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The liver, which weighs around 1.5 kilograms, is an important metabolic organ in the body. It has a wedge shape and sits on the right side in the upper abdomen. Around 2,000 liters of blood are pumped through the organ every day. The liver can store, utilize, convert or break down substances such as sugar, fat, protein building blocks (amino acids) and vitamins. Furthermore, together with the kidneys, it is responsible for detoxifying the body. For example, it converts toxic substances such as ammonia and alcohol into non-toxic substances. Other residues and bacteria are also filtered out of the blood by the liver and passed on to either the intestine or the kidneys for disposal.
The individual substances are passed from the intestine into the liver via the portal vein. Sugar is stored here in the form of glycogen and released back into the blood as glucose (glucose) as soon as the blood sugar level drops. Depending on your needs, the liver cells can also convert sugar into fat or protein into sugar. In addition, the metabolic organ uses amino acids to produce important proteins for blood clotting and so-called C-reactive proteins (CRP) as a defense reaction to bacterial inflammation. Proteins that carry fats or hormones in the blood are also formed here.
In addition, the liver produces a large part of the body's own cholesterol. This is used to form the bile. This creates around one liter of bile juice per day, which makes fat from food digestible. The liver has extraordinary regenerative abilities. For example, if half of the organ is surgically removed, it grows back to full size within about two months. Alcohol can severely damage the liver. 30 to 50 percent of all liver diseases are based on high alcohol consumption. In addition, chronic inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) can weaken the organ and lead to cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer, for example. (vb)
(Photo 1: Sebastian Kaulitzki / fotolia.com)