The Amazing Chemical Plant Of Our Bodies
The liver is the largest and most complex organ in the body, the liver plays a central governing role in the maintenance of many critical body functions. Acting as the body’s master chemical laboratory, the liver is an incomparable chemical plant capable of more than 500 known functions. It is the body’s number one filter. Everything we breathe, touch, eat or drink is broken down and carried by the blood to the liver.
Working intimately with other organs of the body, the liver is the most complex and versatile of all organs. Its many diverse functions are so critical that we could not live more than 10 to 24 hours without it.
Acting as the body’s workhorse for hundreds of tasks, the liver manufactures organic compounds needed during metabolism; neutralizes waste materials; filters out toxic chemicals; stores and releases nutrients to various parts of the body; plays a central role in the body’s building and tearing down processes by its converting, distributing, and reconverting action; and assists the body in getting rid of toxic nitrogen (a byproduct of protein metabolism) by converting it into urea. The liver is the largest internal organ, making up about 2.5 percent of a person’s total weight.
The liver is the first of the body’s organ systems to receive the nutrients from the food we eat, it is clearly dependent upon the efficiency of digestion and assimilation in the gastrointestinal system and the quality of the foods we eat. If we eat processed, refined foods, sugars and too many chemicals (food additives, drugs, artificial sweeteners, dyes, antioxidants), we can hinder and even interfere with the liver’s ability to perform its myriad chemical functions.
A closer look at the critical role that diet and nutrition play in some of the more important liver functions will deepen our appreciation for this remarkable organ. Despite its strength, versatility and durability, the liver, like the filters in your car, can easily become sluggish and inefficient. The ever-increasing demands put upon it by the toxins and poisons in our environment can cause it to become choked and clogged with harmful substances. The net result may be an outbreak of almost any kind of bodily problem. If you are feeling fatigued, cranky, or nervous and get frequent headaches, this could be your liver’s way of informing you that it needs to be cleansed.
The prime biological function of the liver is its manufacture and production of bile. Bile secreted by the liver is stored in the gallbladder, where it waits for the liver’s next command to be released into the first part of the small intestine, the duodenum. The passage of food through the acid- laden stomach stimulates the liver to summon the gallbladder to release the necessary bile.
A deficiency in hydrochloric acid will result in the stomach releasing food that is too alkaline. The resultant lack of bile and systemic alkalinity can cause deficiencies of fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins and amino acids.
Bile emulsifies the fats as they begin their journey through the small intestine and at the same time stimulates the pancreas to release enzymes, namely steapsin. Steapsin separates glycerol from the fatty acids. Glycerol and the fatty acids are absorbed through the intestinal villi at a different time sequence and recombine to continue toward their primary destination — the liver. When they arrive, the liver proceeds to inspect, process, and structurally change them through the process of. transmethylation. In this process, the fats unite with phosphorous to form phospholipids. The phospholipids then proceed on their final ride through the bloodstream to their ultimate destination, the cell.
Transmethylation is a complex biochemical process that describes the transfer of specific lipotropic nutrients into compounds that the body can use for energy. Even though this process is extremely complex, it is important that you understand the role that nutrition plays in allowing these biochemical reactions to take place. Choline, betaine, and methionine (collectively known as lipotropic factors) are required for the liver to manufacture these energy-producing compounds. Just a deficiency of the essential amino acid methionine can suppress and halt the liver’s manufacture of more than 50 methylated energy producing compounds.
The transport of fatty acids from the liver to their ultimate destination depends upon the availability of lipotropic nutrients in sufficient quantities. Choline is the only lipotropic nutrient the liver can get along without because it has the ability to manufacture choline from betaine, which is found in high concentrations in fresh fruits and vegetables. Betaine plays a pivotal role in the body’s metabolic processes.
Carnitine derived from the process of transmethylation, transports the fatty adds to the mitochondria of the cells for oxidation and energy production. Many enzymes produced by the liver are dependent upon the presence of organic nutrients in the body. These enzymes produced by the liver act as catalysts that enable organic substances to rapidly change their structural makeup. Enzymes are indispensable in helping the liver transform the fats into easily transported products. During the oxidation process, each step-by-step conversion depends on the other. If one enzyme or nutrient is missing, the function of the entire chain reaction is impaired. When this chain reaction stops anywhere along the line of biochemical events, the result is an excess buildup of one or more byproducts, or more precisely, biochemical imbalances. Successful oxidation depends upon having sufficient nutrients present at all stages of the metabolic process.
The liver makes decisions regarding the future of amino acids which are derived from protein in the digestive process. As the amino acids enter the liver through the portal vein, the liver rearranges them into new and usable protein. The liver must decide how many to store in order to make hormones, enzymes, coenzymes and how much should be returned to the blood for distribution to the various cells and tissues that need to be rebuilt and repaired. Poor protein digestion due to a deficiency of betaine arid/or hydrochloric acid and consumption of poor quality proteins can impair the livers function and ability to disperse the full and complete quantity of amino adds necessary for the life and efficiency of the cells.
The liver serves as the major nutrient-distributing center of the whole body. The digestive process breaks down the food into nutrients that are assimilated. These nutrients enter the bloodstream and go directly to the liver so that they can be properly used or stored.
The liver stores proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. Glucose the end product of carbohydrate metabolism, goes through the liver, where it is either released into the bloodstream for energy or stored in the form of glycogen. When glycogen formation, storage, and release are inhibited by liver malfunction, the result is often fatigue and obesity. Another danger of insufficient glycogen is that the body accumulates too much glucose. The excess glucose in turn overstimulates the pancreas, inviting diabetes.
The body’s most powerful detoxifying organ, the liver, can break down a variety of toxic chemicals, rendering them harmless. With the increase in toxic chemicals in our food, air, and water; the liver can become fatigued and congested. The resultant polluted blood is relayed hungry cells. As this polluted blood circulates throughout the body metabolites and contaminants are able to enter the nervous system, causing interference with the brain and central nervous system function. This can create a feeling of apathy, lethargy, and often depression. The toxic and unhealthy liver can no longer efficiently dispense nutrients to various body parts. This causes further health problems.
A healthy, well-functioning liver is the cornerstone of a healthy body machine. Cleansing and detoxifying the liver by eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains raw seeds and nuts, high quality proteins and by eliminating food additives, preservatives, all processed and refined foods, alcohol, caffeine and tobacco can result in dramatic improvements in liver function
The safest way to detoxify is by drinking plenty of fresh organic carrot juice or other vegetable juice from organic produce. The pesticide content of non-organic raw juices may be too much for a weak liver to handle. Freshly squeezed lemon in large glass of pure spring water is an excellent way to flush the liver of its toxins.
All detoxification programs often make people feel worse before they feel better. Feeling worse is simply a sign that poisons are being dislodged from the liver and are traveling throughout your body before they are excreted. Exercise plenty of sunshine and fresh air, and frequent hot baths all speed up the detoxification process.
With the body relying on liver health, it is important that you do what you can to keep it strong. There are certain herbs and supplements that are known to provide essential antioxidants and other nutrients that support liver health such as Milk Thistle Combination, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Choline and SAM-e. Try our liver health supplements today to help ensure the strength of your hepatic portal system.
The liver has the remarkable power of regeneration. All we have to do is provide the necessary ingredient: and decrease the amount of toxins it has to deal with on a daily basis, In return for following these guidelines it will reward us with a longer healthier and more energetic life.
The American Liver Foundation recommends eating foods from all food groups (grains, protein, dairy, fruits, vegetables, and fats) and foods that have a lot of fiber while avoiding toxins from cleaning and aerosol products, insecticides, chemicals and additives in cigarettes’
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For more information Contact:
Karen Olerich, Herb Specialist
Phone: (719) 495-4930