Many of us think that keeping blood pressure and sugar in control, getting a routine heart check-up, and getting tested for normal hemoglobin levels is just enough to live a healthy life, without giving much of thought on how is our liver doing! Everything you eat or drink has to pass through your liver, so it is crucial to keep it healthy so that it can perform its functions rightly. Are you aware how much does a normal human liver measure? It measures around 7 cm in women and 10.5 cm in men, but the most interesting fact is that it is still the largest and the heaviest gland of the human body. Amazing! Isn’t it? There are more interesting and surprising details about this vital organ of the body in this blog.
Quick facts about liver
There are certain things that one should know about a healthy human liver:
● The liver is located in the upper right portion of the stomach just under the ribs, and so it cannot be felt with hands.
● It consists of a left and a right lobe, while is connected with two large blood vessels – the portal vein and the hepatic artery. A gallbladder is found in the liver along with some parts of pancreas and intestines.
● The liver’s primary function is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. It also metabolizes drugs and detoxifies the chemicals found in the blood. As it does this, it produces a dark green to a yellowish-brown fluid called ‘bile’ that ends up back in the intestines.
● The liver also generates proteins that are essential for blood clotting and other functions.
● A normal liver has the capability to regenerate itself and so many a times there are no remarkable symptoms of a malfunctioning liver.
● In the case of severe or chronic liver diseases, there may be serious interruptions in the normal liver functioning and the diseased liver can lose the capability of regeneration and eventually lead to liver failure.
● The branch of medicine which deals with the prevention, diagnosis and management of liver disease in called Hepatology.
Many times, the liver disease could also affect stomach and intestines then experts from both the Hepatology and Gastroenterology look into the case.
Why is Liver a vital organ?
Given below are the functions of the liver that makes it a vital organ of our body:
● Clears bilirubin which can turn the skin and eyes yellow on accumulation clearing the blood of drugs and other harmful substances
● Converts harmful ammonia to urea. Urea is one of the by-products of protein metabolism which is excreted in through the urine
● Processes hemoglobin for using its iron content as the liver stores up the iron
● Produces bile, which is an important fluid that carries away the waste and breaks down the fats in the small intestine during digestion process
● Produces certain proteins for plasma of blood
● Produces cholesterol and some special proteins that help in carrying out fats all through the body
● Regulates the clotting of blood
● Resists infections by producing immune factors and removes bacteria from the bloodstream
● Stores and releases glucose as and when needed
How to keep a healthy liver?
There are several things you can do to protect your liver and keep it healthy:
● Eat on the anti-inflammatory foods such as bitter tasting foods, leafy green vegetables, fresh herbs, high antioxidants, apple cider vinegar, green tea, etc.
● Use natural liver boosting supplements like milk thistle, dandelion root, holy basil, etc.
● Reduce stress.
● Exercise more and keep your body active.
● Include a liver panel test in your routine check-ups.
● In case you have any digestive disorder for a noticeable period or any other unusual symptom like darker spots on the skin of leg or hands, consult your doctor, as it may indicate any liver condition.
It won’t be wrong to say that the liver is actually the ‘lever’ of our body. So, for living a healthy long life, it is very important to ensure all the organs of the body are performing well, without forgetting about the liver!