The liver is a cone shaped dark reddish-brown organ which is located in the upper right-hand part of the abdominal cavity, underneath the diaphragm. It is nearly 3 pounds in weight which holds about 13% of the body’s blood supply. Two distinctive sources supply blood to the liver which include oxygenated blood from the hepatic artery and the nutrient-rich blood from the hepatic portal vein.
Once our liver breaks down toxic substances, it passes on the by-products to the bile or blood. Following this the bile by-products go to the intestine and are excreted out of the body in the form of faeces. On the other hand the blood by-products are sieved out by the kidney, and are excreted out of the body as urine.
The most important functions of the liver are –
- The live is involved in bile production, which takes away waste and breaks down fats in the small intestine at the time of digestion
- Production of certain proteins for blood plasma
- Production of cholesterol and certain proteins for carrying fats to all parts of the body
- Conversion of excess glucose to glycogen which can later be converted back to glucose for energy). It also maintains balance and makes glucose.
- Regulation of blood levels of amino acids, which are building blocks of proteins.
- Processing of hemoglobin to use its iron content.
- Conversion of toxic ammonia to urea which is the end product of protein metabolism and is excreted in the urine.
- Clearing out our blood of drugs and other toxic substances and regulates blood clotting.
- Resisting infections by strengthening immune factors and eliminating bacteria from blood.
- Moreover, it helps in clearing bilirubin from red blood cells, accumulation of bilirubin makes skin and eyes turn yellow.
Major causes of liver malfunction
- Bile duct obstruction
- Enlarged liver
- Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E
- Liver cancer
- Liver cyst
- Fatty liver
- Alcoholic/Autoimmune/Toxic hepatitis
Symptoms of liver malfunction
Liver malfunction can occur suddenly, known as acute, or it can happen gradually which is chronic. Commonly known causes of liver malfunction are reactions to medication, over doses of acetaminophen or paracetamol, hepatitis infection, alcohol addiction and advanced stage of fatty liver. Treatment options include medication, dietary and lifestyle changes or in case of severe damage a liver transplant.
- Colour of urine turns darker; this is because bilirubin gets mixed with urine.
- Colour of stool becomes lighter color or pale as stercobilin, the brown pigment, is absent in stool.
- Swelling or edema of ankles and feet due to the liver’s inability to make albumin.
- Dull abdominal pain and swelling
- Poor digestion after having fatty meals
- Bruising and easy bleeding. If the liver malfunctions, things helping in the coagulation of blood go missing, hence severe bleeding can occur.
- Constant fatigue
- Loss of appetite
10 Effective home remedies to boost liver function –
1. Garlic and onions
Garlic and onion contain Choline, a soluble compound, and Methionine, an amino acid present in proteins, which help in liver functions. While Choline averts fat deposits in the liver, Methionine flushes away fat-soluble toxins through urine. You can have them raw or regularly use them as an ingredient in your meals.
Radish is rich in sulphur-based chemicals and diastase, an enzyme which raises the flow of bile, assists the liver and supports digestion, particularly that of starches. You can prepare a solution with equal amounts of cucumber, radish and carrot juice and have it twice a day for better digestion and detoxification.
3. Fiber rich diet
Fibrous foods including vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, and fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, pears and berries, boost liver functions. Moreover, they also remove fatty toxins from our body. The fiber does this by binding to bile present in the large intestine and ensures proper digestion.
Also try to include legumes like beans, peas, lentils, pulses, and chickpeas in your diet and use extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, and olives. Fish, eggs and lean meats like skinless chicken and turkey, are good when taken in moderate quantities.
4. Pomegranate tea
Known as the super detox food for the liver, vitamin C, calcium and potassium rich Pomegranate tea is also a powerful antioxidant. Besides, pomegranate peel, leaves and flowers also have a soothing effect on our liver. You can boil fresh peel of pomegranate in two cups of water, bring it to half by boiling and sip like tea at night.
5. Honey and Lime
Drink hot water mixed with lime juice and honey first thing in the morning.
6. Avoid known liver irritants
Substances like alcohol, over-the-counter medications and certain vitamins and supplements can put pressure on our liver. Try to avoid alcohol and always talk to a doctor before buying over-the-counter medication, vitamins, or supplements.
7. Omega-3 supplement
Omega-3 supplements are known to reduce liver fat and improve cholesterol levels. Take your doctor’s opinion or speak to your consultant physician about how much of these you supplements should take.
8. Avoid food with added sugars
Dietary sugars such as fructose, maltose and sucrose result in fat build-up in our liver. Other sugars commonly added to food products are cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, corn sweetener, fruit juice concentrate, honey, molasses and syrup.
Avoid the following food items as much as possible –
- Cakes, cookies, doughnuts, pastries, and pies
- Soft / sports/ energy drinks
- Sugary cereals
- Sweets or other sweetened dairy products
- Ice cream
Liver Test Provided By Docgenie
- HEPATITIS E VIRUS (HEV) ANTI HEV IgM Test
- HEPATITIS C VIRUS (HCV) HCV – TOTAL ANTIBODY Test
- S.G.O.T. Test
- HEPATITIS A VIRUS (HAV) HAV-IgG ANTIBODY Test
- S.G.P.T. ALT Serum Test
- HEPATITIS A VIRUS (HAV) HAV-IgM ANTIBODY Test
- HEPATITIS C VIRUS (HCV) HCV-IGM ANTIBODY Test
- HEPATITIS B SURFACE ANTIGEN (HBsAg) Test
- Liver Function Tests
9. Some other food items
Foods like green tea, yogurt and turmeric help in detoxifying the liver and also help in digestion.
10. Lose excess weight
Losing body weight reduces fat build-up in the liver and helps improve symptoms like inflammation, fibrosis, and scarring. However, before starting any weight loss regime, talk to your doctor or go for an online medical consultation to decide on a right kind of weight-loss plan. You can consult the best doctors online as well. Also think of consulting a dietician for an eating plan to attain your weight loss goals.
DocGenie is an online telemedicine platform that provides you with quality healthcare from the comfort of your own space. On DocGenie, you can book an online consultation with highly-qualified doctors as well as book lab tests for home collection.