Although your body works as a holistic organism consisting of multiple systems, it is important to look at various organs and systems in order to learn how they affect the overall health of your body. In this installment of “Organ Examination,” we will be looking at your liver. This is appropriate, as readers of The Beauty Detox Solution read how much I talk about it!

Anatomy of the Liver

Your liver sits in the upper right-hand side of your abdominal cavity. It is protected by the rib cage, and sits just in front of the gallbladder. It rests on top of your stomach, just below your diaphragm. It weighs around three pounds, and is a dark red color. Your liver has two lobes, separated by a series of ligaments. In each lobe, the liver contains lobules that connect via a complex duct system, which transports bile produced in the liver to the gallbladder and duodenum.

The liver receives blood and oxygenation from two sources. The hepatic artery brings oxygenated blood to the liver, while the hepatic portal vein delivers nutrient rich blood.

The liver is part of your biliary system with the gallbladder and bile ducts, which creates, transports, and stores bile for digestion. It is also part of the digestive system, which breaks the foods you eat down into smaller, more accessible particles. Other organs that work with the liver in the digestive system are the stomach, pancreas, and intestines.

Liver Functions

Your liver performs more than 500 vital functions in your body. While I am not going to list all of them here, I will share some of the most important roles the liver plays.

  1. All blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver.
  2. When that blood reaches the liver, it processes it, converting nutrients and medications into more usable forms.
  3. The liver contains about 13 percent of the body’s blood at any given time. As the blood passes through the liver, the organ balances the blood’s chemical composition and produces bile from the waste products.
  4. Bile carries those waste products away from the liver, allowing it to continuously detoxify the blood.
  5. It is your body’s main fat burning organ, regulating fat metabolism and carrying fat out of the body via bile.
  6. The liver produces blood proteins necessary for plasma, which is an essential component of blood.
  7. The liver produces cholesterol. While many people think this is a bad thing, cholesterol actually plays an important role in the body. It is the precursor for testosterone and estrogen. Cholesterol also supports cell structure and helps maintain healthy neurological function. Note: This is different than foreign cholesterol, which is derived from animal products.
  8. The liver further detoxifies by removing bacteria from the blood stream. This is essential for healthy immune function. Additionally, a healthy liver produces immune factors that fight disease.
  9. It regulates blood clotting. Inefficient blood clotting can lead to bleeding disorders and anemia, while overabundant blood clotting can lead to an array of health and clotting disorders including embolism and deep vein thrombosis.
  10. It detoxifies, removing harmful medications and toxic substances from your blood.
  11. The liver stores iron, which it processes from hemoglobin.
  12. It converts blood sugar (glucose) to glycogen (stored energy), and then back to glucose (active energy).
  13. It regulates amino acids in the blood.

Effects of an Unhealthy Liver

What happens when your liver doesn’t function properly? An unhealthy liver may obstruct bile flow, resulting in inefficient toxin removal. Resultantly, the liver may fail to remove bacteria from the bloodstream, leading to decreased immunity and increased illness. It may also fail to break down the nutrients you need for health. In some cases, the blood may even bypass an unhealthy liver, turning medications toxic. In extreme cases of liver damage, the liver may develop scarring called cirrhosis, and it may function poorly or not at all.

Substances that Damage the Liver

With all of those functions and negative effects of an unhealthy liver, it’s easy to see why it is so essential to keep your liver healthy. The Beauty Detox Solution is designed to minimize toxins in your body, which supports liver function and keeps you healthy and strong. Some substances, however, can cause liver damage.

  • Chronic alcohol intake
  • Overuse of prescription and over the counter medications
  • Excessive use of herbal remedies
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Refined sugar and fructose (including agave)
  • MSG
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Pesticides
  • Artificial flavors
  • Food dyes
  • Deep fried foods
  • Processed foods

Protecting Your Liver

Your daily habits can help protect this valuable organ.

  • Eat an organic, plant-based diet rich in Omega-3 fats.
  • Cut out caffeine, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and avoid high-fructose corn syrup at all costs.
  • Drink plenty of pure water to flush your liver.
  • Avoid animal products and processed foods.
  • Drink water with organic lemon every day.
  • Start your day with a Glowing Green Smoothie

Liver Detox

While cleansing should be an ongoing process, you can incorporate certain foods for a deeper cleansing.

  • Make detox tea from lemon, ginger, and cayenne and drink it throughout the day.
  • Eat only raw dark leafy greens for an entire day, cutting out fats and oils, salt, vinegar, and other substances.
  • For even more detoxification, add cayenne to your vegetables to get your blood flowing as you detox.
  • Drink plenty of pure water (not tap water), avoiding any water from bottles made from bisphenol A.
  • Continue with The Beauty Detox Solution diet.

Now that you know a little more about your liver, you probably understand why maintaining the health of this vital organ is so important. By cleansing your liver and eating a diet that supports healthy function, your body will be much better able to eliminate toxins, fight off disease, and process nutrients from the foods you eat. The cleaner your liver, the more clear and beautiful your skin will become as well.

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New York Times Bestseller and Nutritionist