The Liver

The liver is the organ mainly responsible for detoxification of your body. Therefore, don’t ignore your liver. You have to take care of it so that it can take care of you.

 

STRUCTURE

The liver is the largest  organ in the body, and lies on the right side of the abdominal cavity below the diaphragm. The latter is the muscle wall that separates the chest from the abdominal cavity.  Structurally, it consists of four sections, or lobes. The right and left lobes are the biggest, with two smaller lobes behind the right lobe. Each lobe consists of smaller units called lobules. They number from 50,000 to 100,000 in a normal liver. Groups of liver cells are contained within the lobules. Cavities known as sinusoids separate the groups of cells within a lobule.  Blood vessels bring blood to and from the liver. The hepatic artery transports oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the liver. Blood containing nutrients is transported from the liver to the small intestine by the portal vein.

FUNCTION

The cells in the liver perform many functions.  They absorb nutrients and oxygen from the blood as it flows through the sinusoids. They also filter out wastes and poisons from the food, water, beverages and medications we consume daily, including the air we breathe (such as paint fumes or toxins from aerosol sprays).  At the same time, they secrete bile. This is a yellowish green liquid that helps to break the fatty parts of food to dissolve in water. Bile is stored in a small sack called  the gall bladder that is located behind the liver.  The liver also produces about 80% of the cholesterol in the body. What happens if the liver does not function properly? You will suffer from fatigue, weakened immune system, bad breath, allergies and stomach bloating. The long term effects are increased stress to the kidney, heart, brain and cardiovascular system.

 

CARING FOR THE LIVER

If the liver is abused or contracts an infection, several diseases may develop. Among them are Wilson’s Disease, hepatitis, cancer, and cirrhosis (or formation of scar tissue).  The most common abuse of  the liver is prolonged alcohol consumption. To care for your liver, the following are suggested: (1) drink in moderation; (2) get a Hepatitis vaccination if you are travelling to certain countries, (3) take herbal supplements such as  milk thistle and dandelion, (4) take protein supplements to repair damaged liver, (5) avoid overdose of certain vitamins, and (6) avoid tattooing with un-sterilized needles.

 

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