Here at Rejuvime, we are always looking for ways to educate our patients and followers on healthy habits, because as we all know, healthy habits contribute to an overall healthier well-being, thus, the potential for a better quality of life as we age. Today we are going to discuss the role of the liver and how maintaining healthy liver function can benefit overall health.
What does the liver do?
A part of the digestive system, the liver is a vital organ that helps the body filter blood and detoxify itself. It metabolizes drugs and functions as a filter to protect the body from harmful toxins. According to experts at Medical News Today, “The liver is the largest solid organ and the largest gland in the human body. It carries out over 500 essential tasks.”
In addition to these vital tasks, the liver also carries out a few other essential functions to keep the body running healthily, such as:
- Metabolizing Fat and Carbohydrates:
- Storing Vitamins and Minerals
- Producing Bile
- Absorbing and Metabolizing Bilirubin
- Metabolizing Protein
- Filtering the Blood
The liver is unique in that, it’s the only organ in the human body (and that of other species) that can regenerate itself. Pretty stinking cool, if you ask us!
Functioning without the liver is possible; however, experts suggest that while a person could survive without the liver for a while, the quality of life without its functions would not be pleasant.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Liver disease can be inherited (genetic) or caused by a variety of factors that damage the liver, such as viruses and alcohol use. Obesity is also associated with liver damage.”
There are several common diseases that affect the liver, we’ve outlined a few significant ones:
Cirrhosis: Perhaps one of the most common diseases of the liver, Cirrhosis is the development of scar tissue on the liver, eventually often resulting in liver failure. Too much consumption of alcohol over long periods of time is the most common cause of Cirrhosis.
Hepatitis: Another common disease of the liver, Hepatitis is characterized by an inflammation of liver tissue. Hepatitis can be caused by an autoimmune response, toxins, and viruses can cause it.
Liver Cancer: Often caused by the two preceding conditions, alcohol and hepatitis. According to Medical News Today, “It is the sixth most common form of cancer and the second most frequent cause of cancer death.”
No one likes disease, right? With our goal always aid in the improvement of the quality of life, we’ve listed a few suggestions for keeping your liver in tip-top shape. Here are a few things you can do to maintain healthy liver function:
- Limit Alcohol Intake: With alcohol consumption being the leading cause of Cirrhosis, it’s no surprise that this one made the list! Medical experts suggest no more than two drinks at a time.
- Drink lots of water: Water is the best way to practice keeping the body healthy and flushed of toxins. Consume at least 8 glasses of water a day. You can even add lemon to aid in a gentle liver cleansing!
- Educate Yourself on Medications Consumed: Mixing medications can sometimes have long-term or even fatal effects. Combining medications with other medications and/or alcohol can put a huge strain on the liver as it tries to process the toxins. As noted by Medical News Today, “combining alcohol and acetaminophen can lead to acute liver failure. Be sure to follow the instructions on any medications.”
- Diet High in Fiber and Healthy Fats: We’ve mentioned this one before (several times) as a key factor for healthy aging! Consume foods high in fiber and healthy fats, such as Omega-3 rich foods.
- Vaccinations for Travel: Certain locations around the world are prone to Malaria and Yellow Fever, both detrimental to the liver. Vaccinations can help prevent these diseases from spreading.
- Practicing Safe Sex: Hepatitis C can be transmitted through sexual encounters, as well as through the use of needles. Since there is no vaccination for Hepatitis C, caution is advised when partaking in these activities. Personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes, should not be shared among individuals.
- Consume Foods that Support Healthy Liver Function: Beets, carrots, turmeric, celery, lemon, rosemary, cumin, and curries are all foods that are beneficial to the liver.
A healthy liver is an essential component of a healthy quality of life. We hope that these tips provide a little insight into how you can help your body’s systems age more gracefully.
For more topics and questions on aging and hormones, visit our website or give us a call for a consult at (225)960-1580.