Everything You Need to Know About Your Liver
With over 500 functions and powers of degeneration, our liver is unlike any other organ in the human body. Read on to learn everything you need to know about your liver and why you should start showing it some love.
The human liver is an extraordinary organ. Considered the “General” of the body with numerous functions and vital processes, the liver plays an essential role in the optimal functionality and overall survival of the body.
From detoxification to regulation and metabolism, you should take extra steps to protect the health of this human organ. Throughout this guide, we answer some of the most important questions, including:
- What is the job of the liver?
- What are the different liver structures and functions?
- What does the liver do for the body?
- What are the most common liver diseases (and how to prevent them)?
The anatomy of the liver
The liver is shaped like a cone and located in the upper right portion of the abdominal cavity. With four parts and five surfaces, the liver holds about 10% of our entire blood volume and consists of 96% water.
The two main parts include the larger left lobe and right lobe, and the smaller caudate lobe and quadrate lobe.
Each lobe contains multiple blood vessels that help blood travel to the liver. The liver filters (cleans) the blood by removing toxins and waste before eventually releasing them from the body.
The lobes also contain thousands of lobules (small lobes). These lobules connect with many bile ducts (tubes) that transport bile from the liver to the small intestine.
Where is the liver in your body?
The liver is positioned beneath the diaphragm and above the gall bladder, stomach, kidneys, colon and intestines, living in the upper right-hand side of the abdominal cavity.
The hepatic duct is a tube connected to the liver that carries the bile and joins with the gallbladder as part of the body’s biliary system.
Is the liver the largest and heaviest internal organ?
The liver is the largest and heaviest internal organ in our body. It represents the second heaviest organ after the skin and is larger than the brain. An average liver weighs around 1.5 kg (3 pounds), comprising 2% of body weight.
The average size of a liver is 10/11cm for men and 7cm for women. However, it varies depending on the size of the individual.
The liver has over 500 functions!
If you thought you’ve discovered everything you need to know about the liver, think again.
Known as our “chemical factory”, the liver performs over 500 chemical functions in your body! Most of these functions transform certain materials and substances within the body, such as breaking down proteins, sugars and other nutrients for your body to replenish in a process known as metabolism.
- The human liver is also designed to:
- Produce and clear cholesterol in the body
- Store iron and process haemoglobin
- Convert harmful ammonia
- Regulate blood clotting
- Fight and resist infections
- Help us maintain blood sugar levels
- Break down fats and eliminate waste
- Process blood leaving the digestive tract
- Metabolise carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
- Supply the body with essential substances
- Metabolise alcohol and drugs
- Metabolise essential hormones
- Protect the body from toxins
- Regulate blood levels of amino acids
- Break down old/damaged blood cells
The liver is the only organ that can regenerate itself
In being such a vital and versatile self-sustaining organ, evolution has enabled a healthy liver to regenerate rapidly, making it the only visceral organ in our body with the ability to regrow.
During its regenerative process, our liver can grow to its previous size without any loss of function while it grows. However, this does not make our liver indestructible. The regenerative process is only possible as 25% of the tissue remains.
11 lifestyle factors that affect your liver
Due to the liver having multiple functions and a vital role in our bodies, you must always pay attention to the lifestyle factors that can risk and deteriorate its health, including:
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Chemical/toxin exposure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Body piercings
- Injecting drugs (Sharing needles)
- Blood transfusion (Before 1992)
- Exposure to other people’s blood and bodily fluids
- Unprotected sex
- Family history of liver disease
As a crucial organ, we highly recommend adopting a healthy lifestyle or taking natural supplements to support its condition.
The most common liver diseases
Liver diseases can occur through genetics or other issues such as poor lifestyle or viruses. If these conditions go untreated, they can cause scarring on the liver, otherwise known as cirrhosis. This condition can then lead to liver failure and become a life-threatening condition.
Common liver diseases can be caused by various types of the hepatitis virus, including:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
Immune system abnormality is another liver issue where the immune system can attack areas of the body. These abnormalities are known as autoimmune liver diseases:
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Primary biliary cholangitis
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis
Genetic liver diseases include:
- Wilson disease
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
While unfortunate cancers and other growths include:
- Liver cancer
- Bile duct cancer
- Liver adenoma
Other liver issues you need to be aware of are fatty liver disease, excessive alcohol consumption, drugs, and herbal compounds.
Ensure you keep your liver healthy
We hope this guide has helped you understand the importance of human liver function and why you must try your best to keep this vital organ in tip-top condition.
To take things one step further, take a look at our product, de-liver-ance. It is an all natural liver supplement made from plant extracts that supports your liver to not only function but to thrive by helping with your immune system, your wellbeing, and your body's ability to eliminate toxins.
Or if you’re interested in testing the current condition of your liver, arrange a testing service.