The liver is an important and one of the largest organs in our body. It is in charge of important functions that help us stay healthy and keeps us away from diseases. The liver is known as an organ that helps clean our system by getting rid of harmful toxins. The liver plays a very important role in detoxification and thus protects your health.
According to a Survey Report 2018 on the health statistics for U.S. Adults, 1.8% of adults were diagnosed with liver disease.1 Liver disease is common and various factors like genetics, viral infections, and faulty diet, lifestyle, alcohol overuse can damage the liver.
As the liver is involved in digesting food and removing toxins by detoxification, it is overloaded when harmful substances are consumed in excess. Damage to the liver can affect its normal functioning and greatly affect your health. Knowing about the role of the liver in detoxification can help you plan a healthy lifestyle and protect your liver.
Understanding the Role of the Liver in Detoxification
Before we understand the role of the liver in detoxification, it is necessary to know about the main functions of the liver.
- The liver plays an important role in the metabolic processes of the body.2
- The liver produces bile, which helps to digest fats and carries away waste. The liver is also involved in the production of cholesterol, certain proteins, and some special substances to carry fats through the body.
- The liver converts excess glucose into glycogen and stores it. The purpose of this is that the liver can then convert it into energy when you need it to perform your daily activities.
- The liver is involved in processing hemoglobin for iron content, responsible for the breakdown of fats and proteins, and converting ammonia to urea, which is then excreted through urine.
- Producing immune factors and helping fight infections by removing the causative microbes.
- The liver works to remove harmful chemicals, drugs, poisonous substances, and waste material from the blood
Once the liver breaks down the harmful substances the by-products are excreted either through the kidneys, in the form of urine, or through the intestines, in the form of feces. Thus, the liver mainly functions to help the body get rid of harmful, poisonous wastes or toxins. Thus, the role of the liver in detoxification is unmatchable.
The liver plays an important role in detoxification thus helping to protect us from toxic chemicals that we consume in various ways. The liver can achieve this with the help of enzymes, which can alter the reactions of these toxic chemicals. The enzymes help to convert these harmful chemicals into substances that can be removed from the body. This helps in getting rid of the toxic chemicals, which explains the role of the liver in detoxification.3
Symptoms of Liver Disease
Owing to these functions and detoxification, the liver removes toxic wastes from the body, helps build immunity, protects you from various illnesses, and helps improve your overall health.
However, if there is a liver disease, mostly due to an infection or chronic illness that damages the liver, it may show some symptoms. These include4:
- Jaundice or yellowish discoloration of the skin, eyes
- Nausea, vomiting, and fatigue
- Abdominal pain and swelling or swelling in the legs
- Dark yellow colored urine
- Light colored stool
- Itchy skin or easy bruising
Why Is The Role Of The Liver In Detoxification So Important?
The liver is essential for the destruction of endogenous and exogenous substances that can harm us. The liver has specialized cells, which contain phagocytes that can digest and destroy the toxins or excess waste matter produced after cellular functions. These liver cells can also destroy the invading bacteria and fight off the infections, thus proving to be vital in the cleansing process.5
The liver also helps in processing the substances, chemicals, and toxins produced due to the regular consumption of certain medicines, other drugs, and alcohol. Some of the metabolites produced in the body as a part of natural biological processes are also dealt with by the liver. Proteins in their simpler forms like amino acids, hormones, and products released by the breakdown of red blood cells are processed in the liver. All these substances that form the waste metabolites are detoxified and removed from the body by the action of the liver. Hence, the role of the liver in detoxification is very crucial.
When you follow a diet and lifestyle that supports this function of the liver, you can help in detoxification. However, a faulty diet and lifestyle can greatly affect the detoxification process and function liver. This can lead to the building up of toxins in the body that can increase the risk of inflammation and cause health problems.
How To Protect Your Liver?
A healthy liver can perform its metabolic functions well and can efficiently perform the process of detoxification. If you follow a healthy diet and lifestyle, the liver can get some time to focus on its functions. There are several waste products produced as a part of natural body processes. The work of the liver to remove toxins increase when you consume foods or drinks that need to be processed more. For example, if you reduce the consumption of chemical substances or alcohol the liver does not have to work hard to remove them, thus reducing the workload on the liver.
Some of how you can help include:
- Plan a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and plenty of water.
- Regular exercise and staying physically active help improve the function of internal organs including the liver, thus also helping improve the detoxification process.
- Take medications only as advised by your physician and avoid excessive use of painkillers as they too are metabolized by the liver.
- Avoid intake of processed, refined foods, those with added preservatives, as these are synthetic chemicals that are harmful and increase the work of detoxification.
- Avoid or limit consumption of alcohol, stimulants, and refined sugars. Eliminating these foods can also be a great idea.
Now that the role of the liver in detoxification is clear it is necessary to take steps that will support the function of the liver and aid the detoxification process.