Dr. Suresh Kumar Singhvi, Contact : +91-9560703966

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi 110060. OPD - F90 : .

Know Your Liver

Where is it situated in the body?

  • Liver is situated in the abdomen.

  • Liver sits in the upper part of the abdomen, tucked away under the right side of the rib cage.

  • Above it is the heartand the right lung.

  • Liver is separated from heart and right lung by a thin sheet of muscle called the diaphragm

What is liver?

  • The liver is one of the most amazing organs in your body.
  • The liver is the only organ in the body that has the ability to regenerate itself by creating new tissue.
  • It is the largest internal organ in the body.
  • The liver is a large reddish brown solid organ.
  • The size of the liver is probably four to five times the size of your fist, weighing in at around 1.25-1.5 kilograms.
  • The liver has two halves or lobes, the right lobe and the left lobe.
  • The right lobe is larger than the left ; roughly the right lobe is 60-65% of the liver.
  • Blood flows into the liver through two large blood vessels.
    • The blood vessels are the hepatic artery and the portal veins.
    • The hepatic artery brings blood rich in oxygen, pumped out from the heart.
    • The portal vein which brings blood flowing out of the gut, rich in absorbed food material.
  • Blood flows out of the top of the liver through three large veins called the hepatic veins, into a big vein called the inferior vena cava or IVC that goes to the heart.
  • Below the liver, where the hepatic artery and the portal vein come in, the bile duct comes out of the liver.
  • The bile duct is a thin tube the size of a drinking straw.
  • The liver cells produces bile.
  • The Bile made in the liver flows out through this bile duct and goes down to the gut, where it mixes with food.

The gall bladder is a small greenish pear-shaped bag that hangs off the bile duct. It stores bile and squeezes it out into the gut at mealtime.

What the liver does for our body?

  • Clears the blood of waste products, hormones, drugs and other toxins.
  • Breaks down hormones and old blood cells.
  • Makes, stores and releases sugars and fats.
  • Produces essential proteins.
  • Produces blood clotting factors and enzymes.
  • Aids digestion by releasing bile salts to break down food.
  • Stores and supplies vitamins, minerals and iron to parts of the body where they are needed.

Care for your liver health

Diet and Liver

The liver is our own unique filtering system.

The liver has many important functions that keeps a person healthy.

It removes harmful material from the bloodstream and helps digest food.

Whatever food we eat, every sip we drink and any type of medication or substance we take goes to the stomach and then go to the liver.

The liver converts nutrients from the food we eat into essential blood components, storing vitamins and minerals and producing proteins and enzymes to maintain hormone balances in our body.

When we eat food, it is digested in the stomach and intestine (gut) in three main nutrients:

  • carbohydrates
  • fat
  • protein

These nutrients are then absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to the liver.

The nutrients are either stored or changed in such a way in the liver that body can use them as needed.

The liver also work for detoxifying harmful substances, processing nutrients and storing sugar so that energy levels stay balanced in the body.

The liver depends on significant nutritional support to work properly. So liver requires all of the nutrients that is well-balanced diet can supply.

The liver also works to filters out waste products from the blood. The liver has unique ability to detoxify substances which may be harmful to the body such as alcohol; chemicals used in pest control, which may be present on unwashed fruit and vegetables; medicines; other drugs, heavy metals, and some of the waste products produced in the body.

If the liver has problem and it does not function properly, then the liver may not be able to do these jobs as efficiently as it should. Results into built-up toxic substances in the body which compromise the health.

Liver problems can be inherited or can occur if body is infected by viruses or harmful chemicals.

When we overeat or eat processed or fried foods in excess, the liver has to overwork and it is overloaded. When the liver is taxed, it can’t process toxins and fat in an efficient way.

Helpful tips to keep liver healthy

Healthy diet

A nutritious diet will help keep liver functioning well.

Eat a healthy diet like
  • Vegetables and fruits such as cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, onions and cabbage, Garlic, Grapefruit, Beets and Carrots, Lemons & Limes, Leafy Green Vegetables, Avocados, Apples, Walnuts, Turmeric, ginger, grapefruit, mango and papaya.
  • Regular intake of high fiber foods.
  • Limit animal protein by eating small portions.
  • Use of olive oil, green tea.
  • Limit fatty food intake.

Lifestyle adjustments:

  • Aside from consuming a healthy diet to protect our liver one should eliminate bad habits like smoking, drinking too much alcohol and using recreational drugs that contain more harmful substances than a bad diet can have.

Don’t drink a lot of alcohol. It can damage liver cells and lead to the swelling or scarring that becomes cirrhosis of liver.

  • Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise is especially important in maintaining an ideal weight for your age, gender and body type. People who are overweight or obese, run a higher risk of developing a fatty liver which can lead to fatty liver disease.

With exercise you’ll keep your weight under control, which helps prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) , a condition that leads to cirrhosis.

To keep your liver healthy watch out for consuming certain medicines:
  • Drugs can cause liver disease in several ways. Some drugs are directly injurious to the liver; others are converted by the liver into chemicals that can cause injury to the liver.
  • Common drugs like medicines to lower cholesterol, excessive intake of painkiller like acetaminophen (Tylenol) etc can be harmful to the liver.
  • To protect liver one should take medicines with caution.
  • Take medication in medical supervision.
  • Doctor should be consulted to take medications. The self-medication practice should be avoided completely.