The liver is one of the vital organs in our body, as well as the largest organ in our body. The color is brown and weighs approximately 1.5 kg. The location of the liver is in the upper right abdominal cavity, just below the right rib cage. The liver consists of 2 parts, namely the right and left. The right part of the liver is six times larger than the left lobe, which is hidden partially below the right rib cage. If there is interference with the liver, sometimes there is pain in that area.
Why is the liver one of the most important organs in the body?
The liver has more than 100 important functions in regulating body balance. The ability of the liver to multitask makes the liver one of the busiest organs in the body, in addition to the brain, liver and kidneys. The liver is a defense of life and plays a role in almost every function of the body’s metabolism. The liver has a large reserve capacity and tissue functions to maintain the body. It also has an amazing regeneration ability.
Busyness in carrying out its duties is carried out by liver cells called hepatocytes. Through these millions of hepatocytes, the liver does its job well. Well, what are the tasks of the busy liver? Let’s follow the following explanation. By knowing the task of the liver, we can take good care of it.
4 main functions of the liver
As a body protector and ‘detoxification’ engine
The liver has a protective function. In this organ, various types of poisons, remnants of drugs, alcohol, and harmful substances produced by the body are converted into neutral substances, so that it becomes an element that can be accepted by other organs. The liver will change wastes and toxins to be secreted in bile and urine, cleanse the blood before the toxins reach sensitive body organs, such as brain function. These various substances will be released through the kidneys and intestines. This is called detoxification.
In addition, many types of drugs must be digested in the liver before it can function perfectly before overcoming various bodily problems. Therefore, before giving certain medications, doctors will usually assess a person’s liver function first.
As a multipurpose factory
The liver becomes the ultimate goal of the life of red blood cells. Red blood cells (erythrocytes) that are 120 days old must go to the liver to merge because they can no longer function properly. The liver will break down old red blood cells and change the hemoglobin that carries oxygen in the red blood cells into raw materials for bile. The liver produces about 1 liter of bile per day, the amount will be distributed into the gallbladder for further use. If needed, this bile will be excreted through the intestine to help emulsify fat and absorb vitamins needed from food.
In addition, the liver also functions in protein metabolism. As we know, 22 kinds of amino acids are used in the body as basic ingredients for body shape development. Some of these amino acids cannot be made in the body so they must be obtained from food. Other amino acids can be converted from one form to another with the help of special enzymes in body cells, especially enzymes in liver cells.
As a body “traffic regulator”
Food substances absorbed from the small intestine will go to the liver as a “pool center”. The liver has the ability to produce, store and distribute sugar (glucose) to all parts of the body. In the liver, glucose is stored as glycogen. Liver glycogen is only released according to tissue usage.
The liver also monitors the cholesterol level in the blood, processes it, and produces it as much as needed. Making cholesterol from acetic acid is done in the liver. Likewise with plasma lipoproteins, vehicles that transport triglycerides are also made in the liver.
As a processor for vitamins and body immunity
The liver has a function in the processing of vitamins, especially vitamin D. The process of activating vitamin D is carried out by the liver along with the kidneys. The liver also has cells that act as the central immune system called Kuppffer Cells. Kupffer cells cover 15% of the liver mass and 80% of the total immune cell population. These cells are very important in dealing with bacterial, viral, and other damage that comes from outside the body. This is important in fighting infection.
5 ways to maintain a healthy liver
There are many simple ways you can take care of our livers. We certainly do not want the function of the liver that so much it can be chaotic, if our livers experience interference. Moreover, many liver diseases that we can prevent with easy steps. What can be done? Here are the steps
Hepatitis, a type of liver inflammation, can be prevented by early immunization. For example, hepatitis B immunization given since the baby is born and carried out in several stages. Likewise, hepatitis A vaccine that works to prevent us from contracting the disease. Take your baby and child to a doctor or local health facility such as Posyandu to get vaccinations regularly.
2. Drink lots of water
Water is one important part that influences the function of our bodies. Water helps eliminate toxins and absorbs important nutrients. Drinking the required amount of water can also help to eliminate side effects during treatment or therapy. But it should also be noted, if you already have cirrhosis, which is the liver that has contracted, fluid reduction needs to be done so that your body contains too much fluid.
3. Eat nutritious foods
Food management, both in the right type and amount, can help the liver to regulate metabolic traffic properly. In addition, we also help ease the work of the liver. Fatty liver occurs because we do not regulate the amount of fat and carbohydrates we eat.
4. Avoid alcohol
Alcohol can cause liver contraction or cirrhosis. In the long run, alcohol can also cause liver cancer. Therefore, avoid alcohol consumption for the health of our livers.
5. Be careful when taking drugs
As discussed above, the liver functions to change drug substances to be active or neutral. Many over-the-counter medicines, such as cold medicines, cough medicines and body supplements, can be toxic to the liver if consumed in excess and without clear rules. If we are not careful in choosing drugs or supplements, it will aggravate the work of the liver. Therefore, always consult with your doctor before starting therapy or taking certain supplements.