5 Strange Liver Health Facts
By Chris Brown
The heart is synonymous with love. The brain, with thought and smarts. The liver, though, is an organ that doesn't get the pop-culture love it deserves. Five interesting liver facts may just add it to the top of your organ love list.
Fact 1: It Is the Largest Organ in the Body
The liver is much larger than the average person might believe, weighing in at just over three pounds. Its large size is indicative of its multitude of important functions from digesting proteins, storing minerals, filtering out harmful substances from the blood, and producing the stomach's bile. In fact, over 500 of the body's functions pass through the liver's four lobes. The complexities of the liver make it possibly the most important organ of the human body for life.
Fact 2: It Impacts Brain Function
One of the vital functions of the liver is to protect the brain from toxins and supply it with glucose. The relationship between the brain and liver is most evident when liver disease results in neurologic deficits. Hepatic encephalopathy is the name for these liver-related neural dysfunctions that range from personality and sleep changes to coma and brain-death.
Fact 3: It Gains Fat When You Do
In a normal functioning liver, up to a whopping 10 percent is composed of fat. However, as one's body mass enters obesity, from poor diet or lack of exercise, the liver similarly gains fat. Once a liver's fat percentage rises over the 10 percent threshold, a person is considered to have a "fatty liver." While fatty livers often don't result in symptoms until late in the disease, they can eventually create exhaustion and lead to cirrhosis and liver failure.
Fact 4: It Is the Reason You Survive Alcohol Consumption
The next time you wake with a headache following a late night of cocktails, count your blessings for your liver. Without its tireless efforts detoxifying your blood, you would quickly die from alcohol's poisons. The liver defends your body by breaking alcohol into water and carbon dioxide. However, this process takes its toll and can eventually result in liver damage and failure. In cases of early-stage liver damage, simply abstaining from alcohol for two weeks should allow it to heal to near-normal, according to the National Health System of the U.K. However, once damaging consumption levels return, the liver disease will as well.
Fact 5: It Has Regenerative Superpowers
The liver is a unique organ for many reasons, not least of which is its amazing ability to regenerate and heal itself. This quality allows for the possibility of living liver transplants, where a donor gives half of their liver to another. Both liver halves eventually rejuvenate into two fully formed livers. This is also why lifestyle changes, such as reducing alcohol and increasing water consumption, have such rewarding effects upon the liver and all bodily functions which the liver touches.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Harahan, La.