The organs found within the human body are responsible for unique individual tasks that we cannot neglect. Some organs have lost their function as we evolved and now provide minimal benefit, such as the appendix. Others are crucial to our survival, and we would die without them. More often than not, when people think of a vital organ, their mind goes to the brain, heart, or lungs above all else. While these organs are essential to our continued survival, other organs are just as important but not as well respected.
These unsung organs help preserve our bodies in several ways, and one of the most important organs is the liver. Despite its importance, few people consider the ramifications of losing their liver until there is already a problem.
The liver's function cannot be understated if we wish to continue leading a healthy life and, like all organs, must be maintained. While doctors are quick to guide on preserving cardiovascular or respiratory health, very few make recommendations about preserving the liver. Despite the lack of consideration for liver health, its importance is not diminished, and it is in your best interest to take care of the organ as best you can. Some lifestyle changes are certainly for some people, but many do not realize that we can employ certain exercises to improve the health of our liver.
What is the Liver?
You likely know what the liver is and might have some in-depth knowledge depending on your education in biology. However, knowing what an organ is and its function are very different. Our livers are a part of our abdominal cavity and share real estate with our stomach, spleen, and kidneys. Specifically, it is located beneath our diaphragm and above our stomach. This oddly shaped organ is extremely important for the health of our entire body because it helps maintain the purity of the one substance every part of our body needs. Blood. If the blood in our veins becomes diluted or saturated with harmful substances, the blood could poison our entire body as the tainted blood circulates.
The liver is responsible for filtering chemicals from the blood and converting it to bile for us to expel later. In layman's terms, the liver could be likened to a custodian for the blood, removing waste from the plasma and transporting it to a more resilient part of the body for disposal. Our liver also helps metabolize medications, so they take effect without poisoning us.
Some of the more well-known functions of the liver include:
- Production of proteins for the plasma in our blood.
- Production of cholesterol and special proteins that carry fat throughout the body.
- Conversion of excess glucose into glycogen, a substance that enables our bodies to store the excess and convert it back to glucose when we cannot consume more.
- Regulation of amino acid levels in the blood.
- Processing of hemoglobin and cultivation of its iron content.
- Regulation of blood clotting.
These are only a handful of the multiple functions our liver provides to ensure the health of our body. Without our livers, our circulatory system would pump toxic blood to every organ and limb in our system. Despite the lack of coverage for this organ, it is one of the most impressive feats of evolution, allowing animals and humans to maintain an organic purifier for blood. Unfortunately, the feats the liver is capable of do not make it invincible, and liver failure is a common issue in the modern world.
What Damages the Liver?
For all its benefits, the liver is not capable of surviving every toxin or strain it experiences. Several factors can adversely affect our liver's health, some of which result from our negligence. This is not to say you are inherently careless, but many activities and practices widely accepted in modern society play a role in damaging the human liver. Other causes of liver damage are things that cannot be controlled and usually extend beyond liver health. For example, one cause of liver damage is infection.
Certain viruses, infections, and parasites inhibit liver function and allow toxins to circulate in the body unimpeded. The number of viruses capable of impeding our livers is few, but those capable are extremely dangerous if left untreated. Other major causes of liver damage include:
- Autoimmune Disorders
- Genetic Disorders
The causes of liver damage all share the unfortunate trait of being out of our control. This makes prevention more difficult since autoimmune and genetic disorders are with us from an early stage of life, and cancer is not a curable disease. Despite the tragic nature of these sources of liver damage, other causes are preventable with lifestyle changes.
The most notable preventable source of liver damage is alcohol consumption. Typically, the liver works to filter the harmful compounds of alcohol from the body, so we do not suffer ill effects from consuming any. Unfortunately, our livers are not designed to filter such toxins regularly, and chronic alcohol consumption can overwhelm our livers.
The more surprising source of liver damage has nothing to do with genetics or toxins and has more to do with our physical stature. Obesity has been linked to liver damage due to the introduction of fatty acids that the liver cannot filter effectively. The accumulation of fat can overwhelm the liver in a similar manner to alcohol and lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is highly detrimental to your overall health. The more pressure there is on your liver to function, the less effective it becomes as it struggles to maintain its normal function while dealing with excess toxins.
Obesity and alcohol consumption are risk factors that we can control to minimize your chances of developing liver conditions. But there are other ways you can improve the health of your liver, so you do not have to be as concerned. The shocking thing is that something as simple as exercise can work wonders for the health of your liver.
How Exercise Can Improve Liver Health
Regardless of the health of your liver, exercise is always an excellent addition to your daily routine. You might be in better shape than most if you already have an established regimen. Unfortunately, the exercises capable of improving the health and function of your liver are fairly specific. Not all exercises are created equal; some forms offer more for certain body parts than others. Insofar as liver health is concerned, a few types of exercise can promote a healthier liver or enhance the conditions that allow the liver to fulfill its function. The first of which is yoga.
You have probably heard of yoga at least in passing before but perhaps have not tried it due to the exercise not aligning with your workout goals. While yoga is not necessarily the best form of exercise for everyone, it is an excellent tool for building core strength, flexibility, and muscle. Yoga can also strengthen our bones, which can be useful in preventing certain bone disorders like osteoporosis. However, the reason we mention yoga is because of the benefit it offers for the flow of blood in the body.
Several poses promote improved blood flow through the body, including the infamous Downward-Facing Dog pose, often cited in popular media. Some might not realize that improved blood flow works wonders for the liver's health. The more frequently blood circulates, the better chance your liver has of catching certain toxins it missed earlier and purging them before they present an issue.
While this might not solve the overarching cause of your liver's impeded function, enhancing the opportunities it has to fulfill its function can occasionally compensate for that. Improved circulation leads to improved hepatic microcirculation, which improves drug and toxin elimination.
Interestingly, yoga seems to have great potential in treating depreciated liver function. We realize that yoga might not be an exercise you can introduce to your routine, but this does not mean you are out of luck.
If yoga is not an option, introducing certain aerobic exercises can also aid liver health. Aerobic exercises might sound like complex additions if you are unfamiliar, but they include simple actions such as cycling or running. If you already have an established workout routine, you might already do some running or cycling as part of your regimen. Otherwise, it can be fairly simple to take an hour or two to go for a run or bike around the neighborhood.
The reason aerobic exercises are beneficial for liver health is less to do with circulation and more to do with oxygen. Aerobic exercises are among the best for increasing your heart rate and the amount of oxygen you inhale. The more oxygen you inhale, the more your liver can absorb and use to oxygenate and purify the blood. Blood oxygenation is a critical component of the human body, as low oxygen levels in the blood can lead to severe health conditions. Insofar as your liver is concerned, blood oxygenation ensures the blood circulating through the liver is healthier and less prone to retaining toxic chemicals or compounds.
Either yoga or aerobic exercise can be extremely beneficial for improving the health of your blood and liver. But it is important to pace yourself and not push too hard when beginning your regimen. One of the key symptoms of liver disease is fatigue, making a commitment to an exercise routine a little trickier than it would normally be. Ideally, you should consult your primary care physician to get a general idea of your physical limitations while your liver function is diminished. If you want to get started while you wait for your appointment, your best course of action is to follow the advice of Dr. Melissa Palmer.
Dr. Palmer's recommendation for a liver-boosting workout is to start by exercising 3 times a week for 30 to 45 minutes. That said, taking the advice of anyone unfamiliar with your physical health might counter your best interests. Your best course of action is to wait for your primary care physician to advise you on any limitations you might face. Fortunately, while you wait to begin your regimen, there are supplements you can use to bolster your liver and prepare for the exercises. The only challenge with supplementation is finding one you can trust.
Keep it All Natural!
As incredible as it is, the human liver has limitations like any organ. We are a highly resilient species but also fragile in ways that make proper care fundamental to our survival. While the liver is an unsung hero of human anatomy, we cannot deny its necessity. Without our livers, we would be unable to survive as our blood poisoned us with every beat of our hearts.
While you cannot avoid some causes of liver damage, others are well within the bounds of our control. A lifestyle change can go a long way in improving our health, even if it is a difficult adjustment to make. Fortunately, adding the exercises discussed here can be an effective starting measure for improving your liver's condition.
Despite this, you should adhere to the advice of your primary care physician. If your physician does not sign off on the exercises for whatever reason, you might be pressed to find an alternative to begin the recovery process. To that end, a supplement designed to improve liver health could serve as a viable alternative while your physician makes other considerations.
The trick to supplementation is finding a supplement that uses non-chemical ingredients and can be trusted. This is where we at Bella All Natural can assist with our specialized range of liver supplements. We offer liver support capsules, liquid, and tea designed to introduce natural compounds proven to improve circulation and the liver's health.
If your liver's health is compromised, finding a reliable tool to improve its current state is important. So, we invite you to visit our website and see if our supplements are the tool for you. Regardless of your decision, remember always to keep it All Natural!