Understanding Your Liver

Lena Cano, Certified Personal Trainer, shares helpful information with our clients and the community at large on “Getting Summer Ready.”  Austin Body Contouring believes that a healthier lifestyle brings about better living, as an Austin, TX leader in non-invasive body contouring we seek to provide our clients with information that will enable them to live their best lives. We hope you find her insights below valuable as you seek to Be Your Best You!

Weighing in at about 3 pounds, the adult liver is the largest solid organ and the largest gland in the human body. (The skin is the only organ heavier and larger than the liver.) It is reddish-brown with a rubbery texture and is located above and to the left of the stomach and below the lungs. The liver has four main jobs: 

  1. Detoxification
  2. Production
  3. Storage
  4. Metabolism 

These above-mentioned jobs are only the beginning. You can think of your liver as a jack of all trades. This organ plays a part in over 500 essential bodily functions and tasks. Some of the liver’s other well-known functions include:

  • Producing certain proteins for blood plasma
  • Processing hemoglobin for use of its iron content
  • Regulating blood clotting
  • Resisting infections by producing immune factors and removing bacteria from the blood stream

Detoxification 

The liver filters out a variety of substances and ensures toxins are safely removed from your body. Nutrients, hormones, medication, and toxins are processed, stored, altered, and detoxed. Enzymes and oxygen are used to burn toxins. Then toxins are combined with amino acids so they can either be passed back into the blood or released into the bowel to be eliminated. 

Production

Your liver cells use cholesterol to make a digestive juice called bile. Bile is composed of salts, water, copper, cholesterol, and pigments. This yellow-green liquid is transported from your liver to your gall bladder and finally to the duodenum in the small intestine for the breakdown and absorption of fats, proteins, cholesterol, and vitamins. Bile is also responsible for eliminating certain waste products for the body, such as hemoglobin from destroyed red blood cells, and excess cholesterol. 

Storage

The liver stores carbohydrates, vitamins A,D,E,K, and B12 as well as iron and copper to deliver them when and where your body needs them. Through storage, your liver also helps keep your energy sources balanced. Not only is it a big storage tank for quick fuel (glucose), but it also takes the amino acids from digested food and changes them into fatty acids. If you happen to run out of glucose, your liver switches gears and changes the fatty acids into ketone, another form of energy. 

Metabolism 

The liver plays a central role in the body’s metabolic process by breaking down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. In the metabolism of carbohydrates, your liver ensures the level of sugar in your blood (blood glucose) stays constant. For example, if your blood sugar levels are too low, the liver breaks down glycogen and releases sugar into the blood. By metabolizing protein, liver cells change amino acids in foods so they can be used to produce energy or make carbohydrates or fats. This process actually results in a by-product known as ammonia. Your liver cells in turn convert the ammonia into a less toxic substance, urea, which is released into the blood and then transported into the kidneys to exit the body in urine. 

Regeneration and Liver health 

Given the importance of the liver and its functions, evolution has ensured it can regrow rapidly if injured as long as it is kept healthy. The liver is the only visceral organ that can regenerate. One of the most impressive aspects of regrowth is the liver can regrow to its previous size without any loss of function during the growth process. This regrowth is made possible by a number of compounds including growth factors, insulin, norepinephrine and cytokines. 

Despite its ability to regenerate, the liver depends on being healthy to do so. You can mostly protect your liver through lifestyle choices and dietary measures. Keeping your weight under control by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly will help prevent nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition that leads to cirrhosis, which can be deadly. Alcohol abuse is one of the major causes of liver problems in the industrialized world. Excess alcohol consumption causes scar tissue to replace liver cells in a process known as fibrosis. So, now that you know how crucial the health of your liver is, do your part. Eat well. Exercise. Drink responsibly.

Here are some recommendations for maintaining a healthy liver:

  • Exercise regularly to keep your weight under control. 
  • Staying hydrated in order to cleanse the liver of toxins. 
  • Be aware of the medications you are taking. For example, Acetaminophen/Tylenol can hurt your liver if you consume too much. 
  • Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol as it can damage the liver cells and lead to cirrhosis. 
  • Minimize toxins in your food and environment.
  • Tobacco products should be avoided due to their toxic chemicals.

 

Understanding how important our liver is to our overall health cannot be understated. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, the accumulation of fat in the liver, is one of the most common liver diseases in the United States. See our DETOX101 article for foods you should be consuming to keep your liver in its best shape possible!

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Lena Cano holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry and is a Certified Personal Trainer, Running Coach, and holds a Level 1 Nutrition Certification through Precision Nutrition. Lena strives to be the best version of herself when it comes to stability in health and relationships. For more information on her services you can connect with her at cano.lenac@gmail.com

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Austin Body Contouring has been providing Austin Texas area clients with FDA Approved, 100% Non-Invasive Body Contouring successfully for more than nine years. We offer a painless way to eliminate stubborn body fat and achieve your body contouring goals. Our lipo-laser weight loss is proven to remove stubborn body fat and excess inches. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call 512.660.2810 or email us at info@austinbodycontouring.com

Ready to book your complementary consultation? Have additional questions? Send us a message below, or call (512) 660-2810 and we’d be happy to get you set up!

 

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