The liver is the largest internal organ in the body. This
organ has so many important jobs. Some of these include processing nutrients,
medications, hormones as well as helping prevent infections by removing
bacteria and toxins from the blood. The liver weighs about 3 pounds and is
located on the right side of the stomach. Think of the liver as about the size
of a football. It is protected by the rib cage, so we aren’t able to touch or
feel it. This organ is composed of two large lobes on the right and left sides.
The liver is assisted by the gallbladder and pancreas to perform its functions
which includes the digestion, absorption, and processing of food. Along with
its role in the digestive tract, the liver filters blood before it travels to
the rest of the body, metabolizes any medications we take, and make proteins
for our blood’s health.
As important as the liver is, there are a number of
disorders than can disrupt its functioning. Some of these conditions include
hepatitis which is inflammation of the liver, cancer, cirrhosis which is
permanent scarring, liver failure, and gallstones, just to name a few. This
dysfunction can be due to genetics, viruses, alcohol use, and obesity. Signs
that the liver is poorly functioning include jaundice (yellowing of the eyes
and skin), dark urine, chronic fatigue, easily bruising, abdominal pain, itchy
skin, and swelling of the legs and ankles. Factors that can put one at
increased risk for these symptoms includes unprotected sex, diabetes, obesity,
heavy alcohol use, drugs injected by needles, and tattoos or piercings. It is
important to find the cause and extent of liver damage upon any of these signs.
Alcohol use inflames the liver and excessive drinking leads to scarring. Treatment
is determined by these results, but always starts with lifestyle modifications
including stopping the use of alcohol and losing weight.
There are plenty of self-care approaches that can improve
liver health. This starts with detoxifying the liver. One of the main jobs of
the liver is to rid the body of toxins, so it is important to not have alcohol,
smoke, or excessive amounts of sugar including sucrose and fructose. Milk
thistle is associated with improving liver health. This herbal remedy can help
reduce inflammation. Green tea and vitamin E are also beneficial. Curcumin can
also help protect the liver. It is easy to take advantage of what our body can
do, especially when we don’t see these functions happen. Don’t take for granted
what your liver can do and is mean to do. As it works in silence, this organ is
critical for our health. Don’t toxify the detoxing organ in your body.
About the Author
Megan Johnson McCullough owns a fitness studio in Oceanside CA called Every BODY’s Fit. She has an M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science, is a current candidate for her Doctorate in Health & Human Performance, and she’s an NASM Master Trainer & Instructor. She’s also a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, Wellness Coach, and AFAA Group Exercise Instructor.