Better Health from Your Own Unexpected Source. Many of us have had the experience of waking up occasionally with aches and pains in the morning saying, “Oh, my neck hurts”, or “Ouch, my back aches”. But do we ever say, “My liver is hurting me?” Probably not!The liver is like one of those new “quiet dishwashers”. It does so much to keep our body clean without usually calling attention to itself. Yet rarely do we put enough emphasis on making sure it’s well maintained and in good working condition.
What does the liver do?
The liver is the body’s most intricate organ and its largest gland. Located in the right upper side of the abdomen, just above the stomach and shaped like a triangle, it is where all chemicals and toxins are processed. Altogether, the liver is credited with more than 500 important bodily functions, including:
- Storing energy carbohydrates.
- Producing proteins useful for blood plasma.
- Helping to control blood sugar levels and regulates blood clotting.
- Producing cholesterol and other proteins needed to carry fats through the body.
- Cleansing the blood of harmful excess chemicals, like ammonia.
- Removing bacteria from the blood stream and helping the body resist infection by producing important factors for immunity.
What can make your liver unhealthy? If that “quiet dishwasher” gets a clogged drain, the dirty water with food particles will have nowhere to go and everything will back up. Likewise, the liver can’t function correctly without proper blood flow and our other digestive processes doing their job. For example, as fats leave the stomach, they get a coating of bile from the gallbladder that helps to break them up into tiny particles. Bile is an amazing natural product that removes all the “clogs around the drain”. The fats then move through the small intestine and get put in special storage cells that determine which fats are needed and which can be eliminated. The “excess” fat goes to the liver to be dissolved by more bile. Proteins and carbohydrates also go to the liver, where much needed nutrients are extracted and absorbed into the body. The remaining waste from proteins and carbohydrates is taken to the colon by the bile.As you can see, when all these partners are in good operating order – the Maytag repair man shouldn’t be needed!
But some potential reasons for liver damage are: hepatitis, auto-immune conditions, poorly functioning bowels, sometimes genetics, certain medications and excessive alcohol consumption (a factor leading to cirrhosis).
The liver can be protected and rejuvenated
The liver is the only organ that can regenerate itself. Even if you start late in life, you can still significantly improve your health and regenerate this vital organ. Nutritious eating (you know the drill – not too much greasy, fatty fast food!) and moderate drinking habits help. Don’t forget at least 8 glasses of water a day – water helps almost all of the body’s functions, and is especially beneficial to the whole digestive system.