In order to maintain a healthy liver we need to know its functions. In this video I’m going to tell you about the main functions of the liver.

The liver is a triangular organ situated across the abdominal cavity under the diaphragm. Most of the liver’s mass is located on the right side of the body. The liver is made of very soft, pinkish-brown tissue and capsulated by connective tissue capsule. Here’s the gall bladder, which is a small sack collecting the bile.

Let’s imagine the liver as a factory whose function is to manufacture, store, deactivate and recycle substances. Primarily the liver works in three road lines. It synthesizes some products, it degrades other products and it stores nutrients. The livers functions are called:

  • Digestion
  • Metabolism
  • Detoxification
  • Storage
  • Production
  • Immunity

When we eat foods as proteins, which are building blocks in our body – for example meat or eggs – the protein structure cannot be directly utilized by the body. So it gets into the liver, which chances its form to a shape – such as this, for example – and this new protein can be for example a factor used in our blood for coagulation. So, the liver takes in carbohydrates, proteins and fats and synthesizes new products. That’s why we call it a factory. This process is called metabolism.

Secondly, the liver is responsible for degradation of some substances, such as toxins. Everything we eat, be it food or medications, must pass through the liver, so that our body can process it. Drugs taken intravenously will eventually pass into the liver after some time, so as to be broken down.

The liver also metabolizes fat. After we eat a meal rich in fats the liver produces bile, which emulsifies and brakes down fats into other products, including cholesterol.

Also, the liver breaks down blood cells. How? Blood cells live for approximately 90 days and then die and go into the liver, which extracts iron and stores it for the production of new blood cells. So, worn-out blood cells and also bacteria, fungi parasites and cellular debris are all processed partly in the liver.

The liver stores glucose and several vitamins like A, D, E, K and B12, as well as minerals like iron and copper.

When we consume foods containing sugar, the liver stores it in the form of glycogen, which is the main source of glucose in our body. When the body is in need for energy, the liver produces glucose from its stored glycogen.


How can we maintain a healthy liver then?

Keeping your liver healthy is an important duty that you should be aware of. Some of the harmful substances to the liver are alcohol and drugs, be it recreational drugs or medications used without medical supervision. Abuse of medication like antibiotics or antidepressants causes harms to the liver. Also when you consume excess fats and don’t lead an active lifestyle, the fats will accumulate in the abdomen and around the liver, and because the liver will be unable to deal with such large amounts of fat it might cause fatty liver, which will hinder the liver from performing its normal functions. So, when we reduce our unhealthy fat intake the liver will function better. Remember that there are healthy fats and unhealthy ones. Also remember that a clean environment helps prevent getting infected with hepatic viruses or other diseases that may affect your liver.

I wish you the best of health!

Alyaa Gad