The medical profession’s high respect for the liver is believed by many to be not only because it is the soul’s center but also because it is arguably the most important organ in the body. Unlike the Heart and Brain, it goes about its life sustaining vital functions without any “fanfare” – it does not have the same “Celebrity” status - and if treated right, without any bother. As you will realize from the short note below, the Heart and Brain are very much reliant on a healthy well functioning liver.
After being unaccountably neglected for centuries by the medical profession, it is once more recognized for what it is - a most extraordinary organ. What makes it so unique? It has a number of claims, amongst which it is the body’s master chemist, as well as the fuel storage and supply office, housekeeper, and poison control center. In its unspectacular way it is about as hard-working an organ as we have. It performs hundreds of functions 24/7.
The Liver is the source of energy that the Human Body uses in its daily activities. The production of energy is done by utilizing the carbohydrates, proteins and fat which we consume through our daily diet. It is the largest glandular organ of the body, weighing in at about 3 lb (1.36 kg).
The liver is situated on the right side of the abdominal cavity beneath the diaphragm. Blood is carried to the liver via two large vessels called the hepatic artery and the portal vein. The hepatic artery carries oxygen-rich blood from the aorta (a major vessel in the heart). The portal vein carries blood containing digested food from the small intestine. These blood vessels subdivide in the liver repeatedly, terminating in very small capillaries. Each capillary leads to a lobule. Liver tissue is composed of thousands of lobules, and each lobule is made up of hepatic cells, the basic metabolic cells of the liver.
It may already be apparent that what you eat directly affects the condition and performance of the Liver.
To name but a few of the functions: The Liver produces substances that break down fats, converts glucose to glycogen, produces urea (the main substance of urine), makes certain amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), filters harmful substances from the blood (such as alcohol), stores vitamins and minerals and maintains a proper level or glucose in the blood and is also responsible for producing about 80% of the cholesterol in your body.
It is a super tough gland, able to rebuild its missing cells whilst regenerating damaged ones. It will function with only one fifth or less of its whole. In cancer cases, where varying percentages have had to be removed, months later the gland has grown back to its original size. Thus, it may be considered potentially immortal.
Nevertheless, constant abuse with malnutrition, harmful drugs, poisons and infection does eventually wear it out.
Man’s original food and environment were natural to the core. With civilization came gradual changes in man’s food and his eating habits. Food was cooked, salted and, later, processed and chemically treated. But man’s liver didn’t change. It remained the old pre-civilization model.
The liver, then, is the central chemical laboratory in the body as well as its most important detoxicator. It is so important that man can live only a few hours without it. For this reason surgeons are inclined to eye it warily and seldom touch it except for the removal of an occasional tumor, abscess or cyst. Anyone who has studied the liver extensively knows that its manifold activities are so complicated and numerous that one could lose oneself in its labyrinths.
Dr. Henry G. Bieber refers to the role of the liver the body’s second line of defense against disease, just as digestion is the first line.
Of all the alkaline elements of the body, sodium is the most important. Sodium is found in every cell of the body. In addition there are large concentrated sodium-storage centers to be used in case of emergency. Among the important sodium-storage reservoirs are the muscles, brain and nerves, bone marrow, skin, gastric and intestinal mucosa, the kidneys and the liver, which is by far the most important. It is the richest of all the organs in sodium, its chief chemical element, as well as being the largest storehouse of sodium.
When the liver is depleted of sodium in order to neutralize its acids, its function may be so severely inhibited that illness results. It is only when the liver’s filtration ability is hindered that the poisons get beyond the liver and into the general blood circulation. Only then do the symptoms of disease occur. And that is why you must guard your liver so carefully.
If, then, sodium is so important to good health, how do we obtain it? How can we conserve it? Sodium, the body’s vital element, is derived from the sodium compounds in the diet. The richest source of sodium is the vegetable kingdom and the next best source is found in certain animal tissues, such as muscle and liver.
After the digestion of any meal, all of the blood from the intestines circulates through the liver, entering it by way of the large portal vein which flows directly into it. The useful elements from the digested food are taken to the liver which (1) synthesizes new body tissues, (2) prepares fuel for oxidation and energy and (3) stores excess nourishment for future use.
Toxins and other harmful substances are neutralized by the liver and eliminated by the excretory secretion of the liver. This secretion is called bile. Sometimes the power of the liver to neutralize these toxic substances completely is curtailed because of insufficient alkalinity. The bile is then released to the small intestine in a toxic state. During the coursing of this toxic bile through the small intestine, if it has not already caused enough nausea to be eliminated quickly by vomiting, much of the harmful material is reabsorbed. At the same time it may cause various degrees of intestinal inflammation.
The presence of toxic bile in the intestine can also upset its digestion of useful food, giving rise to products of toxic indigestion, gas formation and much abdominal pain. In some respects bile is comparable to urine. When the bile is entirely too irritating to be poured over the contents of the duodenum (the first portion of the small intestine into which the bile ducts drain), it is stored temporarily in the gall bladder, where it is gradually neutralized. But toxic acid or corrosive bile is incompatible with many foods. Consequently it creates an inflammation of the liver, of the bile ducts, of the gall bladder and of the intestines. At times it is regurgitated into the stomach and, if toxic enough, vomited.
In the duodenum, irritation from abnormal bile can result in bile burns which, in turn, cause unpleasant and frightening spasms. And it is for the relief of these unpleasant symptoms that the popular anti-acid pills, wafers, lozenges and powders are dispensed by the millions.
When there is a too rapid drain of the liver’s available sodium, the liver cells die. The result is scar tissue, the terminal phases of which are the different types of cirrhosis, or scarring, of the liver. But before it produces symptoms which are obvious, a cirrhotic liver is already severely damaged.
Civilization, with its processed, concentrated and synthesized foods, is responsible for the enormous quantities of antacid remedies sold and consumed in the form of pills, candies and chewing gum – “remedies” that may temporarily relieve distress whilst failing to remove the cause.
The liver, then, is the body’s principal organ of detoxification; the chemical wizard which performs its chemical magic with quiet efficiency; the strainer through which is poured all that finds its way into the body before it enters the general circulation.
As long as the liver function is intact, the blood stream remains pure. When it becomes impaired, the toxins enter the circulation and cause irritation, destruction and eventually - death.
The Liver's ("Liver") waste disposal role is of utmost importance to good health. When it begins to fail as a blood filter, we may expect that toxic material will enter the general circulation. It is this toxic material in the general circulation which stimulates the endocrine (in-pouring) to over-activity in a valiant attempt to help the body neutralize and eliminate the irritants resulting from improper digestion ("The art and importance of Correct Chewing") of proteins, sugars, starches and fats.
The three endocrine glands that concern us here include 1. the adrenal glands, 2. the thyroid gland and 3. the pituitary gland. Other major endocrine glands are the thymus, pineal, and pancreas. One of their most remarkable and mind-boggling aspects is that they are such small bits of tissue. But for all that, their power is enormous and very influential
The endocrine glands secrete the substances that they manufacture – called hormones - directly into the blood stream. Hormones are extremely potent and they direct and regulate much of the biochemistry of life.
Hormones are your body's chemical messengers. They travel in your bloodstream to tissues or organs. They work slowly, over time, and affect many different processes, includingbr-Growth and development br-Metabolism - how your body gets energy from the foods you eat br-Sexual function br-Reproduction br-Mood To repeat - Hormones are very powerful. It takes only a tiny amount to cause big changes in cells or even your whole body. That is why too much or too little of a certain hormone can have serious affects. br-It will now be clear that the condition of the liver directly affects the endocrine glands that manufacture hormones and so on and on. br-It is obvious that where we can assist the amazing and remarkable chain of events controlled by these organs is in the foods we eat. "Do it right" and all systems will react in accordance with their allocated duties. "Do it wrong" and breakdowns will occur with often devastating results. Special note: Visit our website regularly to view our latest and other articles, all of which relate to maintaining your Body in good shape and Preventing diseases and ailments.
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