Table of Contents
If you are not feeling well, it is always a good idea to check your liver. This article gives you the basics on how and when to do so and common symptoms that might signal an issue with this vital organ.
Boosting liver function to eliminate toxins has been a feature of Ayurvedic and Chinese medicinal practices for thousands of years. The liver, dubbed the “ultimate multitasking organ,” was thought to be one of the key organs that were required to be treated in ill patients by ancient practitioners. “The physician who understands how to balance the liver knows how to cure a hundred ailments,” according to traditional Chinese medicine.
Without a healthy liver, we now know that a properly functioning metabolism, good circulation, balanced hormones, clean blood, and robust digestion are all impossible. Do you suffer from weariness, stomach discomfort, bloating, or hormone imbalances? All of these symptoms might indicate that your liver isn’t working correctly. In this scenario, a liver cleanse and other liver-boosting lifestyle adjustments, such as increasing the number of bitter foods in your diet and utilizing herbal treatments, may be necessary.
What Is the Liver and Its Functions?
What is the liver, and why is it regarded as one of the body’s most hardworking organs?
The liver is a digestive organ located on the upper right side of the stomach. It is the biggest internal organ in the human body. What is the appearance of the liver? Because of its reddish-brown appearance, it is classified as “meaty.” Your liver would feel rubbery and semi-firm if you touched it.
The liver is constantly in communication with the rest of the digestive system, receiving information about the availability of nutrients and the presence of risks such as prescription drugs, heavy metals, and poisonous compounds. The liver identifies hazardous compounds and transforms them into a safe material that may be discharged as the principal organ engaged in detoxification. “Beyond metabolic activities, the liver has lately been characterized as an organ of the immune system (IS),” according to a 2017 paper published in the World Journal of Hepatology. Hepatic screening of pathogenic antigens and immunological tolerance to self-antigens are delicately balanced in the liver.”
According to Chinese medicine, the liver is of the “wood element” and is essential for transforming food into energy, or qi. The liver is defined by “upward propulsion and the intrinsic drive to be straight” since it is related to wood qi. Better blood flows upward and outward via our arteries, veins, and capillaries, which deliver oxygen and nutrients to our cells, resulting from a functioning liver.
What are the benefits of increased liver function to your health? A healthy liver may help you achieve the following:
- Increased amounts of energy
- Clearer skin
- Reduced PMS and a more regular menstrual cycle
- Sinus pain no longer exists
- Infections are less common, and immunity is greater.
- There are fewer stomach issues and increased regularity.
- Oral health and fresher breath
- A more optimistic attitude and a sharper intellect
Anatomy and Structure
What is the location of the liver in the human body? An adult human liver weighs a little over three pounds and is located behind the rib cage in the upper right side of the belly, where it is attached to the gallbladder. Bile is stored in the gallbladder, which is also vital for digestion. The liver occupies the area behind the diaphragm and the majority of the space beneath the ribs.
The liver is divided into two main sections/lobes. In addition, there is a unique form of tissue in the liver called lobules, which carry blood and cells.
The liver contains two major veins, one that transports blood from the gastrointestinal system and the other from the heart. In addition, a system of tubes links the liver to the other digestive organs, collecting bile, digesting food, and draining waste.
The function of the Liver
What is the role of the liver? The liver’s key functions include:
- Filtration of blood from the gastrointestinal tract. It aids in the storage of blood, the formation of blood clots, and the breakdown of damaged blood cells for elimination.
- Bile production
- Once food reaches the digestive system, it is dissected and converted into nutrients. The liver, for example, aids in the metabolization of proteins by converting amino acids into energy or carbs, or lipids.
- assisting in the distribution of nutrients throughout the body through the circulation and maintaining adequate nutrient levels in the blood supply
- Getting rid of the leftover hazardous waste after foods/substances have been broken down.
- Excess hormones are broken down and removed.
- Keeping vitamins and minerals on hand for when they’re required
- Managing the conversion of dietary fats and the production of triglycerides and cholesterol
- converting the carbs, you eat into glucose, a kind of energy that may be stored for later use
Because it accepts digested particles or poisons and determines whether to circulate them through the blood or discard them before they can cause harm, the liver interacts with other organs such as the gallbladder, stomach, and spleen.
The liver’s capacity to regenerate after it has been injured makes it unique and extraordinary; in fact, it is capable of doing so more than any other organ in the body. As a result, scarred or damaged liver tissue may be replaced by healthy liver tissue that develops in its place. Growth factors, cytokines, and matrix remodeling all play a role in this.
Even if just 25% of the liver is left, regeneration may still occur in difficult situations. Liver failure occurs when the liver gets so scarred that healthy cells can no longer regenerate.
A part of a donor’s liver replaces the patient’s damaged liver in a living-donor transplant and subsequently regenerates as it grows back to full size.
Symptoms, Signs, and Types of Liver Disease
The formation of so much scar tissue in the liver that it can no longer function causes liver disease and failure. Liver illness and injury may take many different forms. According to the American Liver Foundation, the liver disease affects one out of every ten Americans, making it one of the top ten causes of mortality in the United States each year. Liver disease, particularly viral hepatitis (mostly hepatitis C and B viruses), nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and alcoholic liver disease, is a leading cause of sickness and death worldwide.
The following are some of the most frequent liver diseases:
- Cirrhosis is when scar tissue in the liver replaces healthy cells. This may cause long-term damage to the liver and scarring that is irreversible.
- Alcoholic liver disease occurs when the liver, which is the principal site of ethanol (alcohol) metabolism, is damaged due to excessive drinking. Steatosis (fat retention), hepatitis, and fibrosis/cirrhosis are all symptoms of alcohol misuse. Around 35% of problem drinkers acquire the advanced liver disease.
- When fat builds up in the liver without being alcoholic, it is known as nonalcoholic fatty liver. Obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes are all associated with this kind. As a result, NAFLD has risen to prominence as a primary cause of chronic liver disease in Western nations. Some estimates estimate that it affects as much as 16 percent of the general population.
- Hepatitis is a disease that is caused by viruses such as hepatitis B, A, and C. Heavy drinking, narcotics, allergic responses, and obesity may all cause hepatitis.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most frequent kind of liver cancer.
- When scarring develops so extensively that the liver can no longer function, it is called liver failure.
- Ascites are a condition in which the liver spills fluid into the abdomen.
- Infection of the bile duct (cholangitis)
- Wilson’s Disease, Gilbert’s Disease, and Hemochromatosis are genetic illnesses in which iron accumulates in the liver and throughout the body.
- Epstein Barr virus/mononucleosis, adenovirus, CMV, and toxoplasmosis are all examples of infections.
Symptoms of liver disease do not appear in everyone, particularly in the early stages. However, as the scarring and inflammation in the liver grow, symptoms are more likely to emerge.
You’re likely to encounter at least some of these liver disease symptoms if you have a liver disease:
- Where do you have liver pain? Pain in the center or right upper section of the abdomen is common when the liver is damaged. If the liver swells and enlarges, it will spread across the abdomen and down near the belly button.
- The term “jaundice” refers to the yellowing of the skin.
- Fatigue/constant tiredness
- Nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and a lack of appetite are all symptoms of this condition.
- Tenderness across the liver, as well as liver enlargement or shrinkage (an inflamed liver in hepatitis may be tender and bigger, while a cirrhotic liver may be small and shrunken)
- Confusion and inability to concentrate
- Liver enlargement
- Gas and bloating
- Urine that is dark in color
- Easily bruised
- Sweating excessively
- Tar-colored stool, light or dark
- Patches of dry, black skin on the neck and underarms
- Inflammation of the legs and ankles
- Cholesterol levels are high levels, PMS, irregular periods, acne, and mood swings indicate hormonal abnormalities.
What are some of the first indicators of liver disease?
Abdominal discomfort, digestive problems, lack of appetite, and bloody stools are often the first indicators of liver impairment. In addition, edema, persistent weariness, cognitive impairment, skin changes, and other difficulties might occur as liver disease and scarring worsen.
What Causes Damage to The Liver?
Because the liver plays such a broad range of tasks in the body, it may be affected by any kind of metabolic, digestive, immunological, or hormonal problem. Furthermore, the health of your liver is influenced by your lifestyle.
The following are some of the most common causes of liver damage:
- There is too much alcohol in your system.
- Prescription drug or antibiotic usage, such as over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers, statins, and antibiotics such as amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, nitrofurantoin, or tetracycline
- Viruses/infections are spread through unprotected sex.
- Hormonal abnormalities and high-stress levels
- Toxic exposure from the environment and air pollution
- Inherited or autoimmune liver disease
- Crops that have been doused with chemicals
- Using chemical-based beauty and home goods
- Obesity, for example, may be caused by consuming a lot of packaged meals that include refined oils and a lot of sugar.
The following are some of the risk factors that enhance your chances of acquiring liver problems:
- Gastric bypass surgery
- High cholesterol
- Triglyceride levels in the blood are high.
- Diabetes type 2
- Obesity and metabolic syndrome
- Autoimmune illness.
- Apnea (sleep deprivation)
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Thyroid dysfunction (hypothyroidism)
- Pituitary gland inactive (hypopituitarism)
- Being a male, particularly if you’re over 65. Most chronic illnesses, including liver disease, include aging as a key risk factor. On average, males are twice as likely as women to die from cirrhosis and chronic liver disease.
Why is your liver so susceptible to injury and the consequences of a bad diet or a lot of toxins? The liver serves as a kind of digestive control center for the body. When drugs reach the liver, they are processed and either circulated, stored, changed, detoxified, or flushed out through urine and feces.
Is it possible to avoid liver disease? Yes, in the vast majority of situations. To minimize metabolic disorders, use alcohol in moderation, avoid drug use, practice safe sex, manage stress levels, eat an organic, whole-food diet, and keep a healthy weight.
Treatment in the Past
What kinds of physicians deal with liver disease? Depending on the ailment being treated, a patient may work with a gastroenterologist, hepatologist (liver specialist), interventional radiologist, surgeon, infectious disease expert, and/or oncologist.
What are the blood tests used by physicians to diagnose liver disease? For example, suppose your doctor suspects you have a problem with your liver function. In that case, they may perform a physical exam and order various tests, including liver enzyme tests, a complete blood cell count (CBC), a hepatitis virus screen, blood clotting tests, bilirubin, albumin, and ammonia tests, and an ultrasound or CT scan.
Blood testing may identify whether the liver is inflamed and not producing enough proteins for blood clotting. A physical exam, ultrasound, and CT scan are also used to evaluate the morphology and structure of the liver and surrounding tissues for shrinkage, swelling, edema, and other abnormalities.
What is the purpose of a liver biopsy? Is it an unpleasant experience? A liver biopsy is used to look for abnormalities with the liver that can’t always be discovered by other blood or imaging tests and assess the degree of the damage. A liver biopsy is a procedure that includes inserting a tiny needle into the liver to extract a small sample of tissue that is then inspected under a microscope. The surgery is normally performed with the help of a local anesthetic, making it relatively painless. The pain after a liver biopsy is generally minimal and passes in a week or two.
Following a diagnosis of liver disease, treatment options include:
- Abstinence from alcohol, smoking cessation, and the avoidance of any unnecessary or recreational drugs
- Stopping or reducing the dosage of drugs.
- Eating fewer unhealthy meals, decreasing weight (if necessary), and controlling metabolic risk factors are all things that may help you live a healthier life.
- Antiviral medicines are used to treat hepatitis B.
- Chemotherapy and radiation are two therapies for liver cancer.
- An inserted needle is used to remove fluid from the abdomen.
- Intravenous (IV) fluids are used to keep blood pressure in check.
- Laxatives and enemas are examples of medications.
- The liver is surgically resected.
- If your liver is no longer working, you may need a liver transplant. More than 8,000 patients in the United States underwent liver transplants in 2017.
Natural Ways to Make Your Liver Work Better
1. Limit your alcohol and drug consumption
Because alcohol is predominantly metabolized in the liver, a night of excessive drinking requires the liver to work overtime to rebalance the body. Therefore, drinking alcohol in moderation, which is no more than one drink per day for adult women and one to two drinks per day for adult males, may help preserve your liver.
If you’re concerned about your liver because you’re taking drugs, speak to your doctor about switching kinds or reducing your dosage.
Unprotected intercourse, particularly with several partners, is another “risky activity” to avoid since it raises your risk of contracting hepatitis and other viruses or diseases.
2. Choose organic foods and have an anti-inflammatory diet
The amount of work your liver has to do is mostly determined by your diet. When the liver is overworked, it might get overwhelmed because it breaks down lipids, transforms protein and sugar, and eliminates toxins from the blood.
A low-sugar, low-toxin diet with plenty of high-fiber foods is essential for liver health. According to some research, consuming a lot of antioxidants and fiber may even assist in repairing liver damage and illness.
Maintain a healthy balance by eating genuine, whole foods (ideally organic), such as unrefined carbs, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. Focus on high-quality fats and proteins in your diet (cage-free eggs, grass-fed beef, or wild-caught seafood, for example) so that your liver can effectively break down fats and eliminate excess cholesterol and toxins.
One of the few known strategies to reduce pesticide levels in the body is to eat organic foods. Organic, high-antioxidant foods improve the health of your liver by enhancing natural liver detoxification and the capacity to filter toxins out via urine while combating the harmful effects of stress, pollution, and a bad diet.
The following are some of the finest anti-inflammatory meals for liver function:
- Bitter foods – Bitterness is frequently a symptom of the presence of helpful enzymes that nourish the liver. Sour meals are abundant in minerals that help to regulate fluids and remove heavy metals from the bloodstream. Bitter green vegetables (mustard greens, chicory, arugula, dandelion, etc.) and leafy greens (collards, Swiss chard, etc.) are examples.
- Probiotic foods, such as yogurt, kombucha, kefir, and cultured vegetables, promote intestinal health by supplying beneficial bacteria.
- Leafy greens – Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities abound in green vegetables of all sorts, and they may help boost glutathione levels, a key component in the body’s free-radical annihilation.
- Cruciferous vegetables and grasses (cruciferous vegetables and grasses) — Green grasses (such as chlorella, barley, or wheatgrass) include a kind of chlorophyll, a structure integrated into plant cells that helps transport harmful compounds like dioxin out of the liver while enhancing antioxidants like superoxide dismutase. Furthermore, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cabbage, etc.) enhance low potassium levels and contain indole chemicals. This byproduct is known to aid in the fight against cancer and eliminate carcinogens from the body. In addition, cruciferous vegetables may help detoxify the liver and boost the liver’s capacity to remove carcinogens and heavy metals from the bloodstream by increasing the synthesis of digestive enzymes called glucosinolates.
- Fresh herbs – Turmeric, coriander, parsley, cilantro, and oregano are excellent for increasing glutathione synthesis and reducing inflammation. Turmeric, for example, includes curcumin, a chemical that aids in the restoration of normal blood pressure, improved circulation, and the removal of toxins.
- Fruits high in antioxidants, such as berries and melons, offer and balance electrolyte minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium that the liver requires. They also help to improve healthy circulation by functioning similarly as hemoglobin.
- Local, raw honey – Raw honey is honey that hasn’t been cooked or polished in any way. It’s an antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal product made from natural ingredients. It aids in the reduction of liver inflammation as well as the elimination of germs, parasites, and viral infections, particularly when sourced locally.
- Green tea – Green tea, particularly concentrated, powdered matcha green tea, contains potent antioxidants called catechins that fight free radicals in the blood, reduce liver inflammation, and reduce the effects of oxidative stress on the digestive organs.
- Coconut oil – Rich in essential healthy fats like lauric acid, coconut oil is one of the greatest sources of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). The antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral effects of MCFA acids aid liver detoxification, lower cravings for unhealthy meals, and boost energy levels.
- Apple cider vinegar — Apple cider vinegar is a fermented product prepared by blending apple juice with living bacteria in the form of yeast. It includes important enzymes and antioxidants, including acetic acid and malic acid, which help maintain a healthy acid-alkalinity ratio.
The following foods are the worst for liver function:
- Too much booze or coffee
- Refined vegetable oils, artificial additives, sugars, and colors are all found in packaged foods.
- Chemical pesticides and herbicides are frequently sprayed on fruits and vegetables (non-organic crops)
- Animal products from factory farms, farm-raised seafood, and normal dairy (that has been pasteurized and homogenized)
- Nitrate-containing processed meats, such as cold cuts
- Hydrogenated oils, refined vegetable oils, and artificial sweeteners/ingredients
- Drinks and snacks high in sugar
- Grain that has been refined
3. Take supplements to help your liver
Natural herbs have been utilized for millennia to aid the liver’s metabolization of compounds found in prescriptions, antibiotics, hormones, and nutrients such as proteins and lipids. While herbs aren’t always useful for treating liver illness and aren’t designed for it, there are a few potent herbs that may help the liver process nutrients and remove toxins, including:
- Milk thistle – Milk thistle is high in the antioxidant silymarin, which helps prevent glutathione depletion in the liver and fights liver disease.
- Holy basil has essential oils that may help fight germs, heavy metals, and even fungal strains.
- Dandelion root – Dandelion root (yep, the same sort that you would consider a weed in your yard!) has a natural diuretic action. It strengthens the immune system, helps with blood sugar regulation, and relieves indigestion by balancing fluid levels and boosting the liver’s attempts to swiftly clear toxins.
- Licorice root extract – Licorice root extract is anti-inflammatory and may aid with gastrointestinal issues.
- Bupleurum – Bupleurum is a medicinal root that is used to treat infections and digestive issues such as acid reflux, diarrhea, and constipation. In addition, it aids in the improvement of adrenal gland function, the reduction of stress-related effects, and the stimulation of the immune system.
Suppose you’re fortunate enough to see a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner. In that case, you may also be given recommendations for additional herbs that have been shown to aid in enhancing kidney, liver, and spleen function when used in conjunction with other traditional therapy approaches.
4. Practice Forgiveness and Reduce Stress
What role does forgiveness have in the health of your liver? The majority of it is due to your hormones. Traditionally, holistic practitioners linked emotional issues to liver damage and, as a result, poor general health. Chronic stress, which emotional disorders, relational problems may cause, or hanging on to guilt, anger, or shame, affects your endocrine, reproductive, digestive, and immunological systems, as you surely know.
According to research, stress-induced alterations in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis boost inflammatory responses and aggravate liver damage, even leading to liver disorders.
A damaged liver is supposed to obstruct good emotional flow generate frustration, and rage – all of which, believe it or not, have physical consequences. Brain fog, rib discomfort or fullness, dizziness, headaches, cramps, joint or tendon difficulties, menstruation problems, fuzzy vision, and digestive disorders have all been linked to poor liver function. This may also lead to a vicious cycle since the more stressed you are, the more likely your liver is to malfunction.
Because the liver regulates reproductive hormones, a woman’s menstrual cycle, and libido, it’s critical to let go of pent-up anger and keep the good energy flowing by avoiding confrontation and fretting over trivial matters.
5. Increase your physical activity and movement
In studies, exercise has been shown to lower inflammation and oxidative stress in obesity-related liver disorders. Circulation is vital for enabling the liver’s cleaning functions to take effect since it stores and processes your blood. When blood isn’t moving, the body becomes stagnant and more prone to illness, yet the heart pumps more blood during strenuous activity. Blood flow to the brain, organs, tendons, joints, and muscles is improved due to the liver’s improved ability to discharge blood. Exercise also aids in delivering blood and nutrients to reproductive and digestive organs, which is beneficial in the treatment of liver-related illnesses.
- The liver is the biggest internal organ in the human body, and it links to the gallbladder on the upper right side of the abdomen.
- What is the liver’s function? The liver is responsible for various internal processes, including detoxification, blood cleansing, nutrition conversion, bile production, fat conversion, and glucose storage.
- Cirrhosis, alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis, liver cancer, hereditary abnormalities, and others are all examples of liver disease.
- Abdominal discomfort, digestive problems, lack of appetite, exhaustion, jaundice, skin problems, dark stool, and bleeding are some of the indications and symptoms of liver damage or disease.
- Avoiding excessive alcohol and drug use, guarding against hepatitis, eating a balanced diet and avoiding obesity, decreasing toxin exposure, utilizing herbal supplements, exercising, and managing stress are all ways to protect the liver and increase liver function.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best natural medicine for liver disease?
A: The best natural medicine for liver disease is probably a turmeric supplement. Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which can help with the symptoms of liver disease like blood in your stool and pain. It also helps kill off harmful bacteria that may be causing damage to your organs, so it’s good for trying to prevent further deterioration of health issues when you start having them.
How can I cleanse my liver naturally?
A: The liver is a vital organ in the body, and it needs to be cleaned regularly. There are many ways you can do this, such as drinking water or raw apple cider vinegar.
What are the symptoms of a poor functioning liver?
A: In general, the symptoms of a poor functioning liver include fatigue, jaundice (yellow eyes and skin), nausea, muscle weakness, or pain.
- what is the fastest way to cure a fatty liver
- what is the best medicine for liver disease
- new treatment for fatty liver disease
- diet for liver disease recovery
- best medication for fatty liver
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ARTICLE?