Did you know that according to the Mayo Clinic, your liver is about the size of a football?
Your liver is your body’s largest internal organ and has a big job to do. Everything that enters your body is processed by the liver. It’s responsible for filtering out what your body doesn’t need, activating enzymes, and producing bile. And that’s just the shortlist!
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Primary functions of the liver
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, these are the primary jobs of the liver:
- Producing bile: Bile turns fats into energy for your body to use. Bile is also needed for digestion.
- Producing albumin: Albumin is a protein that helps carry fatty acids and other substances throughout your body.
- Processing bilirubin: Bilirubin build-up is what leads to jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). This substance is found in bile.
- Waste removal: Your liver removes waste from your body, including waste from alcohol and medicine.
- Immune response: When your immune cells get ready to respond to foreign substances, specific cells in the liver help your body get rid of them.
- Blood sugar support: Your liver helps remove and supply glucose to the bloodstream as necessary.
Your liver has other jobs, and it can be impacted by other systems of health. This is just one reason liver health is so important, even though you might not think about it very often.
Surprising facts about your liver
The UPMC Center for Liver Diseases states that your liver holds up to 10% of blood volume at once. That’s only one amazing feat of the liver! Other surprising liver facts include:
- 5.5 million Americans live with chronic liver disease and up to 30% of adults live with fatty liver disease, according to the American Liver Foundation
- The liver is larger than your brain
- The liver can regenerate itself with new cells, according to the University of Iowa
- The liver serves as a storage unit for important vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin A and iron
- The average liver weighs three pounds
Milk Thistle: A Supportive Herb for Liver Health
5 liver health supplements
There are several supplements that support liver health.*
Milk thistle: Most people think of milk thistle when they think of liver health. Silymarin is the beneficial active component of the plant that is extracted from milk thistle seeds. Silymarin supports the structure of the outer cell membrane of liver cells to support liver health.** Milk thistle also has antioxidant properties that support overall wellness.**
TUDCA: It’s short for “tauroursodeoxycholic acid” – how’s that for a tongue twister? TUDCA is a next-generation liver supplement that can support your overall health and wellness routine.**
TUDCA works through a different mechanism than milk thistle, but can be used in combination with milk thistle or on its own for liver health.**
Furthermore, TUDCA is a bile acid. Bile is naturally produced from cholesterol. This assists with the absorption of dietary fats and fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin D, E and K. TUDCA is a beneficial hydrophilic bile acid that has been shown to support the liver and is found in our body in very small amounts.
Artichoke extract: Artichoke extract may help increase liver bile production, which assists the body with blood fat metabolism.**
LIV-A-NEW®: LIV-A-NEW® is an exclusive Puritan’s Pride formula that delivers five ingredients to the liver – milk thistle, trimethylglycine (TMG), n-acetylcysteine, alpha-lipoic acid, and dandelion – to support liver function.**
Dandelion root: Dandelion is an important component of LIV-A-NEW®. It is traditionally used to support fluid balance.**
Your liver is your body’s primary filtration system, letting go of what you don’t need, cleansing your blood, and processing all nutrients. Standard healthy lifestyle choices also support your liver health, including drinking plenty of water and eating a nutritious diet. However, there are some extra steps you can take, such as avoiding excess alcohol and managing a healthy weight. The best thing you can do for your liver is to stay on top of your health and wellness to keep it healthy every day.