Your Liver – Factory and Filtration Plant
- The human liver is a very vital organ. It is so important that if it stops functioning even for a single day, a person will simply die.
- The liver weighs around 3 pounds and is reddish-brown in color. The liver has two parts – the right lobe and the left lobe. The right lobe is bigger than the left lobe.
- The liver is responsible for performing over 500 different vital functions of the body.
- Of all metabolic organs present in our body, the liver is the most complex of all and is also the largest of all.
- At any given point in time, the liver contains 10% of the total blood in the body. It filters around 1.4 liters of blood every single minute.
- Humans are not the only living beings to have a liver. Any living creature with a spinal column or a backbone has a liver. In short every vertebrate in this world has a liver.
- The liver protects our body from harmful substances or toxins that we put in our body either deliberately or unintentionally through the food we eat or drink, or because of other day to day activities
- The chemicals removed from the blood are sent into our intestines in form of bile. These chemicals are then removed in form of feces or stool. These chemicals may also be sent into the kidneys where they are filtered out from the body in form of urine.
- The liver is responsible for producing bile. Bile is very important because it helps in digesting food and is needed to remove toxins from the body.
- The bile produced by the liver is also important because it helps to breakdown fats into smaller particles so that the pancreatic lipase can digest fat better.
- Our body produces a chemical known as bilirubin. This is pretty toxic and if it goes unfiltered into the kidneys, it can damage them. The liver actually filters and makes bilirubin safe before sending it to the kidneys. The kidneys then filter out the bilirubin from the body along with urine. This is what gives the characteristic yellow color to our urine.
- Yet another interesting fact about the liver is that it never uses sugar for energy. It only stores sugar. In reality, the liver is the storehouse of any excess sugar that we consume. It stores this sugar in form of a compound known as glycogen. Between meals when our body needs sugar, the liver breaks down the glycogen to form glucose. This glucose is then used by the remaining body as energy fuel.
- The liver is responsible for producing enzymes and chemicals that helps the blood to clot in the event of bleeding due to a cut.
- The liver is also responsible for making cholesterol. While high levels of low density lipoprotein or (bad cholesterol) is actually bad, cholesterol is also required for building cells as well as hormones. Hormones are necessary for normal functioning of the body because they can be rightly termed as the messengers in our body.
- The liver is actually an iron warehouse. It also contains extra minerals and vitamins which allows a person to perform throughout the day.
- The blood in our bodies actually began to be made by the liver even before our birth.
- Artificial liver replacement in humans or any other vertebrate is not yet possible, but liver transplants are possible. One very interesting fact about the liver is that it can sustain and survive heavy damage. It can grow back. Liver transplant usually involves cutting out a certain part of the liver from the donor and giving it to the receiver. The part of the liver that is cut out from the donor can actually grow back!