One of the least heralded yet most extraordinary organs in your body is the liver. If you didn’t already know, it sits on the right side of your upper abdomen, just behind your ribcage. After your skin it’s the largest organ you have, plus it handles around two hundred different jobs essential to your good health – all in the same place! October is National Liver Awareness month, so with that in mind here are some other common (and not-so-common) liver facts to help you get to know a little more about one of the hardest working members of not only your digestive system, but your entire body.
At any given moment, about 10% of all the blood you have in your body is in your liver.
Everything you eat or drink passes through the liver as part of the digestive system. Your liver will extract whatever your body can use and process the rest for removal as waste.
Your liver is incredibly resilient and, believe it or not, can actually REGROW itself! In fact, you can donate half of your liver as part of a transplant to someone else and it will eventually grow back to its full size. How amazing is that?
If your liver is not functioning correctly, one of the first signs you may notice is feeling sluggish or fatigued. Also, if you’re feeling nauseous, or notice a brown color to your urine or yellowish tint to the white portion of your eyes (known as jaundice), your liver could be at the root of the problem.
The liver generates all of the enzymes and other compounds necessary for the blood to automatically begin clotting after an injury, like scraping your knee or elbow. Without this ability, you could actually bleed to death from a small cut!
All told, the liver is a multi-function, multi-talented organ that you should take care of with a healthy diet, a healthy weight, and consuming alcohol in moderation. These alone will help keep your liver in tip-top condition for as long as you need it.