“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” Jim Rohn
7 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Liver
1. Liver Disease is Mostly Preventable
Your liver is designed to cope with almost anything natural you can throw at it. So almost anything found in nature, the food you eat, what you drink, breathe, what gets into your body through your skin, your liver has the answer. Even alcohol. Our bodies create alcohol as a bi-product of our digestion and we ingest some alcohol in the foods we eat. Your liver has nowhere near the capacity it needs to deal with commercial quantities of alcohol.
There is only one avenue for your liver to go to be safely processed, through your liver. It can only process one unit of alcohol an hour, about half a pint of average strength beer. If you drink more than that amount, it’s left floating around in your body, waiting to be dealt with.
Andrew Langford, of the British Liver Trust, says “It is alarming that we have seen a 500 per cent increase in deaths from liver disease since the Seventies. Nowadays, more than 40 people a day die from liver disease.” That’s in the UK alone. 14,600 a year, in the UK alone.
Even though there are over 100 types of this condition, Langford says that liver disease is “caused by three main preventable causes – too much alcohol, obesity and viral hepatitis.” So one of the easiest ways of making sure your liver lives longer is to stop drinking alcohol.
2. Your Liver Is Responsible for Over 500 Different Functions
The liver handles over 500 of the bodies essential functions. These are functions which are vital for keeping your body alive, fit, and well. The liver is not called the body’s factory for nothing. Even though your liver only weights a kilo on average, it’s a non-stop workhorse. Your liver plays a large part in processing every breath you take, all the food and drink you consume, even down to the creams and lotions you rub on your skin.
Your liver helps your blood to clot, in the manufacturing proteins and iron. Your liver is a prime mover in energy storage and releasing all that energy. It supports the digestive process and it purifies the blood. These are only some of the 500 plus life-giving functions of your liver.
Your liver is the workhorse of your body….keeping you alive
3. The Liver Begins to Repair After Only a Couple of Days of Not Drinking
When you drink alcohol, your liver has a hard time getting around to the normal day to day reparations and recuperations that it needs to perform as a normal part of keeping you alive. Once you stop using alcohol, once the flow of alcohol through your liver ceases, it’ll only take a couple of days before your liver has removed the majority of the toxins that have been accumulated from all the alcohol.
Once the healing and reparations are done, your can then move it’s operations to those 500 essential functions that I spoke about earlier, the ones your liver is supposed to take care off.
4. Early Liver Disease Gives No Warning
During the early stages of liver disease, there are no specific warning signs that you have liver disease. What I mean by that is that even though you may be getting some of the symptoms, you won’t necessarily associate them with something being wrong with your liver. For instance, some of the non-specific symptoms include nausea, losing your appetite, tiredness, or bowel problems.
These symptoms could mean anything. They wouldn’t automatically cause you to assume your liver was in trouble. These are all symptoms of drinking alcohol. They’re all symptoms that I’ve had, feeling ill with a hangover, sometimes days after I stopped drinking. How many times have you lost your appetite after using alcohol? Tiredness and bowel difficulties comes with the territory of alcohol use as well. The only way to be sure either way is to have some tests done by your doctor.
5. There is No Machine to Replace Your Liver
Unlike kidney dialysis, where a machine can used to filter the harmful wastes, salt, and surplus fluid from your bloodstream, there is no machine for replacing the liver. If you’re liver dies, so do you. A patient can live for the rest of their lives being hooked up to a dialysis machine. Some patients have been on dialysis machines for over 30 years while they were waiting to get a transplant.
Without your liver performing the life-saving job of ridding your body of the toxins you take in, you will die within 12 to 24 hours.
6. There’s No Guarantee You’ll Get a New Liver if You Need One
There is a lot of debate about the ethics of liver transplantation in the case of alcohol users. Should the heavy drinker get a liver transplant if they need it? In some countries, there is a compulsory period that a person diagnosed with alcohol related liver failure would have to wait prior to being considered for a liver transplant procedure. During this waiting period, usually about six months, the patient cannot drink any alcohol at all.
A famous case from my youth was of the Irish football legend George Best who was controversially granted a liver transplant. After he had the operation, he continued his old lifestyle. He died within three years due to complications from the immunosuppressive drugs that he was taking.
7. Just Quitting Alcohol Will Not Cure Liver Disease
If you quit drinking alcohol but don’t change other dangerous aspects of your lifestyle, you’re liver is still going to be at risk.
There are many foods and drinks to avoid such as anything containing lots of saturated fat. You should also obviously avoid alcohol, processed sugar and other processed foods, as well as heavily salted foods.
On the other hand, you can help your liver by eating lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains such as brown rice, barley, oats, and quinoa, lean proteins such as chicken breast, egg whites, and beans, and healthy fats found in nuts, avocados, and olive oil.
When you think about how tough the human liver is, how it can bounce back time and time again from almost anything that nature can throw at it, and without it you’re gonna be dead within a matter of hours, you really need to think about all the ways you can help your liver to do its job.
Is Life Worth Living? It Depends on Your Liver! – William James
Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!