The human body’s very own non-stop workhorse, this vital organ is responsible for over 500 bodily functions that keep you healthy.
To help give you better insight on why this vital organ is such a powerful multi-tasker, here’s exactly what the liver does for your body:
We hear all these trendy ways we can improve our health through detoxification ranging from 5-day juice cleanses, eating detoxifying raw plant-based meals, drinking exotic teas, and sweating it out in a heat suit or sauna. While these practices have good intentions for our bodies well-being, the truth is, our liver, when kept in good health, detoxify our bodies adequately on a daily basis without the need to do any extreme detoxification practices.
Pollution, pesticides, alcohol and other external toxins that make their way into our body get filtered and broken down by our liver, ensuring that the body isn’t exposed to toxins for prolonged periods of time. Alongside that, the liver manages to purify our blood, separating toxins and by products from nutrients, allowing our body to excrete and absorb what it needs accordingly.
2. Stores vitamins and minerals:
The liver keeps vitamins and minerals stored away and secretes it into our body as needed. Vitamins such as A, B12 D, E, K and minerals such as iron can be stored up to a year’s worth, all acting as nutritional insurance in case we need it.
This is especially beneficial for those with a poor diet or are undergoing a particularly stressful period when our bodies tend to lose nutrients.
3. Turns food into energy and manages metabolism
The liver acts as a storage for fuel, which in turn gets converted into energy for our body to use. Ranging from fats, carbs etc. our liver works hard to metabolize these macronutrients and convert them into energy for our body.
Unfortunately, the effects of too much processed foods can bog down our liver and give it more fuel to store as energy than it can metabolize. A healthy functioning liver will simply break down fat if there is no use to convert it into energy. This is where our weight is influenced and where fat storage begins.
The liver is part of our immune system. As a detoxifying organ, it works with our immune system to find, capture and remove harmful viruses and bacteria that enter our body. The liver also helps to regulate inflammation in our body, which is the root of many diseases. The liver also stores white blood cells, which are the cells responsible for destroying harmful invaders in the body.
5. Hormone regulation
The liver is responsible for the secretion and regulation of various hormones which greatly influence our body. Hormones such as blood-sugar regulating insulin work closely with the liver for proper sugar metabolism and excretion, while sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone and stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are regulated in the liver so that our bodies have adequate amounts.
As you can see, the liver is essential to our wellbeing. An unhealthy liver cascades into various diseases and ailments which affect us physically, mentally, and emotionally. People with fast-paced lifestyles that involve a lot of stress, exposure to pollution, and eating a lot of fast-food should especially be mindful on the state of their liver health.
Watch out for the following common signs of an unhealthy liver to know if you need to consult with a doctor and do a healthier lifestyle change:
- Difficulty losing weight
- Dull skin and thinning hair
- Brain fog
- Dark urine
- Loss of appetite or insatiable appetite
- Frequent illness
- Skin issues such as acne, dryness, and blemishes
- Chronic fatigue
- Difficulty sleeping
Fortunately, the liver is a highly resilient and regenerative organ. Simple lifestyle tweaks such as adequate hydration and consuming a majority of whole foods can already make a drastic change in your liver’s health.