A bad liver can be one of the most difficult ailments to live with, not to mention one of the toughest medical conditions to diagnose and treat. Some people don’t even realize they have a problem until it’s well into the stage of liver disease, like liver cirrhosis, where the liver becomes so scarred that it can no longer function properly. The good news is there are many signs of a bad liver you can identify before liver disease sets in.

See, Fruits Good For Liver Health and Foods That Cleanse The Liver According to Science

digestive system showing the liver on a dark background

Why Is Liver Health Important?

The liver is one of the most important organs in the human body, and it performs many different tasks that support our overall health and well-being.

It performs hundreds of jobs, including breaking down toxins, producing proteins your body needs, and filtering out dangerous substances from your blood. Here is more on why you need to keep yours healthy and functioning well.

1. Fights Infections

Your liver is a strong fighter! Not only does it filter your blood and produce bile, but it also acts as your body’s first line of defense against bacterial infections. It contains a good number of phagocytes, which are cells that detect and destroy pathogens like viruses and bacteria, especially those entering the body through the gut.

The liver also produces an enzyme called defensin that has been shown to offer broad antimicrobial activities. It can inhibit bacterial growth as well as kill them off by disrupting their membranes.

2. Regulates Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a lipid found in the blood. It is needed for the body to make hormones, proteins, and other substances. 

There are two types of cholesterol: good (HDL) and bad (LDL). Good cholesterol helps to protect the heart and arteries from damage, while bad cholesterol can cause plaque buildup on the walls of these vessels.

The liver plays an important role in regulating cholesterol levels. When cholesterol levels get too high, it can cause problems like heart disease. It works to remove cholesterol from the blood and convert it into bile acids. Bile acids are used by the body to digest food.

3. Store Vitamin B12

One of the liver’s most important functions is to store and release vitamin B12. The body requires a constant supply of vitamin B12 but can be quickly depleted if our diet doesn’t include it or we have an issue with absorption.

Vitamin B12 plays an important role in producing healthy red blood cells and DNA synthesis. It also promotes healthy nerve cells and helps the body use protein, fats, and carbohydrates as energy.

A lack of vitamin B-12 leads to anemia as well as slow growth rates in children.

4. Promotes Gluconeogenesis

Gluconeogenesis is a metabolic pathway that transforms non-carbohydrate substances like those from protein and fat metabolism into glucose to be used for energy. This process is important for the body because it helps maintain blood sugar levels and provides necessary energy, especially when dietary sources are unavailable.

Gluconeogenesis occurs mainly in the liver and can be activated by a number of factors, including stress, exercise, and fasting. 

5. Promotes Glycogen Storage

Glycogen is a form of stored carbohydrates that your liver synthesizes and can be broken down to glucose when your body needs it. When you eat too many carbs, the liver breaks down excess sugar from the bloodstream and stores it as glycogen in the liver cells. It then moves the glycogen to other cells when there is not enough sugar in the blood.

6. Promotes Body Detoxification

One of the liver’s most important functions is detoxifying our bodies. When toxic substances enter the body, they are transferred to the liver for processing. These substances may come from food, water, or environmental pollutants. Once in the liver, these toxins can be processed and broken down so that they can be removed from the body through a person’s urine or stool.

7. Stores Iron

The liver is responsible for the storage and distribution of iron in the body. Iron is an important nutrient for proper brain function and the formation of hemoglobin in red blood cells. It also promotes energy production and DNA synthesis.

Signs Of A Bad Liver

The liver is a vital organ in the body that is responsible for many essential tasks, including processing food and eliminating toxins from the body. If your liver is not working correctly, you may experience a number of signs and symptoms.

Here are signs that your liver is failing:

Jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and eyes)

One of the earliest signs that your liver is failing is when you start to experience jaundice. Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and eyes due to an increase in the amount of bilirubin in your blood. Bilirubin is a by-product of the breaking down of red blood cells.

Jaundice can be caused by a number of things, including liver failure, cirrhosis, and hepatitis. If you experience jaundice, it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will perform a variety of tests to determine the cause of your jaundice and help you begin treatment if necessary.

Itchy skin

If you have been experiencing itchy skin, you may be having a bad liver. The itching is usually due to too much bile salt accumulating under the skin. This kind of itching may not necessarily cause skin lesions or rashes but may cause some visible irritations and redness.

Fatigue

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms associated with ailing livers. An impaired liver can cause fatigue because it means that the liver is not able to properly process the toxins that are released when the person eats or drinks.

These toxins can damage the cells in the body, which can cause fatigue. In addition, a bad liver can also lead to hepatitis, which is a condition in which the liver becomes inflamed. This inflammation can also cause fatigue.

Loss of appétit

A bad liver can cause a person to lose appetite and even weight. The liver is responsible for processing food and breaking it down into nutrients that the body can use. A bad liver can cause inflammation and damage to the cells in the liver, which can lead to a shortage of nutrients and enzymes, causing digestive symptoms like loss of appetite, nausea, and in some cases, vomiting.

Clay-colored stools

The liver produces bile, a digestive juice essential for digestion. It’s also bile that gives stool its normal color. In case of liver disease or liver damage, the liver doesn’t make bile normally or the flow of bile might be blocked. This may result in pale stools almost similar to the color of clay.

Easy bruising

The liver is responsible for producing various proteins needed for blood clotting processes. When its damaged, it can’t perform this task effectively which may cause you to bruise and bleed more easily than you usually could.

Sleep problems

There are many causes of sleep disruption; a bad liver can be one of them.

Liver conditions like liver cirrhosis have been associated with disturbances in sleep-wake cycles.

One study found that patients with cirrhosis had elevated melatonin levels during the day with associated delayed melatonin peaks at night. Melatonin is a hormone that tells your body it’s time to sleep. It’s also responsible for the regulation of the wake-sleep cycle. Melatonin is usually at its peak at night, but with liver damage, this is delayed making it difficult for one to fall asleep.

If you struggle with sleep disturbances and can’t figure out the possible cause, you may want to get your liver checked.

Hormonal imbalance

Maintaining the appropriate balance of hormones in your body is important. Hormones help regulate all the functions of your organs, and when they are out of balance, it can lead to serious health problems, including weight gain, poor glucose control, and skin issues, among others.

The liver plays a vital role in maintaining hormonal balance. When your liver isn’t functioning correctly, hormonal levels start to fluctuate. What starts as high cholesterol or trouble sleeping could eventually turn into high blood pressure or even diabetes. If you suspect that your liver isn’t working as well as it should be, see a doctor for more information on how to treat the condition.

What Causes A Bad Liver?

Drinking too much

Alcohol consumption is associated with liver damage, which can lead to cirrhosis and even death. Alcohol is a toxin that attacks the liver cells, causing them to become inflamed and damaged.

This process can start slowly but eventually lead to cirrhosis, a serious condition in which the liver can no longer function normally. In extreme cases, alcohol consumption can also lead to liver cancer.

If you are drinking regularly and have concerns about your liver health, it is important to speak with your doctor. They may be able to recommend some changes in your drinking habits that would reduce your risk of liver damage. In addition, you might also want to consider supplementing your diet with nutrients that support healthy liver function.

Smoking

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. It’s also the leading cause of chronic liver disease. 

The health risks of smoking are well known, but the consequences of smoking on the liver are less understood.

Smoking causes inflammation and scarring in the liver, which can lead to cirrhosis, a condition in which the liver cannot function normally. In addition, smoking can increase the risk of developing liver cancer.

If you smoke, it’s best to seek ways to help you quit! You’ll feel better both physically and mentally, and you’ll be saving your liver as well.

Prescription medication

Prescription medication overuse is a big problem in the United States. Although these medications can be beneficial in treating diseases, they can also be dangerous if misused or taken too often.

The most common types of prescription drugs that damage the liver are those used to treat asthma, high blood pressure, and chronic pain. These medications can interact with other drugs or alcohol, leading to serious health problems. If you are taking a prescription drug for a medical condition, be sure to talk to your doctor about its long-term effects on the liver and whether there are any alternatives.

Unhealthy diet

People don’t realize that their diet can damage their liver, but an unhealthy diet can lead to inflammation, weight gain, and even liver disease. Here are four ways an unhealthy diet can cause damage.

 Inflammation: A poor diet can cause inflammation throughout your body. This inflammation can damage liver cells, leading to cirrhosis and even death.

Weight Gain: Eating many unhealthy foods will add pounds to your frame. This added weight can pressure your liver to work harder than it should, leading to its damage.

Liver Disease: A poor diet can lead to various types of liver disease, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and hepatitis A.

Stress

Stress is a normal response to challenging situations, but it can damage the liver when it’s excessive or chronic. In fact, chronic stress is one of the major risk factors for liver disease.

Chronic stress causes the release of cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that play a role in the immune system, but if produced excessively, they can cause damage to the liver by interfering with its ability to function properly.

Final

The liver is a vital organ in the body. It helps to process and transform food into energy, and it plays a role in the production of blood cells and the storage of iron, among other things. If your liver is failing, it can’t do its job well. This can lead to recurring bouts of viral or bacterial infections, which can be very uncomfortable and even dangerous.

If you suspect that your liver is failing, you should talk to your doctor, who will perform various blood tests and may recommend treatments such as medications. If you do have liver failure, you’ll need to take care of yourself so that you don’t develop other health problems as a result.

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