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Liver anatomy showing hepatic vein & artery, bile duct, gall bladder

Diagram of the liver showing the right and left lobes, with major veins & arteries delivering blood to and from the heart & intestines. Bile produced by the liver is stored in the gall bladder and drains into the intestines.

The liver - the body's largest organ after the skin - is often compared to a sophisticated, hi-tech processing plant.

Without fanfare or complaint, every day the healthy liver automatically takes in compounds from what we eat, drink, and absorb through the skin, and converts them in to a variety of compounds which are essential to the digestive system and the body's proper functioning.

Among its other wonders, the liver also is the only internal human organ capable of natural regeneration of lost tissue; as little as 25% of a liver can regenerate into a whole liver.

Keeping your liver healthy

In Western culture, we pump a great deal of fat, alcohol, sugar, and chemicals in to our bodies, and the liver is one of the organs on the front line of defense. Keeping the liver healthy then, is often a matter of limiting its exposure to all the things that place excess stress on it.

Alcohol is certainly not good for the liver, particularly in high amounts, and chronic alcohol abuse can lead to hepatitis C, cirrhosis, or other serious liver diseases such as liver cancer especially when coupled with smoking.

Chemicals, pesticides, and many other food additives are all stressors for the liver, as is a diet rich in fatty foods. Limiting intake of all these things makes the liver's job a lot easier, and goes a long way to help this feat of engineering successfully accomplish the various tasks it was built to do.

also see in Health & Diseases -> Hepatitis C

More about the liver around the Web:

Liver - Wikipedia - Check out the complete overview including liver functions, related diseases, photos, diagrams, related references and resources.

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