A Very Busy Organ!
The liver has over 500 known functions. Without the liver a person would die in a very short time. A liver that is overloaded and incapable of taking care of bodily needs, can cause a wide variety of symptoms, because the liver has so many separate and distinct functions affecting health in many ways.
The liver plays a very important role in digestive functions, especially in fat metabolism. An abnormally functioning liver or an overworked one can create a weak digestion. The liver eliminates poisons in the body by dumping them into the bowel via the bile. If the liver is not functioning properly these toxic substances can be reabsorbed into the blood stream making the blood toxic.
The liver also removes many excess hormones from the body, helping maintain hormone balance. For example, the anti-diuretic hormone (water retention hormone) is eliminated by the liver when excessive. If the liver is not functioning adequately, an individual may have swelling usually in the legs or abdomen because of water retention.
Some of the sex hormones are deactivated by the liver. Failure here can cause menstrual problems, change in secondary sex characteristics, and other disturbing conditions.
Disturbances in sugar handling are a result of liver dysfunction. The liver is a major sugar storehouse and it is responsible for many sugar conversion factors within the body.
Improper utilization of vitamins, particularly the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, can result from improper liver function. Adequate absorption of these vitamins, as well as their storage, depends on the liver.
There are factors in blood coagulation that are developed in the liver. This can be observed in a person with a tendency to bleed or bruise as a result of the blood’s poor clotting ability.
These are just a few of the liver’s many, many functions. Symptoms of liver involvement may be severe fatigue, digestive disturbances, swelling, constant chilled feeling and poor appetite. There may be an inability to tolerate medications due to improper breakdown and elimination of the drugs, causing an increased number of side effects. Signs of many types of nutritional deficiencies may be apparent.
The Liver as a Detoxifier
Removing poisons from your body is an extremely important function of the liver. In fact, this is one of the main reasons the liver becomes overloaded in our modern civilization. Poisons may enter your body in many ways. You may inhale the poisons you spray on your lawn, insecticides and cleaning solvents used in the house, or chemicals that you contact at work or use in a hobby such as photography. These are all known poisons and we should try to avoid them as much as possible.
There are, however, many chemicals that people do not realize might be a problem to the body. Medications, even the nonprescription items purchased at the grocery or drugstore and used so freely in our culture put a significant extra load on the liver and can eventually be harmful.
Chemicals used as preservatives, stabilizers, artificial flavorings, artificial colorings and to aid in the processing of foods are all potential problems regarding liver function. Add to all this smog, aerosol sprays (perfumes, hair sprays, deodorants, room fresheners, insect repellents, dusting aids), alcohol, and many other varied poisons in our environment and you can see how the liver may become overworked and ultimately damaged.
Among the most significant poisons in today’s society are the heavy-metal poisons such as lead, cadmium and arsenic. These deposit in the body and accumulate because they are very difficult to remove even when a doctor prescribes a specific detoxification program.
Fat in the Liver
The liver is a major storage area for carbohydrates and proteins. Ordinarily the liver stores very little fat; it should normally contain 3% to 5%. There are several reasons that too much fat or fat-like substances accumulate in the liver. People with poor protein intake have more fat in the liver because certain substances in protein are essential in breaking down fat. Without these substances, fat is deposited rather than used. Conversely, too much protein in the diet causes a liver overload because the liver must eliminate the waste products from the protein breakdown. Consumption of too many refined carbohydrates and/or too much alcohol can cause an elevation of triglycerides, which are fat in nature and accumulate in the liver, causing congestion and interference with normal liver function.
When the liver is overloaded and congested, the venous blood, blood that has circulated through the body and needs to be cleansed, cannot pass through the liver easily. Because of liver congestion, a back pressure develops on some parts of the venous system. You can easily observe this by pressing solidly with your finger between your shoulder blades. When you remove your finger from the skin, normal color should return rapidly. A blanched, white area remaining after the pressure is removed indicates poor circulatory flow, and may possibly correlate with liver congestion. Visible or distended veins on the chest and abdomen are other indications of possible liver involvement.
The doctor using applied kinesiology testing methods has an advantage in evaluating the liver for possible dysfunction and congestion. The examination includes evaluation for normal lymphatic drainage, circulation of blood and nerve supply. Your diet and contact with harmful chemicals will also be evaluated.
Because your liver is responsible for many different functions in your total health picture, it should be evaluated periodically to eliminate problems before they begin.
Follow dietary, nutritional, and other treatment programs recommended by your doctor to keep this vitally important organ functioning normally for a happier, healthier and longer life.