Our top 10 benefits of a healthy liver
The liver is absolutely vital to your health – it’s responsible for more than 500 functions throughout your body. That makes it one of the hardest working parts of the body as well as the second largest organ. Having a healthy liver is key for getting the most out of your life and generally feeling well – these are the top 10 benefits of a healthy liver.
- Your liver processes nutrients for your body. When food is broken down in the body, it’s the liver that processes the nutrients and ensures that fats and sugars are getting used in the right way. It starts doing this within minutes of eating, so it’s incredibly efficient.
- It also stores nutrients for future use. For example, some vitamins and minerals get stored in the body for a point in the future when you might need them.
- Bile is made in the liver. Why does that matter? Because bile is essential for digestion, especially fat digestion. It is the reason your poo is brown and less smelly than it could be!
- Your liver balances sugar in the bloodstream. We all need to be able to maintain the levels of glucose in our blood and it’s the liver that can influence whether or not this happens. When you eat and the food has gone through your digestive system, your liver will remove sugars from the blood and store them for another time as glycogen if your blood sugar drops in future. One reason it’s related to developing type 2 diabetes.
- The liver essentially acts as a protective filter. Like any effective filter, your liver is constantly removing what you don’t need and extracting harmful substances from your system, including alcohol and toxins. It works by separating out your blood from toxins and then sending those toxins off elsewhere in the body to be removed. It will also remove Ammonia from the body (which is very toxic and can lead to nervous system problems) by making urea. Without it we would be poisoned very quickly.
- Your liver deals with the consequences when you drink too much. Around 98% of alcohol is broken down by the liver, which will process it so that it can eventually leave your body as carbon dioxide and water.
- Without a properly functioning liver your body won’t have the proteins it needs. That’s because it’s the liver that builds these proteins, the complex chemicals that are necessary for our skin and bones. The liver also makes what we need to ensure our blood clots (i.e. that you don’t just carry on bleeding if you cut yourself).
- It’s a blood-making factory. The liver breaks down blood cells that are old and damaged and is responsible for recycling them.
- Any kind of medication is metabolised by the liver. A healthy liver processes drugs like statins, diabetes drugs etc so that you can get the benefits of them without any damage being done to your vital organs.
- The liver has a regulating effect on hormones, not just the sex hormones but others such as cortisol and adrenal hormones too.
These are just some of the ways in which the liver is vitally important and the benefits of having a healthy liver throughout your life.