Liver Health 101: Top Reasons To Love On Your Liver
Did you know that your liver is one of the busiest organs of the body? It is responsible for about 500 functions to keep your body at its prime.
Since this organ is crucial for your overall health, it’s important to give your liver some love.
To understand how important the liver is and what you can do to take care of it, scroll down to learn more about its functions and how to support your liver.
11 Functions of the Liver You Cannot Take for Granted
Below are some of the essential functions of the liver.
1. Handles food digestion
The food you consume immediately breaks down into tiny pieces when it reaches the digestive system. These pieces eventually turn into nutrients that go through your bloodstream and move toward your liver. As soon as it enters the organ, these nutrients are immediately processed based on your body’s needs.
“The liver is the organ which is in closest contact with the intestinal tract, and is exposed to a substantial amount of bacterial components and metabolites.” Gut health and liver health are heavily connected.
2. Filters alcohol
If you drink alcoholic beverages, 25% of what you consume gets absorbed by your bloodstream. At the same time, the rest goes straight to the small intestine. Once the alcohol reaches your bloodstream, it will stay there until the liver starts to process it.
The liver breaks down the alcohol with the enzyme known as dehydrogenase (ADH). It starts by turning the substance into acetaldehyde, eventually turning into acetate. This final process will make the alcohol turn into carbon dioxide and water as it leaves the body.
3. Metabolizes medicines
Your liver exerts more effort every time you take medicine. The different metabolic processes in the liver turn the medicine into a water-soluble substance so you can easily flush it out of your body without affecting your sensitive organs.
4. Creates new blood
The liver can rejuvenate old and damaged blood cells and produce new ones.
According to research, the liver depends on a buffer system containing specific monocytes that consume damaged red blood cells in the bloodstream. Once they reach the liver, they turn into a different kind of cell known as macrophages, which can recycle iron.
5. Supplies the body with energy
Another crucial responsibility of the liver is regulating the sugar level in your bloodstream.
If your liver works properly, it can regulate the blood glucose level and transform the sugars into glycogen -- the quick-release energy.
Once the blood glucose level dips, the body will use the stored glycogen and then turn it into glucose to provide energy to your body.
6. Manufactures essential body proteins
This organ produces all the crucial body proteins used in various functions, including blood clotting, transporting substances in the bloodstream, and boosting infection resistance.
7. Manages hormones
The liver plays a vital role in maintaining hormone balance, including thyroid hormones, sex hormones, adrenal hormones, and cortisol. It also modifies or removes all excess hormones from the body.
If the liver cannot properly regulate hormonal balance, you may have several symptoms, such as emotional imbalances. It could also impair your body’s immune system.
8. Maintains cholesterol level
Your liver creates, excretes, and converts cholesterol into other essential substances.
But aside from this function, it also eliminates cholesterol by transforming it into bile salts to help the body remove it through waste products such as feces and bile.
9. Organizes essential vitamins and minerals
Without a healthy liver, your supply of essential nutrients like copper and iron will be affected.
The liver utilizes different nutrients to produce vital chemicals your body needs for normal, day-to-day functions. In addition, this organ can also convert proteins and carbohydrates into triglycerides and fatty acids and then store them in your fats.
10. Manufactures bile
Bile is the yellowish digestive fluid used to break down food. This acid is also crucial in regulating the effects of lipid digestion and cholesterol homeostasis.
Every time you eat something with excess saturated fat, your bile will work to break it down. It would be difficult for your liver to produce bile if it is not working correctly.
11. Helps eliminate toxins
The liver also serves as a filter where blood seeps through. This function is crucial since the liver can clean all the harmful things from the body, including alcohol and drugs.
This organ also removes ammonia from the body and turns it into urea. Without this function, ammonia may cause nervous system illnesses.
How to Support Your Liver Health
Below are some important ways to help support your liver and keep it healthy.
1. WATCH YOUR WEIGHT
Obese or overweight people risk developing fatty liver, which could eventually become a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). You can prevent this by maintaining a healthy weight based on height and age.
2. Maintain a balanced diet
Aside from helping you feel better naturally, eating nutrient dense food is crucial if you want to keep your vital organs healthy.
It is important to eat a fat/carb/protein at each meal or snack. Adding probiotics to your diet may reportedly help improve liver health, as well. Also, you should drink plenty of fluids for proper hydration.
3. Be physically active
Regular exercises will help your body burn triglycerides for fuel. As a result, it will help you decrease your liver fats.
Health experts recommend at least two and a half hours of moderate cardio activities weekly to support liver health. You can also do two days of strengthening exercises for a healthier body.
4. Follow the right dosage
Incorrect use of medicines, such as taking too much or taking different prescriptions at once, can harm your liver. So always follow your doctor’s advice when taking your medications. It is also vital to remember not to mix your medicines with alcohol. Most importantly, always inform your doctor about all the medicines, herbal remedies, and supplements you currently use to avoid side effects.
A Healthy Liver Is a Must For a Healthy Body
By keeping your liver free from struggle, you can helps support your body to remain healthy. Always make it a point to take care of your liver to ensure that your body functions properly and in tip-top shape.