The liver is located in the upper right abdominal cavity and can hold up to a pint of our blood supply at any given time.
It is a hugely important organ and its role is to filter the blood directly from the digestive system. The liver detoxifies by removing products like drugs, hormones, cholesterol or bilirubin. After the blood is cleansed it’s then passed on to the rest of the body.
Liver functions are; producing cholesterol, blood clotting, regulating blood sugar, producing and excreting bile. It metabolises fats, carbohydrates and proteins and activates enzymes. The liver acts as storage for vitamins, minerals and glycogen and processes haemoglobin. It also produces immune factors and removes bacteria from the bloodstream.
It’s easy to see how important the liver is to our bodies and how crucial it is to care for it, to ensure we continue to be able to support such vital functions. The liver has an amazing capacity to regenerate itself, however there are many diseases that can ultimately impact on the functioning of the liver to greater or lesser degrees causing scarring and reduced function or even failure.
There are three main causes of liver disease - these are obesity, alcohol and hepatitis. Signs of liver damage may be chronic tiredness, pain, dark urine, tendency to bruising, dark urine, pale stools, loss of appetite, nausea, jaundice and swelling of ankles and legs.
If any of the above symptoms present, then it may be advisable to get checked over by the doctor. However, as part of preventative measures, there are many ways we can protect and care for our livers.
It’s important to try to ensure a healthy and varied diet, stop smoking, drug taking and also consider reducing alcohol intake. To prevent hepatitis; never share personal care products like razors, scissors and toothbrushes. Cover wounds and ensure to use only licensed tattoo studios. Sterile, once only equipment should be used for wound care, tattoos and piercings. Practicing safe sex is encouraged. Advice should be sought before taking any medication especially for people with underlying conditions and always adhere to label guidance.
Oral supplements might be used to promote maintenance of a healthy liver and many people use these when practicing detox programmes to promote general health. Ideal also when recovering from over-indulgence to promote care of the liver.