Where Is Your Liver and What Does It Do : Liver 101

Where Is Your Liver

 Liver is a vital organ to live ALIVE and there is no alternative to live Life to its fullest without a liver.

 Rendezvous with the Liver Facts

  • Liver is the second largest organ in the body, heaviest internal gland, weighing 3.5 pounds
  • It performs both exocrine and endocrine functions
  • 1500 ml of blood flows through it in just a minute
  • It secrets bile that contains bile acids helping in intestinal absorption of fats, fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K) and digestion
  • It hold just 1- pint or 13 percent of blood supply at any given moment


In the ancient times, it was regarded as the seat of inner emotions and repository of life.

Maroon and boasts of a shape like that of a boomerang (cone-shaped), liver is the 2nd largest gland in the body (skin always steals its splendor). It is an uber- important organ because it serves as the border   inspection station of your body. Virtually every food item we consume, whether or not it has a valid passport, have to pass via the liver so it can be converted into a different biochemical form. This conversion is what facilitates the nutrients present in the food item to be utilized, transported to different places in the body or amassed as an extra inch of blubbery slop on your thighs.


Where is your liver located?

Liver Anatomy

Structurally speaking, here is whale all you must know about this gland. It is located below the right ribcage in the upper side of the abdomen, just above the small intestines and pancreas. Want to feel it? To feel it lie on your back, this will aid in relaxing your abdominal muscles and in turn make it easier to find out the liver. Move your fingers from your sternum, down along your upper right ribcage. The liver is partially hidden by your ribs, you may however, be able to feel a minor budge, depending on the composition of your body.

It has 2-large sections called – the left and right lobes; each made of 1000s of lobules. The lobules are connected to small ducts, which connect with larger ducts to eventually create the hepatic duct. Hepatic duct further transports the bile (greenish fluid that aids in breaking down fats and eliminates wastes in body) secreted by the liver cells to the duodenum and gallbladder.  Additionally, it utilizes bile to ward off bilirubin from the blood.  “Biliru” what, you said? Bilirubin is a substance, which come from the breaking of hemoglobin in dead red blood cells. Bilirubin increased content results in jaundice – yellowing of skin and all mucous membranes, which includes the eyeballs where the yellowing is detected earliest and easily – a red flag of several liver diseases.

Liver does 3-major things – make proteins, help digest food and eliminate bad stuff. All the blood that comes to small intestines flows via the portal vein into the liver, thus all of the nutrients we consume have to pave through the gauntlet of the liver prior to passing to the heart for generalized distribution.


How large is the liver?

Where Is Your Liver
This gland weighs approx 3.5 pounds.  It measures around 6.5 inches vertically, 8-inches horizontally and is 4.5 inches thick.


Reasons to love your liver – A Multitasking Organ

Life Loves the Liver of It

  • Keeps us alive! Not just it helps your blood clot in case you cut or scrape yourself, you need it to function properly in order to live. The bottom line is if it dies, you die.
  • Detoxifies the blood to free it of harmful substances like drugs and alcohol
  • Converts ammonia to urea, which is necessary in metabolism
  • Regulates blood sugar and hormones in the body
  • Makes use of cholesterol in the blood
  • Destroys old red blood cells
  • Create and secret bile that consists of bile acids to help in the intestinal absorption of fast and fat-soluble vitamins
  • Synthesize, process (metabolize) and store fats, including cholesterol and fatty acids
  • The liver that synthesizes proteins and stores iron, glucose and Vitamin B12, aids in getting nutrients to your body through processing all foods – proteins, fats and carbohydrates – that can be utilized throughout your body
  • It also serves as the first source of glucose when you rush to the burger stand in lunch time, since the sugar in your blood offers only 10- minutes of energy. It then does dual duty to break the nitrates from the burger in the detox function. This is the reason you do not burn fats instantly when you begin exercising, since your body is utilizing the fuel stored as glucose in the liver
  • Fights off diseases, infections and virus by metabolizing antibiotics


Liver Disorders

Where Is Your Liver
Some of liver disorders include:

  • Cirrhosis – It has many causes, however the most common is hepatitis C infection for a long time (20-30 years) or excessive alcohol consumption. The cells of the gland are progressively replaced by scar tissue that gravely harms the functioning of the liver.
  • Cancer Akin to other body organs, liver can get cancer. Liver cancer is a disorder, wherein some of the liver cells start to reproduce swifter that they should. They can lead to tumors, which are usually diagnosed by taking images of the liver through ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging or CT scan. Having Hepatitis B or C can elevate the chances of getting liver cancer, called hepatocellular carcinoma.
  • Fatty Liver – It occurs when fats amass inside the liver cells, causing steatosis (cell enlargement) and sometimes steatohepatitis (cell damage) and can eventually lead to Cirrhosis. It is perhaps the most common in the United States. Similar symptoms are also seen in people, who do not consume alcohol but are obese, have high levels of cholesterol or suffer from diabetes. The liver becomes bloated, causing immense discomfort on the upper side of the abdomen.
  • Galactosaemia – The body reaction to specific sugars harms the liver and other organs in the body. This is a rare inherited disease.
  • Hepatitis – A term means swelling or inflammation of the liver. It is also used to refer the infections in the liver caused by specific viruses like hepatitis A-E. Alcohol. Medications and even some genetic disorders can cause inflammation.
  • Wilson’s disease – The liver cannot excrete copper. Several organs of the body, including the brain and liver are gravely affected by the excessive copper levels.


Alcoholic liver diseases

Where Is Your Liver
(I wish I could exchange my heart for one more liver, and then I could drink more and care less)

People get alcoholic liver disorder by drinking large amounts of alcohol for many years. It does not matter whether the alcohol comes from beer, wine or hard liquor. Any kind of alcohol can cause liver damage.

So how much alcohol is too much? It basically depends on whether you are a man or woman. Studies have revealed that women can have liver disease at lower levels of alcohol consumption as opposed to man.

  • For women: 4 –or more units of alcohol daily for at least a year
  • For men: 6 – or more units of alcohol daily for at least a year

The good news is that livers of heavy alcohol drinkers can improve if they completely stop drinking.


Red Flags

  • Dark urine
  • Vomiting, nausea or fever
  • Anemia, passing black stool or vomiting blood
  • General malaise
  • Changes in the mental state – confusion, drowsiness and altered sleep pattern (awake during nights)
  • Enlarged abdomen or swollen ankles
  • Diarrhea or Jaundice



  • Hepatitis virus infections
  • Conditions leading to bile duct or liver cells damage
  • Alcohol-related liver diseases
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disorders
  • Toxic effect of medications
  • Inherited or congenital abnormalities of the liver – accumulation of copper and iron in the body or some rare enzyme disorders



Physical examination – the liver may be enlarged

Ultrasound scans of the abdomen – 3-dimensional X-ray utilizing sound waves. This is utilized to look at the liver and other gland, including checking their shape and size, assessing fluid accumulation and check for abnormal lumps.

Biopsy – The most accurate method to diagnose the type of liver disorder is biopsy. This procedure involves removing a very thin piece of liver tissue and then examining it under the microscope in a lab

Blood tests – to assess the levels of liver enzymes (AST, ALT & alkaline phosphate enzymes) and jaundice and to check the production ability of the gland


Reversing Liver Damage

Treatments for the Liver

  • Rest
  • Surgery, radiotherapy, liver transplantation and chemotherapy are common treatments for liver cancer
  • Medications like antiviral drugs to treat viral infections
  • Avoiding alcohol or any drugs that may deteriorated the health of the liver
  • A well-balanced, nutritious diet
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Do not have unsafe sex
  • Get vaccinations against hepatitis A and B recommended by CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
  • If you have diabetes, control your blood sugar levels
  • Do not share toothbrushes or razors
  • Keep body fats and cholesterol within the recommended range


Liver Transplants Should be the Last Resort

Transplants are considered by the doctors only when a patient might die of liver disorder within next 1-3 years. This is usually a case when a person suffers from liver cancer, some severe liver disease or liver has stopped functioning properly. Being considered for transplant does not at all means that the patient is in danger of dying right away.

A transplant replaces a liver with tumor with a healthy one from someone else (donor). The liver for transplant is matched for the body, blood type and size. Transplantation is a long process, which involves a lot of medical care. After the transplant, patient needs lifelong medications in order to keep the body from rejecting the new liver and a lifetime follow-up care from a specialist. Survival rates after the transplantation are higher than 90% and patients usually lead a good quality life after their recovery.


Pamper Your Liver, Naturally

Where Is Your Liver

Drink Water and Surprise Your Liver Today (Bid Adieu to Alcohol)

Incorporate the below mentioned 4- liver detox foods into your daily diet to keep it healthy and strong.

  • Garlic activates liver enzymes to succor flush out poisons and toxins. In addition, it contains selenium and allicin to help liver cleansing. Swallow it like a pill or eat it in your food
  • Your liver’s BFF. Turmeric helps improve detox via assisting enzymes, which actively ward off known dietary carcinogens
  • Acquiring its name from the milky sap of its leaves, Milk Thistle’s active constituent, silymarin stimulates protein synthesis via changing the external layers of gland’s cell that blocks toxins and wipes them from the body
  • Superlatively high in chlorophyll, leafy greens throws toxins out of the body. One of the most robust natural cleansers; eat them raw, lightly cooked or in juice form


Other interesting things about the liver

  • This gland has an extraordinary ability to reproduce or regenerate itself. For instance, after the damage it soon regenerates in an effort to restore its functions.
  • Cut out a part of this gland and it will grow back (like a tail of lizard) quickly
  • When a person donates a part of his liver for transplantation, much of the part removed grows back soon

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