Function, Dysfunction, Disease Symptoms, Support
The Liver influences and directly affects so many organs and systems of the body, so having a healthy liver is vital for optimal health and wellness. When the liver is stressed it affects digestive/ gut function, Thyroid and Endocrine regulation, sleep, hormones imbalance, vascular pathways, the immune system, skin, vitality, and much more. When Liver Dysfunction or poor performance occurs it can lead to chronic or acute illnesses including Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Immune disorders and many other secondary symptoms.
When the liver becomes congested, all other systems within the body are affected. Understanding how to support the liver function and detox the system is essential for maintaining good health.
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The Liver is the largest organ in the human body and is responsible for well over 200 functions. It is also the most resilient organ, able to withstand some of the harshest assaults by today’s mix of air pollution, environmental contaminants, pharmaceuticals, bacteria, fungi, mold, and viruses. The liver is situated in the upper part of the abdomen on the right side. The liver has a multitude of important and complex functions, including to manufacture proteins, including albumin (to help maintain the volume of blood) and blood clotting factors; to synthesize, store, and process fats, including fatty acids (used for energy) and cholesterol; to metabolize and store carbohydrates (used as the source for the sugar in blood); to form and secrete bile that contains bile acids to aid in the intestinal absorption of fats and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K; to eliminate, by metabolizing or secreting, the potentially harmful biochemical products produced by the body, such as bilirubin, from the breakdown of old red blood cells and ammonia from the breakdown of proteins; and to detoxify, by metabolizing and/or secreting, drugs, alcohol, and environmental toxins.
In Simplest Terms, the Primary Functions of the Liver Include:
Detoxification – The liver filters 1 liter of blood each minute and eliminates the multitude of toxins that the body encounters on a daily basis. The liver must dispose of ammonia, an extremely toxic by-product of protein metabolism. It converts ammonia to urea, which is excreted through urine. The liver also breaks down toxic chemicals, heavy metals, as well as synthetic pharmaceuticals. As blood from the digestive organs passes through the hepatic (liver) portal circulation, the hepatocytes (chief functional cells) of the liver monitor the contents of the blood and remove many potentially toxic substances before they can reach the rest of the body. Enzymes in hepatocytes metabolize many of these toxins such as alcohol and drugs into their inactive metabolites. And in order to keep hormone levels within homeostatic (state of equilibrium) limits, the liver also metabolizes and removes from circulation hormones.
The Liver provides Storage of many essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals obtained from blood passing through the hepatic portal system. Glucose is transported into hepatocytes under the influence of the hormone insulin and stored as the polysaccharide glycogen (long term storage structured as long chains). Hepatocytes also absorb and store fatty acids from digested triglycerides. The storage of these nutrients allows the liver to maintain the homeostasis of blood glucose. Our liver also stores vitamins and minerals – such as vitamins A, D, E, K, and B12, and the minerals iron and copper – in order to provide a constant supply of these essential substances to the tissues of the body, which are produced by the body’s own glands. The liver is the critical organ for metabolism on all levels.
Among its Vast Array of Metabolic Tasks, the Liver:
- Stores essential vitamins (like vitamins A, B, D, and K), minerals (like iron and copper), and glucose (in the form of glycogen).
- Produces quick bursts of energy when the body needs it most (as part of the body’s “fight or flight” reaction to stress).
- Plays a key role in carbohydrate metabolism, by converting glucose to glycogen. Glycogen is stored as fat in the body.
- Converts vitamins, minerals, and amino acids into their biologically active forms. All nutrients must be “bio-transformed” in order to be used by the body. For example, the liver activates B vitamins; converts beta carotene to bio-available vitamin A; converts iron into ferritin; and converts lysine into active carnitine. If the liver is not functioning optimally, nutrients cannot be converted and won’t be absorbed by the body, leading to malabsorption.
- Helps to regulate blood sugar levels. When blood sugar is low, the liver uses its store of glycogen, and converts it to glucose (blood sugar). When blood sugar is high, a healthy liver will eliminate excess glucose by converting it to glycogen (stored as fat).Note:If you have one or more chronic conditions, make sure that you choose supplements that contain active forms. (Many supplements on the market contain non-active forms of vitamins that inevitably pass through the body instead of being absorbed.) Taking activated supplements eases the burden on the liver.
The liver helps maintain the proper level of hormones, and is a key organ in regulating the hormone insulin (produced by the pancreas) for efficient food metabolism (as mentioned above). The liver converts the thyroid hormone thyroxin (T4) into its more active form (T3).
Digestion and Fats
The liver plays an active role in the process of digestion through the production of bile. Bile is a mixture of water, bile salts, cholesterol, and the pigment bilirubin. Hepatocytes in the liver produce bile, which then passes through the bile ducts to be stored in the gallbladder. When food containing fats reaches the duodenum, the cells of the duodenum release the hormone cholecystokinin to stimulate the gallbladder to release bile. Bile travels through the bile ducts and is released into the duodenum where it emulsifies large masses of fat. The emulsification of fats by bile turns the large clumps of fat into smaller pieces that have more surface area and are therefore easier for the body to digest.
Bilirubin (yellowish pigment) present in bile is a product of the liver’s digestion of worn out red blood cells. Kupffer (scavenger) Cells in the liver catch and destroy old, worn out red blood cells and pass their components on to hepatocytes. Hepatocytes metabolize hemoglobin, the red oxygen-carrying pigment of red blood cells, into the components heme and globin. Globin protein is further broken down and used as an energy source for the body. The iron-containing heme (protein-free part) group cannot be recycled by the body and is converted into the pigment bilirubin and added to bile to be excreted from the body. Bilirubin gives bile its distinctive greenish color. Intestinal bacteria further convert bilirubin into the brown pigment stercobilin, which gives feces their brown color.
The liver is responsible for the production of bile that aids in the digestion of fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Bile is used to emulsify fats and fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) for proper digestive absorption. The liver also removes some fat-soluble toxins from the body by first dissolving them in bile salts, and then excreting them in feces. The liver also controls the production of cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fats). The liver produces some immune factors (such as fibrinogen) that help the body fight off infection. The liver functions as an organ of the immune system through the function of the Kupffer cells that line the sinusoids. Kupffer cells are a type of fixed macrophage that form part of the mononuclear phagocyte system along with macrophages in the spleen and lymph nodes. Kupffer cells play an important role by capturing and digesting bacteria, fungi, parasites, worn-out blood cells, and cellular debris. The large volume of blood passing through the hepatic portal system and the liver allows Kupffer cells to clean large volumes of blood very quickly.
The hepatocytes of the liver are tasked with many of the important metabolic jobs that support the cells of the body. Because all of the blood leaving the digestive system passes through the hepatic portal vein, the liver is responsible for metabolizing carbohydrate, lipids, and proteins into biologically useful materials.
Our digestive system breaks down carbohydrates into the monosaccharide glucose, which cells use as a primary energy source. Blood entering the liver through the hepatic portal vein is extremely rich in glucose from digested food. Hepatocytes absorb much of this glucose and store it as the macromolecule glycogen, a branched polysaccharide that allows the hepatocytes to pack away large amounts of glucose and quickly release glucose between meals. The absorption and release of glucose by the hepatocytes helps to maintain homeostasis and protects the rest of the body from dangerous spikes and drops in the blood glucose level.
Fatty acids in the blood passing through the liver are absorbed by hepatocytes and metabolized to produce energy in the form of ATP. Glycerol, another lipid component, is converted into glucose by hepatocytes through the process of gluconeogenesis. Hepatocytes can also produce lipids like cholesterol, phospholipids, and lipoproteins that are used by other cells throughout the body. Much of the cholesterol produced by hepatocytes gets excreted from the body as a component of bile. Dietary proteins are broken down into their component amino acids by the digestive system before being passed on to the hepatic portal vein. Amino acids entering the liver require metabolic processing before they can be used as an energy source.
Hepatocytes first remove the amine groups of the amino acids and convert them into ammonia and eventually urea. Urea is less toxic than ammonia and can be excreted in urine as a waste product of digestion. The remaining parts of the amino acids can be broken down into ATP or converted into new glucose molecules through the process of gluconeogenesis supplements that contain active forms. (Many supplements on the market contain non-active forms of vitamins that inevitably pass through the body instead of being absorbed.) Taking activated supplements eases the burden on the liver.
The liver is responsible for the production of several vital protein components of blood plasma: prothrombin, fibrinogen, and albumins. Prothrombin and fibrinogen proteins are coagulation factors involved in the formation of blood clots. Albumins are proteins that maintain the isotonic environment of the blood so that cells of the body do not gain or lose water in the presence of body fluids.
The liver functions mononuclear phagocyte system along with macrophages in the spleen and lymph nodes. Kupffer cells play an important role by capturing and digesting bacteria, fungi, parasites, worn-out blood cells, and cellular debris. The large volume of blood passing through the hepatic portal system and the liver allows Kupffer cells to clean large volumes of blood very quickly.
Signs and Symptoms of Liver Impairment or Disease Include:
- Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (jaundice)
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
- Itchy skin
- Dark urine color
- Pale stool color or bloody or tar-colored stool
- Chronic fatigue
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Tendency to bruise easily
- Slow Digestion and Poor Bowel Elimination
- Over Indulgence of Alcohol
Liver Dysfunction – Common Causes:
Metabolic Disorders such as obesity, diabetes, and high triglycerides – When the body’s metabolism is not running properly, fat can accumulate around the liver, causing what is known as fatty liver.
Alcoholism – Excessive and chronic alcohol consumption is the leading cause of cirrhosis. Alcohol converts to acetaldehyde, a carcinogenic toxin.
Illness – Certain illnesses, such as tuberculosis and malabsorption syndrome, can cause liver damage.
Pharmaceuticals – Certain prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs list liver damage as a side effect and a risk. Some of these include psychotropic medications (such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers), corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), and others. It’s always important to review side effects and risks of pharmaceuticals with your healthcare professional and pharmacist.
Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy drugs can damage the liver as a side effect.
Pregnancy – In rare cases, fatty liver can be a complication of pregnancy.
Poor Diet – A diet high in trans fats and heavily refined simple carbohydrates can cause metabolic disturbances that lead to fatty liver.
Pesticides and Heavy Metals – These can be stored in body fat over a lifetime and have the potential to produce liver damage.
Viral Infections – Hepatitis A – E can lead to liver damage.
Excessive Vitamin A – Mega-dosing of vitamin A can damage the liver.
Candida – Candida yeast ferments sugars into acetaldehyde, which is the same carcinogen that causes alcohol hangovers. Candida also appears to increase gut and urinary levels of ammonia, which is another liver toxin.
Inappropriate Use of Herbal Remedies – Plants of the Senecio, Crotalaria and Heliotopium families, plus chaparral, germander, comfrey, mistletoe, skullcap, margosa oil, mate tea, Gordolobo yerba tea, pennyroyal, and Jin Blu Huan are all toxic to the liver.
Supplements to Support the Liver:
- Reduction of Fibrin
- Cardio Support
- Reduced Inflammation
- Enhanced Joint Health
- Immune Strengthener
Ultra Clear® Liver Detox Formula Specialized Nutritional Support for Your Liver:
UltraClear® is formulated to provide specialized nutritional support to address an altered energetic and to provide a liver detoxification function. Designed for those who may benefit from specialized nutritional support, this formula features a low-allergenic-potential rice protein base, which may be beneficial during times of increased toxin exposure. Enhanced with specific nutrients and antioxidants that support liver detoxification and energetic processes, this product provides a well-rounded support.
- Addresses altered energetic function
- Provides nutrients that support hepatic (Liver) detoxification processes
- May be used on a long-term basis
- Supplies low-allergy-potential rice protein concentrate with added limiting essential amino acids L-lysine and L-threonine to increase the biological value of the protein.
- Rich in the antioxidant vitamins A,C,E, and beta-carotene, which may help protect against oxygen free radicals (reactive molecules containing oxygen which can cause cell damage)1 generated during the hepatic (of or relating to the liver)2 detoxification process.
Pure Body Detox Formula for Tissue & Skin:
Imagine waking up every day feeling refreshed, with clear focus on what’s ahead and energy to sustain you throughout your day. It’s all possible when you detox your body and bring it back into balance for optimal health.*
- Every serving of Pure Body works to:
- Help the body remove heavy metals and toxins*
- Support a healthy immune system*
- Help balance the body’s pH, considered essential for good health*
- Support healthy digestion*
Hepatika V 5 Liver Detoxifer and Cleanse Supplement:
- Hepatika V 5 supports healthy liver and digestive function.
- The detoxification is enhanced and many symptoms of functional liver and digestive function are alleviated bloating, slow digestion, alcohol susceptibility and intolerance.
- It is of value to decrease hypertension and insulin resistance.
- It is a therapeutic agent useful in a number of conditions related to liver disease, including alcohol-induced damage, mushroom poisoning, metal intoxication, and CCl4 poisoning.
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