How to Keep the Liver Healthy and Functioning Well
The liver is the largest solid organ in the human body. They are responsible for many basic functions, of which there are more than 500. They are part of the digestive system and play a vital role in removing toxins from the blood, metabolizing nutrients, and immune function. In the article, you will learn how the liver regenerates, what happens when it does not work properly, and how to keep it healthy.
The winter months are perfect for company parties, family celebrations, Christmas, and post-Christmas feasts with lots of high-calorie food and alcohol, but what about your liver and gallbladder?
High-calorie fried and spicy foods, lots of sweets, and alcohol, as mentioned above, combined with less physical activity, can result in unpleasant heartburn, a heavy stomach, bloating, diarrhea, or vomiting. To avoid these inconveniences, let’s look together at how the liver and gallbladder care for us and how we should take care of them.
What functions is the liver responsible for?
- Bile production: Bile helps the small intestine break down and absorb fats, cholesterol, and vitamins. Bile consists of bile salts, cholesterol, bilirubin, electrolytes, and water.
- Storage and excretion of bilirubin: Bilirubin is produced by the breakdown of hemoglobin. The liver stores iron released from hemoglobin, which forms new generations of blood cells.
- Metabolism of fats: Bile breaks down fats and facilitates their digestion.
- Carbohydrate Metabolism: The liver stores carbohydrates. The body can break down carbohydrates stored in the liver (glycogen) into glucose. Glucose, or sugar, is released into the bloodstream to regulate blood sugar levels and for quick energy.
- Storage of vitamins and minerals: The liver stores large amounts of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
- Iron storage: The liver stores iron from hemoglobin, ready to make new red blood cells.
- Protein Metabolism: Bile helps break down proteins for digestion.
- Blood filtration: The liver filters and removes compounds from the body, including hormones and alcohol. The liver flows up to 2 liters of blood at rest per minute.
- Immune function: Cells involved in the immune activity are found in large numbers in the liver.
Due to the importance of the liver and its functions, evolution has ensured that it can regrow quickly if kept healthy. All vertebrates, from fish to humans, can regrow their livers. The liver is the only internal organ that can fully regenerate. It can regenerate completely if at least 25% of healthy tissue remains. The liver can grow back to its previous size and capacity without losing function during growth.
The most common liver disease
An organ as complex as the liver can have several problems. A healthy liver works very efficiently. However, the consequences can be dangerous or even fatal in a diseased or poorly functioning liver.
- Cirrhosis means that scar tissue replaces liver cells in a process known as fibrosis. Toxins, alcohol, and hepatitis are some of the many factors that cause this condition. Eventually, fibrosis can lead to liver failure as liver cell function is destroyed.
- Hepatitis: Or jaundice, is the name given to a general infection of the liver that viruses, toxins, or autoimmune reactions can cause. An inflamed liver characterizes this condition.
- Alcoholic liver disease: Drinking too much alcohol over a long period can cause liver damage.
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (steatosis): Usually occurs together with obesity and type II diabetes. Type. This disease is caused by excessive consumption of food. Fatty liver occurs due to the gradual penetration of fatty tissue into the liver tissue.
- Liver cancer: The main causes are alcohol and hepatitis. It is the sixth most common form of cancer worldwide.
How to keep the liver healthy and functioning well?
An unhealthy lifestyle also affects the functioning of the liver. Since the liver is responsible for digesting fats, consuming too much animal or hardened fat can overtax the liver. This is also related to fatty liver disease. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Frequent drinking of alcohol causes cirrhosis of the liver over time.
The most important thing is to change eating habits and include adequate physical activity in combination with natural supplements for cleansing and proper liver function. The most famous are, for example, milk thistle or Chinese schizandra, artichoke, and choline.