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Understanding Your Liver Health

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

understanding your liver health

Story at-a-glance -

  • Your liver weighs about 3 pounds, filters all of your blood each day, and when healthy is the only organ capable of regenerating; the liver performs nearly 500 functions, including regulating your cholesterol levels
  • Three primary liver enzymes, AST, ALT and GGT, offer insight in the health of your liver; GGT is correlated with iron toxicity, increased disease risk and overall mortality, and has become a central factor in the life insurance underwriting process
  • While iron is necessary for biological functioning, overload significantly damages your liver and may lead to heart disease, diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases
  • Strategies to normalize your liver function include reducing your carbohydrate intake, balancing your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, exercising, avoiding medications metabolized in the liver and optimizing your gut microbiome

Your liver weighs about 3 pounds and is located on the right side of your abdomen. Reddish brown in color, it's rubbery to the touch and protected by your rib cage. Your liver is the largest solid organ and one of the largest glands in your body, carrying out over 500 essential tasks to maintain optimal health.

One of the main jobs of the organ is to process and purify blood coming from the hepatic artery and the hepatic portal vein. The liver has two main lobes, each of which have eight segments. Each segment is made up of approximately 1,000 lobules connected by small ducts that eventually come together to form the common hepatic duct.

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