The Amazing Functions Of Your Liver
From the video series “All About The Liver”
PART 2 (Duration 7:54 mins)
Hello, this is Dr Sandra Cabot. It’s great to be with you today, talking to you about the amazing functions of your liver. The hundreds of things your liver does 24/7 to keep you alive. Really, the liver is the organ that cleanses your body and it is the filter and cleanser of your bloodstream. So, a vital function.
If we look at the liver under a microscope, we can see rows of liver cells. Liver cells are called hepatocytes and these rows of liver cells look like the branches of a tree. And you’ll see the rows of liver cells are separated by red spaces called sinusoids. And these spaces are very important because the blood flows through these spaces and on its way gets cleansed by the liver cells. So, you can just imagine the blood flowing through these sinusoid spaces and the liver cells removing the toxic chemicals from the bloodstream. So, the liver is removing unhealthy cells, dead cells, chemicals, etc. And they’re going inside the liver cells and being broken down so they can no longer harm you.
Now, hepatocytes or liver cells are very interesting. They’re very specialized and like all cells, they have a nucleus and they have these tiny bile canals in their membranes. And the hepatocytes manufacture the bile and secrete it into these tiny canals which connect up like the branches of a tree into a trunk. And the bile is carried to the gallbladder and stored there, ready for when you need it, when you have your next meal.
Inside this hepatocyte, there’s a lot happening. It’s breaking down toxic chemicals and really performing so many functions, such as manufacturing proteins and globulins, all sorts of things. It’s just mind boggling.
Now, inside the liver sinusoids we find these groovy little cells called Kupffer cells. And these are amazing. They’re like a little garbage disposal man and they literally eat up the rubbish in your bloodstream and destroy it, turning it into harmless waste products. So, for example, you just imagine an unhealthy cell or a cancer cell or a bacteria or a virus floating through your bloodstream and this little Pacman or Kupffer cell grabs it and chews it up. Probably quite tasty when it comes to Kupffer cells appetite and turns it into harmless substances. So, you definitely need plenty of Kupffer cells in your liver and you definitely need plenty of healthy hepatocytes to be breaking down these toxins.
So, some of the toxins that the liver cells break down include insecticides, pesticides, plastic breakdown products, and we all know the world is full of plastic now, unfortunately. Heavy metals, pollutants, solvents, bacterial toxins, food additives, medications, drugs and alcohol. So many, many nasty things are broken down inside the liver cells. And the liver cells turn these toxins from fat soluble substances into water soluble substances, so they can dissolve in watery fluids like the urine, the bile, the sweat and the saliva. And once they’re turned into water soluble substances, they can then be eliminated from your body. But unless your liver turns them into water soluble substances, they stay stuck in the fatty parts of your body and can cause disease, as well as cause weight gain.
So, the liver breaks down the toxins and then they’re eliminated through the urine, the bile, the sweat and the saliva, which are water soluble fluids. So, it all depends on the liver and it’s only the liver cells that can do this. So, you need an adequate number of healthy liver cells to detoxify your body.
The liver also removes ammonia from your bloodstream. Now, ammonia is very toxic and if not rapidly removed from the bloodstream, will result in damage to the brain. And we see this in people with end stage liver disease, such as cirrhosis, where their level of ammonia builds up very, very high and they develop a type of delirium, which is severe confusion.
Now, even mild degrees of elevated ammonia in the body can cause cognitive dysfunction. And we all know what that feels like when you’ve got a foggy brain and a poor memory. So, we really want to keep the ammonia levels down and we need a healthy liver to do that.
Now, during detoxification of your body from these toxic chemicals, the liver actually requires nutrients, such as B vitamins, sulfur-bearing amino acids, selenium and antioxidants. During the breakdown of these toxins, a lot of free radicals are generated. And if we don’t have enough of these antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and glutathione, we cannot neutralize these dangerous free radicals. We must neutralize them, otherwise they can attack our liver cells and cause liver disease.
There’s also a great liver protector called milk thistle. In some countries, it’s called St Mary’s thistle. It’s a powerful liver protector and it should be in all good liver tonics. So, some of the things you can take to help support better detoxification in your liver is a good liver tonic, such as Livertone Plus and this contains activated B vitamins, N-acetyl cysteine, selenium, antioxidants, folic acid, vitamin C and E, and selenium. Selenium is very, very important for the liver because it helps glutathione to work at a much higher level.
So, it’s very, very interesting, isn’t it? That inside of our liver cells there are these pathways where we break down these toxic chemicals. And our liver is very busy doing this 24/7. Thank goodness, because we do want to keep our body free of toxic chemicals as much as we can.