Functions of Liver - CARiNG Pharmacy

What You Can Do to Manage Diabetes

Everyone knows that the liver is important to our health. Unlike other organs, most people do not fully understand what the liver does in our body.

Liver is truly the ‘Jack of All Trades’
However, the liver is far from ‘Master of None’
In fact, the liver is a master of all its functions. Liver is involved in the digestion of fats, production of cholesterol, storage of glucose in the form of glycogen, storage of iron and so much more.1

THE LIVER IS SAID TO HAVE ABOUT 500 VITAL FUNCTIONS!

Main Functions of The Liver

  1. Cleans Toxins Out of the Blood

    The liver converts toxins into less harmful form before removing them from the bloodstream. Blood passes through the liver carrying nutrients, medications or even toxic substances. These substances are processed, altered or even detoxified.2 One example being alcohol.
    Fun fact: East Asians (Chinese, Korean and Japanese) are more likely to flush after consuming alcohol. This is due to the fact that East Asians have lower levels of the enzyme in the liver responsible for metabolising alcohol.3

  2. Stores Glycogen & Vitamins

    After a meal, sugar in the blood spikes. The liver stores the excess sugar in the form of glucagon. When the sugar level in the blood falls between meals, the liver releases sugar.2
    Liver helps store vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K and Vitamin B12. Liver also stores minerals such as iron and copper.2

  3. Makes Bile
    Liver produces bile which aids in the digestion of fats in the small intestine. Bile emulsifies and breaks fats into smaller globules. This speeds up the digestion of fats. Without bile, fats cannot be digested properly.
  4. Blood Clotting
    Did you know? The blood clotting mechanism that helps you to stop a bleeding also involves the liver? Liver produces blood clotting factors, which are proteins involved in the formation of clot.2
  5. Production of Cholesterol
    Your liver produces cholesterol. Your body needs cholesterol for the synthesis of certain hormones, bile acids and even Vitamin D. Liver also produces proteins that carry cholesterol and other lipids in the bloodstream.1 The liver not only produces but also gets rid of cholesterol through bile.

Knowing how important the liver is to our body, we need to pay more attention to the health of our liver.

How to ‘Sayang’ Our Liver

  1. Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly
    Obesity can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases.4 Make sure you eat healthily.
  2. Avoid alcohol
    Alcohol will damage your liver and may even scar your liver tissues4
  3. Beware of certain medications
    Painkillers such as Naproxen are bad for your liver.5 This is especially true when they are taken at high doses and over a long period of time.
  4. Herbs & supplements
    Herbs and supplements may appear harmless but some may pose risk to your liver health. One of such example is Black Cohosh which is a herb taken to relieve menopausal symptoms.5
  5. Industrial chemicals
    Aerosol products and insecticides can be harmful to the liver.5

We should all take good care of our liver as the liver is involved in various functions of your body. Always remember, damage to the liver can be permanent and non-reversible. If you want to know more tips on how to take care of our liver, visit any CARiNG Pharmacy near you and ask your CARiNG Pharmacist!

References: 

  1. Liver: Anatomy and functions [Internet]. Liver: Anatomy and Functions | Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2019 [cited 2022Nov21]. Available from: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/liver-anatomy-and-functions#:~:text=Functions%20of%20the%20liver&text=All%20the%20blood%20leaving%20the,body%20or%20that%20are%20nontoxic. 
  2. The physiology of the liver [Internet]. RLO: The Physiology of the Liver. [cited 2022Nov21]. Available from: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/nmp/sonet/rlos/bioproc/liverphysiology/index.html 
  3. Why some get ‘asian flush’ from alcohol, and its health implications [Internet]. South China Morning Post. 2022 [cited 2022Nov21]. Available from: https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/article/3189879/red-cheeks-after-single-alcoholic-drink-asian-flush-your 
  4. How to keep your liver healthy [Internet]. WebMD. WebMD; [cited 2022Nov21]. Available from: https://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/features/healthy-liver 
  5. Toxic hepatitis [Internet]. Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2022 [cited 2022Nov21]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/toxic-hepatitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20352202#:~:text=Nonprescription%20pain%20relievers%20such%20as,frequently%20or%20combined%20with%20alcohol.