Facts About Liver Health: Functions of the Liver and Major Causes of Liver Disease
Liver Health Explained: The liver is body’s largest internal organ and it is certainly one of the most important organs of the body. It is located in the upper right side of the belly bellow the ribs. It is responsible for many crucial functions of the body. Liver is quite resilient and maintenance free. A healthy diet is enough to keep liver in good shape and even repair minor liver problems. But if the liver is damaged severely then it can lead to many dangerous diseases. It is important to take a good care of liver because a good liver essential for overall health. Liver can be damaged by several factors such as inflammation, accumulation of cholesterol and triglycerides, poor blood flow to the liver, alcohol abuse, toxins and chemicals, iron or copper accumulation, certain medications and lack of sound sleep. Although, liver can even work when two thirds of it has been damaged but continuation of this can lead to liver failure. There are no major cures for liver diseases so it is important to prevent liver disease by leading a healthy lifestyle and diet.
Some of the symptoms of liver disease are loss of appetite, weight loss, bloated abdomen, jaundice, nausea, mood swing and abdominal pain in the upper right side.
Functions of the liver
Liver is responsible for many important functions and more than 500 crucial functions are associated with the liver. Some of the well known and major functions of liver are:
• Bile production; liver makes bile and it is stored in the gallbladder. Bile is a digestive juice necessary for breaking down the fats and carrying the waste during digestion.
• Liver helps in building protein. Protein is very important for the body and continuous production of protein is a necessity. Liver produces many types of protein structures for hormones, neurotransmitters and human protein forms.
• Another major function liver is it cleans the blood from bacteria, endotoxins, antigen-antibody complexes, and numerous other particles and toxins. It is important to note that when the liver is damaged these toxins start accumulating in the body and this leads to many health problems.
• Liver processes nutrients from the foods and stores them for future use. After the digestive system breaks down the foods in small parts, these pieces travel through blood to the liver. Liver process the nutrients from these food pieces according to the need of the body and stores some of the nutrients for future use especially for the production of quick energy.
• Liver fights bowel infections. Liver contains Kuppfer cells- which are specialized cells in the liver that destroy bacteria, foreign proteins, and worn-out blood cells. In this way liver helps to prevent any bowel infections.
In addition, liver converts excess glucose into glycogen and stores it. When it is needed in the future glycogen can be converted back to glucose for energy production.
Some of the Major Causes of Liver Disease:
Some of the major causes of liver disease or liver disorder are:
• Fatty liver because of too much alcohol consumption. Excess alcohol consumption causes inflammation of liver and serious scarring. This condition is called cirrhosis.
• Hepatitis A virus can be a major cause of liver disease or liver failure.
• Hepatitis B virus- this virus can enter in the body unsafe sex, sharing of needs and equipments during any medical treatment or drug use. This virus can lead to liver cancer.
• Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) / Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) such as obesity and diabetes.
• Poor iron and copper metabolism. Too much iron in the body can lead to Haemochromatosis and too much of copper in the body in responsible for Wilson's disease. Both the diseases are extremely bad for the liver.
In addition, Heapatitis C virus, autoimmune hepatitis, gall bladder disease and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) can damage the liver severely.
Liver is extremely important organ for good overall health. It is very important for us to keep the liver healthy. Minor liver damage can be recovered quickly because liver cells regenerate quickly but in case of major liver damage liver cannot able to repair itself. To keep the liver healthy one should cut down deep-fried and fatty foods or any unhealthy foods, stop smoking and alcohol consumption. Also, it’s better to limit the intake of antibiotics and antacids for a healthy liver. Eating fresh foods with lots of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals improve the liver health significantly.