The liver is the body's powerhouse. It's the second most important organ, after the heart, and has more than 500 known functions. A few of the most well known are as follows:
1) Circulation: Transfer of blood from portal to systemic circulation. The liver is responsible for storing and maintaining adequate flow of blood to the heart.
2) Excretion and Detoxification: Formation and secretion of bile (to the gallbladder) for digestion and cleansing of blood. The liver also excretes substances from the blood such as heavy metals, dyes and foreign substances.
3) Metabolism: Carbohydrate, protein, lipid (fat), mineral, and vitamin metabolism including manufacturing and storage of many nutrients such as glucose and vitamins. Also responsible for the production of heat through metabolism.
4) Regulation of Hormones: Inactivation and elimination of hormones through the bile or urine.
Weakening of the liver is a slow process as it is great at adapting but can only handle so much. In many cases, the only sign of liver weakness is poor digestion and low energy levels. Most people pass this off as something that happens with age and as a result, they do little or nothing until its too late. Fortunately, the liver has excellent regenerative powers! If we are able to understand the early signs of degeneration, then we have a great chance at restoring the liver.
Ways to support the liver naturally include avoiding fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, prescription drugs, as well as environmental toxins like household cleaners and beauty products. Foods to include in your diet would be green leafy vegetables, carrots, beets, and lemon water. A 3 day liver detox program of juice fasting (beet, carrot, radish, dandelion) is also a great way to support longevity of the liver.