Why is the liver so important?

This large, meaty organ sits on the right side of our belly and plays a vital role in the balancing of our metabolic system.  It is the largest organ and one of, if not the most, important.  We need the liver to process all of the nutrients in our food – protein, carbs, fats, vitamins, and minerals.  We need the liver to filter out all of the toxins that enter our body.  We rely on  the liver to convert food into energy, clean out poisons (including alcohol), help to digest our food, help produce hormones, store glycogen, and regulate generally every important function of our metabolic process.  The liver literally receives 30% of the blood circulating through your body every minute in order to perform its detoxifying and nutrient absorbing tasks.

The liver keeps you energized.  While carbohydrates can provide the body with energy, it is the liver that actually manages its distribution.  Once the gastrointestinal tract breaks the carbs down into glucose, the liver regulates and maintains the healthy levels.  The liver will actually store any excess amounts, in the form of glycogen, and convert it back to glucose whenever your body is in need.  Typically, this is necessary when you exercise, fast, or simply in between meals.

The liver also turns fat into energy.  This powerhouse organ breaks down fat, and its compounds, converts it into a form of a storage molecule, and pulls from that storage whenever your body is in need.  When energy levels are low the liver is able to convert these resources back into glycerol and fatty acids in order to provide an alternative energy source.  This liver is able to filter the blood and remove any harmful cells, microbes, and hormones.  This is done through the liver’s production of bile.  Bile is stored in the gallbladder.  Toxic invaders are neutralized and sent to the intestines or the kidneys to be excreted out of the body via the urine and bowels.

The liver does much of the same when it comes to protein by taking the amino acids that were broken down in the intestines and removing the nitrogen (which turns into ammonia), quickly converting it into urea, so this dangerous substance can be excreted through the urine.  The excess amino acids are then either turned into fat for storage, or used to create glucose when energy is needed.  The liver also stores all of our vitamins and minerals and can deliver them to the body whenever it is in need.

When it comes to Gout, liver function is essential key to the puzzle.  While the liver is busy with so many important jobs, it can leave something as natural as uric acid “on the backburner”.  Uric acid is not seen as foreign or dangerous by the body, and in fact is a necessary protector of our DNA.  If we are overloading the liver on a daily basis and it has to focus on all of the jobs we mentioned above, it simply won’t have the time to deal with uric acid.  Any excess will be stored and eventually attack you.  Gout occurs when the excess is unable to leave the body and builds up in storage areas including the liver, the blood, the fat, the tissues, and ultimately in the joints where it can attack.

The liver is hard at work for your body day in and day out.  Show your liver some love as taking care of this organ is the absolute best thing you can do for your body.  Eat right, exercise, take some liver-loving supplements, and do your best to avoid unnecessary damage to this essential organ.

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