What Does Your Liver Do? How Your Body Really Gets Rid of Toxins

The liver is the only organ in your body that can regenerate itself. It performs hundreds of different functions on a daily basis — including “detoxing” your body of potentially harmful substances.

Why is it so devastating to the body as a whole when the liver stops functioning properly? Is it really the most important catalyst in the attempt to filter out toxins? Here’s everything you need to know about your liver — and how to take the best possibleĀ care of it.

Your liverĀ and metabolism

Alcoholic drinks

Alcoholic drinks | Bogdanhoda/Getty images

When you hear the word “metabolism,” you probably think about weight loss. But the actual metabolic process — especially in terms of your liver — describes how your body breaks down and synthesizes compounds to create and use energy from food.

Though it isn’t part of your digestive tract, the liver does produce and release a substance called bile. This is what breaks compounds such as proteins down so they can be used as energy.

When you eat carbs, the liver converts them into glucose (sugar) and either stores them or releases them into your blood.

The same goes for fat. Bile breaks it down to make it easier to digest so it can be converted into energy for your body’s daily functions.

How your liver filters out toxins

Your liver is really good at dealing with substances that don’t really serve a higher function in the body. When you drink alcohol or use a certain drug, for example, your liver will remove those compounds from your blood in an attempt to prevent harm.

This is why drinking too much alcohol or abusing illicit substances causes liver damage. When you force the liver to work in overdrive, it eventually fails to keep up.

But that’s not all your liver does to keep you safe from harm. It also plays a role in your body’s immune response. If a disease-causing organism attempts to enter your liver through your gut, it gets destroyed.

There’s a reason the health of your liver is largely dependent on your lifestyle behaviors. What you do and don’t put into your body makes a huge long-term difference.

How to keep your liver healthy

Weight scale

Weight scale | Source: iStock

You’re largely responsible for preventing the various kinds of damage your liver can suffer. Everything from practicing safe sex to avoiding too many of the wrong foods can determine the long-term health of this vital organ.

What you eat — and how much you consume — matters. Because your liver is responsible for metabolizing carbs, fats, and proteins, putting too many of them into your body can result in disease. Obesity, whether the result of high calorie intake, genetics, or a combination of factors, also increases your risk of developing liver health issues.

Non-medical drugs can cause toxin overload in your liver, which can lead to the organ’s failure. Mixing certain prescription medications, natural remedies, and alcohol also puts the health of your liver in serious danger.

And of course, monitoring your alcohol intake reduces your chances of damaging your liver. Experts recommend sticking with no more than one or two drinks per day.

Your liver performs essential daily tasks that keep you healthy throughout your life. Treat it well, and you’ll increase your chances of living longer and healthier.