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Love your Liver

The liver, a vital organ!

Thanks to its many functions (there are more than 500), the liver plays a crucial role in our health, which truly makes it the body’s “factory”.
Certain organs have more of an influence than others on our general well-being. But do we realise what a fundamental role the liver plays in our body? Through its functions such as synthesis, transformation and storage, it ensures an appropriate balance and internal stability, despite the influences and changes caused by the external environment.

 

The liver’s ACE card

It is one of the heaviest organs in the body (weighing in at approximately 1.5kg). It is located in the upper right-hand part of the abdomen and resembles a reddish-brown triangle, because of the significant bloody supply and constant blood flow. In fact, every minute 1.4 litres of blood originating from the general circulation or intestines pass through the liver. This is what allows it to perform one of its main functions: detoxifying the blood, i.e. transforming (or metabolising) harmful or toxic substances before eliminating them. Alcohol, medication, certain toxins, waste resulting from fermentation, but also cholesterol must all pass through the liver, and all these substances are in some way transformed (or metabolised) in order to then be expelled by the kidneys or the intestine.

The liver does not work alone!

It maintains a close relationship with other organs, including the intestine and the gall bladder. This small pocket, just a few centimetres long and located below the liver, acts as a reservoir for the bile that is constantly produced by the liver.
When the liver is not performing at its best, it is important to help the liver eliminate waste.
During digestion, as the food bolus arrives in the initial part of the intestine, the gall bladder contracts and releases bile into the intestine, a liquid that allows fats to be emulsified and aids digestion. The close relationship between the liver and the intestines can therefore easily explain the feeling of heaviness that you can experience during digestion when the liver is not performing at its best! And when it needs to manage excessive amounts of waste (alcohol, medication, fat, etc.), its capacity is then exceeded! This is why, when this occurs, you need to help the liver eliminate waste.
However, the liver’s role does not end there! It also plays a part in the synthesis of very important proteins such as coagulation factors, for example (which play a key role in stopping bleeding), albumin or certain proteins that are useful for the immune system. It is also the liver that ensures cholesterol production within the organism (endogenous cholesterol), the supply that represents a source of exogenous cholesterol. And this hepatic cholesterol is important too, as it plays a role on a number of levels, including the constitution of cell membranes and the synthesis of certain hormones such as oestrogen, testosterone etc.

Another important mission of the liver

It also regulates the fuel that is essential for the organism and that contributes to maintaining energy levels throughout the day.
So, during a meal when a relatively large amount of glucose is introduced to the body, that potentially exceeds the body’s requirements, the liver uses this opportunity to store the excess fuel in the form of glycogen. Once it has been decomposed, this glycogen is then able to make glucose immediately available for release. Lastly, the liver ensures certain vitamins (A, B, D, K) are stored along with mineral salts like iron and copper, which it releases into the blood if needed.
You can therefore see how important it is to take care of your liver!
And who would dare pretend to have never suffered the unpleasant effects of an overly generous or boozy meal? When engorged, it can no longer guarantee optimum efficiency.

Signs of the potential engorgement of the liver

Slow and difficult digestion, heaviness, nausea after meals, aversion to overly fatty foods, bloating, furred mouth and bad breath, dull skin and a yellowish or sallow complexion are all signs that could point to engorgement of the liver.

For an optimal liver function every day

To protect the performance of this essential organ and anticipate any problem or loss of vitality, it is clear that you need to ensure you have a healthy lifestyle.
Remember that the liver cannot tolerate abuse and its most obvious enemies are without a doubt alcohol, excessive consumption of fast-releasing sugars, meats and fats etc. but also medications which, for the most part, are potentially hepatotoxic.
By contrast, it is clear that the liver likes fresh fruit and vegetables, and particularly those that have a bitter flavour such as chicory, dandelion, artichoke, watercress, orange, lemon… Finally, we can add that practising sport, relaxation and rest allow you to better control occasional stress and fatigue, both harmful to the correct functioning of the hepatobiliary system !