LIVER – THE GENERAL MANAGER OF HEALTH
What does liver do, why is liver important?
The liver is a large, glandular organ that sits on the right side of the belly. It is the chemical plant and production base for our body; detoxification, garbage disposal, defender of circulatory system. More importantly, the liver is the logistics distribution center in charge of material and energy flows.
Where is liver located?
The liver is the largest internal organ in the body and performs multiple critical functions. Average weighing about 3 pounds, it has two large sections, called the right and the left lobes. The liver is a part of digestive system which located on the right hand side of the belly, along with gallbladder sits under it, and parts of the pancreas and intestines.
IMPORTANT MEMBER IN DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Any food we eat will perform digestion and absorption in stomach, small intestine and large intestine. The nutrients absorbed from digestive organs will firstly flow through a blood vessel (portal vein) into liver rather than other places, so the liver is the first station in the body that welcomes all the nutrients.
Why is that so? Why should flow into the liver first, rather than directly into the heart, and then transport to the whole body? This has an important significance, the materials which absorbed from digestive system not only including nutrients, but also toxicants and impurities. Firstly, let’s take a closer look at the process of digestive system:
The mouth begins digestive tract, breaks the food into pieces and mixes with saliva.
The esophagus delivers food to the stomach. In addition to holding the food, it’s also a mixer and grinder. The stomach secretes hydrochloric acid and pepsin which break down the food into liquid or paste form, and then moves to the small intestine.
The food enters duodenum first, continues the process of breaking down food by using enzymes released from pancreas and bile from the liver; moving food through and mixing it up with digestive secretions. When the food has been pushed to jejunum and ileum, the absorption will finally begin.
No matter what food we eat, our intestine will break them down to raw materials that our body can absorb and use. For example, protein (meat, egg, milk, soy) will decompose into amino acids. Fats will decompose into glycerol and fatty acids, and starch will breakdown into glucose for intestinal absorption.
However, in addition to these nutrients, there are many harmful substances such as food additives, pesticides, bacteria, viruses, and many other types in large amount. If these things flow into whole body, the consequences will be very serious, even life-threatening.
RELATION BETWEEN LIVER AND ILLNESS
Liver is the first station to remove these impurities so that nutrients can be safely used by the human body. If the liver function degenerated, the ability of removing harmful substances dropped and health issues will start to appear. It is very interesting how digestive system works; stomach and intestines are responsible for digestion and absorption of nutrients, while the liver is responsible for the purification of nutrients.
The liver is also stores most of vitamins among all the organs, such as vitamin A, K, B1, B6, B12, pantothenic acid, and folic acid. It is the warehouse of vitamin A, E, K, and B12. Liver itself is very rich in nutrition. In addition, many vitamins must go through further processes by liver, to become active form in order to utilize by cells. For example, nicotinic acid must transform into coenzyme I and coenzyme II, pantothenic acid into coenzyme A, and carotene into vitamin A. Especially coenzyme A is commonly used in metabolism of protein, fat and sugar. If coenzyme A is missing, your body’s metabolism will become chaotic and metabolic diseases will start to appear.