Liver disease has become the seventh leading cause of death among Americans. Diseases like hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer are claiming more lives at younger ages than ever before. The incidence of gall stones, which are a result of liver toxicity, is on the rise.
Your liver is a central chemical-processing plant of staggering complexity, the hardest working and the largest gland in your body. Located in the upper right section of your abdominal cavity, it is somewhat triangular in shape and weighs about three pounds (as much as a small watermelon). It must perform more than 500 different jobs to keep you healthy. Herbert Shelton, in his book Fasting For the Renewal of Life, says the equivalent of 45 barrels of blood passes through the liver in 24 hours.
Two blood supplies serve this miraculous organ. One brings in fresh oxygenated blood, with fresh nutrients, while the other brings in blood to be “cleansed and serviced.”
Functions of the Liver
- It takes apart and rearranges proteins for your body’s repair and maintenance needs. It either converts excess into glucose and stores it for energy needs, or turns it into fat and stores it.
- It produces a pint or so of bile (a solution of organic compounds) each day, and stores it in the gall bladder until it is needed to help digest fats.
- It neutralizes and/or stores or excretes, hundreds of poisonous substances (drugs, medication, additives, colorings, preservatives, stabilizers, caffeine, nicotine, etc.) you ingest.
- It stores excesses of vitamins A, B, D, E and K. The stored supplies are so enormous that a well-nourished average person can go for months without vitamin A, and two to four years without vitamin B12 with no sign of deficiency, according to the Rand McNally Atlas of Body and Mind.
- Your liver secretes glucose, proteins, vitamins and other compounds required for normal body functioning. These vital elements are released into the blood supply and distributed to other parts of your body to give you energy and keep you healthy
When you overwork your liver, over a period of years, it shows its weariness by becoming “sluggish.” Too much alcohol, too many drugs, too much saturated fat (animal foods, fried foods), too much refined food (sugars, starches), caffeine, nicotine, etc., contribute to this process. If you’re overweight, this trusty organ also becomes infiltrated with fat, adding to the burden. Hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, hepatitis, gallstones, skin rashes and nausea are some symptoms of an overworked liver.
Reprinted from Organic Living, published by New York State Natural Food Associates (NYSNFA), Vol. 43.