Liver, an organ which is responsible for hundreds of chemical actions essential for our body and it is also a gland because it secretes chemicals that are used by other parts of the body. Liver is a dark reddish-brown organ located in the upper right-hand side of the abdominal cavity, on top of the stomach, right kidney and intestines. It has two large sections namely, right and left lobes. The gallbladder is situated under the liver, along with parts of pancreas and intestines. These organs work together to digest, absorb and process food. Being the body’s largest internal organ it is obviously very important to keep this one fee from all the abnormalities or diseases.
Functions of Liver
- All the blood leaving stomach and intestines passes through liver where it’s chemical levels are regulated to excrete a product called bile. Bile helps in further breakdown of fats for digestion and absorption.
- Liver processes blood, breaks down, balances and creates various nutrients for the body and it also metabolizes drugs in the blood to make it easier for our body to use.
- Produces certain proteins for blood plasma.
- It regulates blood clotting, clears the blood of drugs and other harmful substances. Resists infections by removing bacteria from the bloodstream, in short it helps in keeping our immune system strong.
- Clears bilrubin. (Buildup of Bilrubin causes our skin and eyes to turn yellow)
- It converts harmful ammonia to urea.
- Responsible for manufacturing cholesterol, triglycerides and carbohydrates. It also turns glucose into glucogen which can be stored both in the liver and muscle cells.
- It stores vitamins and chemicals that our body requires for survival, these includes: vitamin B12, folic acid, iron, vitamin A, Vitamin D and vitamin K.
What happens when you roam carefree indulging in poor eating habits? Your liver can get seriously damaged, which is very obvious yet around 2 lakh people die every year due to liver failure. There are numerous conditions related to liver which we all should try to avoid.
Conditions related to liver
Hepatitis: It is the inflammation of the liver caused by viruses hepatitis A,B and C. Heavy drinking, drugs, allergic reactions and obesity can also cause this disease.
Cirrhosis: Cirrhosis is the long term damage of the liver which can lead to permanent scarring. Liver becomes unable to function well.
Liver Cancer: Often occurs after Cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of cancer.
Liver Failure: There are many causes of liver failure such as infection, genetic diseases and excessive alcohol.
Ascits: Due to Cirrhosis, the liver leaks fluid (known as Ascites) into the belly which becomes distended and heavy.
Gallstones: Hapatitis and bile duct infection can occur if gallstones get stuck in the bile duct draining the liver.
Hemochromatosis: This diseases allows iron to deposit in the liver and throughout the body causing multiple other health problems.
Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis: This is a rare disease and its cause is not known, causes inflammation and scarring in the bile ducts in the liver.
Primary Biliary Cirrhosis: This is also a rare disorder in which the bile ducts gets slowly destroyed by some unknown reason and eventually scarring also develops.
Fatty Liver Disease: It is caused due to the accumulation of cholesterol and triglycerides inside the liver and it is not associated with alcohol abuse.
In short, there are many problems related to liver. Keeping it happy means keeping it healthy and keeping it healthy means focusing on a good diet followed by some physical activities. There are plenty of ways to keep ourselves healthy but we’ll be focusing on the Ayurvedic approach in the next part.
*Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, fitness, or other health program.