Second to the skin the liver is the largest and heaviest organ weighing around 3lbs/1.5kg, it is classed as one of the most vital organs in the body. It has hundreds of functions which it carries out every day. It is responsible for keeping the body healthy and providing healthy blood and nutrients to the body. It is the one organ that can regenerate itself, when its tissue is lost or damaged it can rectify itself and generate new tissue. The liver is triangular shape and although it is mainly situated on the right side of the body it can cover much of the space under the diaphragm. Every time the heart beats 25 per cent of the blood pumped out goes to the liver for it to be cleansed and circulate the human body.
The livers main functions include;
The liver is important in order to break down food so that we can get the nutrients we need from it. The digestion system starts initially to separate and break down key nutrients found in food that is needed for the body to function. Hepatic portal system is responsible for the transportation of blood to the liver form the digestive system. The nutrients found in the blood are processed here and divided up and stored for when needed or sent to other parts of the body where they are needed. The liver is responsible for the making of bile. Bile is a yellow/green fluid and used to break down food so that it can travel from the stomach and into the intestines effectively. Bile is stored in the gallbladder and released to break down fatty substances, from food and drink in order for the body to be able to digest them. If the liver is damaged due to liver failure it cannot carry out such function and therefore these vital nutrients cannot be carried around the body in order for it to be able to function on a daily basis.
Removal of Toxins form the Blood
All of the blood will at some point pass through the liver in order for it to separate things that we need from it and things that we don’t. One of the main liver functions is to rid the body of toxins; these toxins can come from prescribed drugs such as penicillin or illegal drugs. Alcoholic is a major toxic substance that the liver can metabolise, it can change the substance eliminating its harmfulness. It can also rid the body of other substances which are contained in the body but are no longer needed; hormones, proteins and damaged cells. Without such a function harmful toxins may stay in the body and create all different kinds of problems in themselves.
When the blood passes through the hepatic portal system to the liver it allows it to store many of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are needed for the body to function. The liver allows for the storage of glycogen which is important for the management of sugar in the body and to release energy when needed. If the liver is damaged and cannot control the storage and management of glycogen is can lead to illnesses such as diabetes. The body constantly needs to produce proteins. It is the job of the liver to create proteins needed for the body especially in terms of blood clotting. As the liver cleans the blood it helps to keeps the body healthy helping the immune system.