The Many Functions of the Liver

Ask most people what the liver is for and they’ll probably tell you that it’s there to filter toxins from the body. While it’s true that the liver is the Brita filter system of the body, thinking of it only as “poison control central” doesn’t even begin to do it service.

We think a lot about the liver and all it does for us, and that’s why we have created the best liver detox supplement around. Made with milk thistle, we’re excited to offer our liver detox and support supplement, designed to help your liver stay as healthy as possible. Let’s take a look at the many functions of the liver and why it’s important to take care of it.

It Helps With Blood Clotting

Let’s say you get a small cut on your finger. For most of us, it stops bleeding in just a few minutes. You have your liver to thank for that. With the help of vitamin K, the liver produces proteins that are essential to make your blood clot.

It Breaks Down Old Blood Cells

You’re probably replacing blood cells more often than you realize. It’s a lifelong process that the liver helps with, breaking down damaged or used-up blood cells and sending them along to be expelled from the body.

There’s another way in which it works as a filter. The liver filters blood as it comes back from the rest of the digestive tract. Not only does it clean up or discard blood cells, but it also detoxifies chemicals (including alcohol) and metabolizes drugs.

Fat Metabolism

Liver cells break down fats (yay!) and release energy (double yay!)

Protein Metabolism

Liver cells take the amino acids from foods and turn them into energy. When this happens a toxic substance called ammonia is created, which isn’t something you want anywhere in your body. The liver steps in to correct the problem it created, converting ammonia into urea, which is then excreted in urine.

Carbohydrate Metabolism and Sugar Balance

This might be the most important aspect of the liver for which it seldom gets credit. The liver helps to regulate your blood sugar levels as it metabolizes carbohydrates. If you’ve recently eaten a large meal, the liver takes the excess sugar in your blood and stores it in a form called glycogen. But if you haven’t eaten in a while, it breaks down the glycogen and sends more sugar into the blood.

It’s A Vitamin Storehouse

Your liver doesn’t just help you keep your blood sugar levels balanced. It also works as a storehouse for vitamins and minerals. Low on vitamins A, D, E, K or B12? As long as you’ve had a surplus in the recent past, you can rely on your liver to release them as necessary.

Collects and Stores Iron

You probably know that iron is used to create new blood cells. As the liver is breaking down the hemoglobin of red blood cells, it collects the iron and releases it as your body needs it to create new blood cells. Reduce, reuse, recycle!

It Creates Bile

Livers create bile, which is incredibly important in the breakdown of fats. The bile it produces is passed to the bile ducts and travels through the duodenum to the small intestine to aid in digestion.

Fun Facts About the Liver

That’s not all! Here are some more little factoids about this amazing organ:

  • The liver tends to be the second largest and heaviest organ in the body. While the skin is certainly the heaviest (around 10 pounds) and covers the most area, the liver weighs in around 3 pounds. This makes it only slightly heavier than the brain (depending on the person, of course!).
  • You’ve probably heard of people getting liver transplants. This is an especially efficient procedure, as one person can be a living donor. That’s because the liver is the only organ that can regenerate!
  • Alcohol abuse is one of the most common reasons for liver failure. It leads to hepatic cirrhosis, also known as cirrhosis of the liver.
  • Milk thistle has been used for hundreds of years in traditional Chinese medicine to encourage bile flow and keep the liver healthy.
  • The liver is the largest gland in the body, though it is not part of the endocrine system like many other glands are. (It is classified as being in the digestive system, though we hope this blog has convinced you that it helps in many body functions.)

The heart pumps blood, the lungs take in oxygen. Very important, yes, but such one-trick ponies when compared to the amazing liver! We’ve discussed the most important of its tasks, but by some counts the liver performs over 500 smaller tasks. Because it does so much for you, you want to keep it as happy as possible? What’s the best way to do that? High-quality supplements like milk thistle pills. Wondering where to buy milk thistle? You’re already here! Grab some today and support your liver!