The liver is a very vital and fundamental organ that is needed by the body. It is the 2nd largest organ in the body and it plays an important role in it. But most people hardly know anything vital about the liver.
It is just as important as any other major organ in the body and if it stops its functions for a day, that would cause serious health chaos in the body as these would pose severe health problems. Below are some listed facts about the liver that you might find interesting.
1. The liver is the 2nd largest organ in the body with the first being the skin.
2. This vital organ plays nothing less than 600 roles in the body. Surprising right?
3. The liver is the only organ in the entire body that can regenerate. This means that one can cut out half his or her liver and the remaining half can grow into a full one within a period of time.
4. The liver weighs 3.17-3.66 pounds (between 1.44kg-1.66kg), that is quite heavy don’t you think?
5. The liver has two lobes; the right and left lobe. The right lobe is bigger and heavier than the left lobe.
6. A ligament called the falciform ligament separates the two lobes and also likewise attaches the liver to the diaphragm which is found right above the liver.
7. A capsule known as the Glisson capsule holds the liver in place and also protect it from damage in a case of a slight trauma.
8. The liver is one of the few organs in the body that has two major sources of blood supply. One of the blood supplies called the PORTAL vein carries nutrient-rich blood into the liver while the other blood supply called the HEPATIC artery carries oxygenated blood into the liver. Awesome, don’t you think?
9. Blood goes out of the liver via 3 hepatic veins
10. The liver asides being an organ is also a gland.
11. The liver protects our bodies against harmful substances or toxins by cleaning the blood from chemicals gotten and ingested by the body from our various daily activities.
12. The liver produces bile which is very important in the digestion of food. Without the production and secretion of bile, the body can’t eliminate toxins.
13. The bile produced and secreted by the liver helps in the breakdown of fatty food particles so that the pancreatic lipase can act on them to further enhance digestion.
14. The reason why a normal stool has a characteristic brownish colour is due to the production and secretion of bile by the liver.
17. The liver filters the bilirubin made by the body. The essence of the filtration of the bilirubin is so that the concentration level of the bilirubin won’t harm or affect the kidneys adversely. If the bilirubin produced by the body doesn’t undergo filtration by the liver, once it is transported to the kidneys can cause kidney damage or kidney failure.
18. The liver never uses sugar as its own energy source. It only stores sugar. The liver is the organ that houses or stores excess sugar gotten from the body’s daily consumption. This excess sugar is stored in form of glycogen and this glycogen can always be recycled back into the body for energy in a process called gluconeogenesis.
19. The liver holds almost 10% of the blood pumped in the body which is around 1.5litres of blood and it pumps this same amount of blood through itself every minute. That’s a mighty blood bag, wouldn’t you say?
20. The brain depends on the liver. Amazing, don’t you think? Here is how. The liver regulates blood glucose and ammonia levels. In a case where both the blood glucose or ammonia levels in the blood get so high out of proportion, this would lead to hepatic encephalopathy which can eventually lead to coma. In other words, this means that for the brain to function adequately well, you need functionally healthy liver.
21. According to an interview found on mental floss given by Dr Neil Mukherje, a liver surgeon and fellow at Florida Hospital’s southeastern corner for digestive disorder of pancreatic cancer, your body needs about 1g of liver for every 1kg of your body weight in order to effectively carry out its job.
22. The liver also serves as a storage house for iron. During digestion, the liver takes out most of the important nutrients,vitamins and iron and stores them up. Once the body is in need of them due to the fact there is no supply of it from an outside source (the food we eat), the liver begins to steadily and gradually release them( I.e. the iron, nutrients and vitamins) back into the bloodstream so that other organs too in the body can get and utilize them.
23. About 10% of our liver is made of fat. And once the liver fat begins to exceed 10%, it can cause type II diabetes mellitus. A fatty liver doesn’t store glycogen.
24. The liver serves as a very large detox organ. In fact, it is the largest detoxifying organ in the body and it helps to detoxify most harmful substances we take into our body such as alcohol and drugs.
25. The liver serves as a primary site for the breakdown of hormones. It’s from the breakdown of these hormones that bile is gotten from.
26. The liver also helps in the breakdown and conversion of medicines. The body cannot utilise medicines without its breakdown. Then comes the liver. The liver breaks down medicines into a form in which the body can absorb and utilize it.
27. To have a healthy liver, reduce your intake of alcohol.
28. Your liver controls the level of your Thyroid hormones. Although your Thyroid hormones are originally manufactured in the thyroid gland, these thyroid hormones are activated in the liver. T4 produced in the thyroid gland is converted into its active form T3 in the liver.
29. The liver helps in the clotting of your blood by manufacturing clotting proteins which enables the blood to clot when necessary. Once the blood can’t clot especially during a severe trauma, it can lead to excessive blood loss which can cause hypotension (low blood pressure).
30. Women with an unhealthy liver most likely more often than not suffer from PMS (Pre menstrual syndrome).
In conclusion, the liver has so many functions and roles and it would be very wrong of us to neglect it. There are so many things one must or can do to enhance the function of the liver and that will be coming up in the next post. Look out for it.