How well do you know your liver?

Image: How well do you know your liver?

True or False? The liver is your largest internal organ.

If you answered True you are right! If you answered False you, along with many people world wide, might not know your liver as well as you thought.

If your liver was a person he/she would probably be one of the best multi-taskers you know. On a daily basis our livers perform a number of various functions, which include:

  • neutralizing toxins
  • making and secreting bile to help your body absorb fats and fat soluble vitamins
  • controlling blood sugar
  • manufacturing proteins and hormones

These are only a few of the 500 different functions that your liver performs in order to keep you in good health!

Alongside being an excellent multi-tasker, your liver would also be that supportive friend who keeps you energized. When you're running, do you ever stop to think that your liver is playing a key role in your ability to perform that function? Probably not, but without your liver you would not be able to break down carbohydrates into glucose or glycogen. When you're performing any physical activity your body relies on the liver to release glucose into the bloodstream to fuel your muscles. Without your liver providing that support, you wouldn't be able to do many of the activities you do today without feeling extreme fatigue or muscle weakness.

Pop quiz: Name the organ in your body that can regenerate itself?

You guessed it! The liver is the only organ in our body that can regenerate itself, meaning that if a person were to donate a part of their liver to another, their liver would eventually grow back to original size. Now that's what we call impressive resume skills!

It's a shame that the liver is often the butt of a number jokes because an unhealthy liver is nothing to laugh about. If your liver is in bad shape it can often cause a variety of health problems which include:

  • Headaches
  • Dark urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Mental confusion
  • Exhaustion and fatigue
  • Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin
  • Impaired libido

So stand up for your liver and check out this great information flyer from the Canadian Liver Foundation that will give you the straight truth behind all those liver jokes and help you get to know your liver better!

SHC Weekly Liver Challenge:

The first call to action for CLF's March For Change campaign asks for all Canadians to change their perceptions about the liver and liver disease. You've taken the first step by reading this blog but SHC wants you to take it one step further and help change someone else's perception of the liver.

We challenge you to share this article with two other people this week. Tweet it, Facebook it, Email it..just share it!