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The liver is one of the most important organs in the body because it plays an essential role in metabolism. Functions of the liver are key to getting rid of poisons and to deliver energy to peripheral tissues, such as to the Central Nervous System, Red Blood Cells, Muscle and adipose tissue.
When the body is in the fed state with adequate amount of nutrients obtained from diet, the liver takes up glucose and feeds it to peripheral tissues for energy. However, when the body is in the starvation state, it breaks down amino acids, fats and its glycogen store to release glucose to peripheral tissues.
The liver makes fat.
Many people may think that adipose tissues make fat but the liver actually produces fats and sends them to storage in adipose tissues when it is present in excess.
The liver produces bile, which helps with fat absorption in the intestines.
Bile plays a role in recycling fat-soluble vitamins when the body is deficient and it also rids the body of cholesterol by binding to it and excreting it through the feces.
The liver has different mechanisms of processing nutrients from the diet depending on the state of the body.
There are several conditions where liver functions are compromised.
A defective liver has serious consequences, such as poor absorption of nutrients, inability to maintain stable blood sugar levels and compromised system to get rid of poisons. Chronic consumption of alcohol may cause alcohol hepatitis, which results in an inflamed liver. Chronic inflammation of the liver can ultimately lead to liver cirrhosis, which is the scarring of the liver. Frequent consumption of fructose from high-fructose syrup and sugar also lead to liver cirrhosis.
Symptoms of liver damage are vast, including abdominal bloating, weight gain, fat building up around the belly, hypocholesterolemia or hypercholesterolemia, formation of gall stones, decreased absorption of nutrients and heart disease. Since the liver produces glucose and ketone bodies as energy for the brain, a compromised liver will often be accompanied by neurological symptoms, such as poor concentration, a foggy brain and easy irritability.