- Drugs must be broken down by the liver to be effective. Combining prescription and over-the-counter medicines and even certain nutritional supplements may trigger liver problems. Be sure to follow directions and tell your healthcare professional and pharmacist about all supplements and medicines you are taking so they can help you avoid potentially harmful effects.
- Taking proper precautions against environmental toxins is also how to maintain your liver. Cleansers and other chemicals you inhale must be processed and neutralized in the liver. This protection is one of the jobs of your largest
detoxificationorgan. You can wear appropriate personal protective equipment (such as masks) when you come into contact with chemicals. ) to reduce the load on the liver.