The liver is the largest single organ in the human body. In an adult, it weighs about three pounds, filters over a liter of blood each minute and is roughly the size of a football. Located in the upper right-hand part of the abdomen, behind the lower ribs, the liver has more than 200 functions and plays a central role in nearly all body functions., including:
converting food into the chemicals the body needs to grow and remain healthy
eliminating ingested, and internally produced, toxic substances from the blood
producing bile, a liquid that is essential for digestion
storing certain vitamins, minerals, and sugars and producing quick energy when it is needed
controlling the production and excretion of cholesterol
monitoring and maintains the proper levels of chemicals and drugs in the blood
producing immune factors than help the body fight off infection
It detoxifies the blood by filtering out the toxins -- air pollutants, pesticides, cigarette smoke, environmental chemicals, alcohol, and prescription and
nonprescription drugs -- that assault your body on a regular basis.
Environmental and chemical toxins are introduced into your bloodstream when you breathe, eat and drink, and even when you need medication. Your liver helps get rid of these toxins by changing them into products that are excreted through urine.
It also helps with hormonal balance, fat regulation and digestion
There are over 100 types of liver diseases, and because of the liver's many functions, many can be life-threatening unless treated.
Symptoms of liver disease include:
jaundice (yellowing of the skin and/or eyes)
gray, yellow, or light-colored stools
nausea, vomiting, and/or loss of appetite
vomiting of blood, or bloody or black stools
abdominal swelling, tenderness, or pain
prolonged generalized itching
unusual weight change (an increase or decrease of 5 percent or more within two months)
sleep disturbances, mental confusion, or coma
loss of sexual drive or performance
To prevent liver disease, avoid drinking more than two alcoholic drinks per day. Avoid drinking alcohol while taking over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Avoid exposure to industrial chemicals whenever possible, and don't take medications unless they are really necessary. Finally, maintain a good, well-balanced diet.
Herbs to avoid
Herbs to consider