Organs Of Protection And Detoxification
The Liver

Our body possesses the ability to detoxify itself by several means and a number of organs assist the body in achieving this task. For instance, the liver is among the foremost organs that help in detoxifying the body. In fact, the liver is the second major organ in our body and has several varied and vital functions. Besides detoxifying the body, the liver manufactures bile to help digestion of fats, processes the nutrients in our body, amalgamates several vital proteins, breaks down substances that may possibly be toxic into harmless materials for reuse by the body or to eliminate them from the body and also regulates the clotting of blood.

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Basically, the liver is a gland having the shape of a dome and it is located below the diaphragm just underneath the ribcage on the right side. The liver is considered to be a gland as it produces and secretes bile. Moreover, it is the biggest gland in the human body.

The liver comprises two main sections or lobes - the left lobe and the right lobe. The right lobe is made up of three lesser important lobes and is bigger compared to the left lobe, which comprises only two smaller lobes. All these five smaller lobes are made up of a number of segments that are called liver lobules.

The central vein traverses the middle of each of these liver lobules and seeps away all the waste products accumulated in the liver. The cells that make up the lobules and are located nearest to the central vein are called centrilobular hepatocytes or the liver cells. As the cytochrome p-450 found in these cells is in most concentrated form, maximum detoxification activities too occur in this region.

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The hepatic artery as well as the portal vein are located on a different side of the liver and they are collectively called the periportal system. The role of the hepatic artery is to supply the liver with oxygen, which it transports straight from the heart as well as the lungs. The level of oxygen inside the liver is the highest in the lobule cells that are located nearest to the hepatic artery. In addition, these cells also contain the maximum amount of nutrients, as the nutrients absorbed by the gastrointestinal (GI) tract are first delivered to the liver by the portal vein. In other words, among all organs in the body, the liver receives the nutrients first. It is also important to note that the exposure of lobule cells to xenobiotics (any substance alien to a biological system or organism) within the liver is also the most, in addition to the fact that transaminase enzymes and glutathione are present in the maximum concentration in these cells. Normal blood chemistry examinations are undertaken to determine these enzyme levels with a view to assess the functioning of the liver.

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There is no doubt that the liver is the main organ of the body that filters out the waste products and toxins, but this does not denote that this organ is not resistant to being affected by toxins and other harmful chemicals while it continues with its work. For instance, majority of the people are aware of the fact that alcohol has the potential to harm the liver, resulting to hazardous levels of inflammation as well as hepatitis. However, we are really fortunate that the liver is also extraordinary in another different manner - it possesses the aptitude to rejuvenate or repair itself to the extent of about two-thirds. In such cases, the cells of the liver assume charge of the liver's workload, while the cells that have become unhealthy take rest and heal themselves. As the liver performs an assortment of vital functions in our body, it is essential to take out some time and detoxify it. Any person following this strictly is sure to enjoy a sound health.

People who wish to remain healthy ought to be very concerned about the things they eat and drink regularly. Several types of foods, especially greasy and fried foods as well as alcohol and an assortment of preservatives, synthetic colors and various additives contained in the foods available these days, put the liver in severe danger. In fact, the liver needs to counteract with these harmful foods. Therefore, it is advisable that you either stay away from such foods or reduce taking these foods and beverages considerably if you really want to give your liver some rest and, at the same time, remain healthy.

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However, steering clear of specific foods is just a part of remaining healthy and removing some burden from the liver. What is important is that you should consume healthy and nutritious foods. There are several other ways of remaining healthy. As eating organically grown foods, uncooked whole foods as well as herbs are effective in providing your liver with the essential nutrients, if possible, you ought to practice this always. This is all the more important while you are undertaking a detoxification program to cleanse the liver.

If you are trying to find a program to detoxify your liver, ensure that the program incorporates supplements that include nutrients that support the liver. Among other things, the supplements should essentially include milk thistle (an herb, which is known as silymarin). Findings of several studies have corroborated that milk thistle supports the liver effectively, as it possesses the attributes that provide protection to the liver cell, encourage the growth of these cells and, at the same time, restrain their inflammation by means of combating oxidation. It is advisable that you should also search for a product that encloses any standardized milk thistle extract, as this will ensure the effectiveness of the supplement.

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Besides milk thistle, studies have shown that many other herbs are also beneficial for the liver and support the health of this vital organ effectively. Therefore, any good program for detoxifying the liver will naturally incorporate many of these herbs. Hence, you should search for these herbs as well as other beneficial ones in order to make sure that you are receiving all, or at least most, of the herbal elements that are helpful in sustaining the health of the liver and also ensuring your overall wellness.

Some of the herbs that are useful for your liver and support its health are discussed in brief below.

Licorice root
This is a very reputed herb and is popular all over Asia. Licorice root effectively supports the health of the liver as well as the digestive system. People in Japan make a very well-liked preparation using the active elements of licorice root. Traditionally, they have been using this preparation extensively to promote the health of the liver.
Yellow dock
This particular herb has a positive influence on the liver as well as the other different organs that are connected with metabolism and detoxification processes. This herb is very popular for its ability to purify the blood. Even now, people across the world use yellow dock in several preparations meant for cleansing the liver. People in China and India, in addition to North America and Europe have recognized the therapeutic value of this potent herb and use it extensively to treat various health conditions.
Fenugreek
This herb encloses powerful antioxidants and they have a positive influence on the liver. In addition, people have also used fenugreek historically for supporting the health of the digestive system. Such a wonderful combination of its therapeutic properties makes fenugreek a potent partner in any natural liver detoxification and cleansing program.

The herbs mentioned above as well as several others possess the ability to undertake vital roles in perking up the success of liver detoxification and internal cleanse programs. As different herbs work in a synergy (in fact, they work better in a combination than alone), it is important to find good detoxification and colon cleanse products that contain a blend of best herbs for promoting your health. When you act in this manner, you will be able to obtain the utmost benefits of using herbal supplements and, at the same time, improve your individual cleansing journey.

How toxins enter the liver

The liver is located in such a part of our body that it can easily receive most of the poisonous or toxic blood from the lower regions of the body, including the kidneys, the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the spleen. It is estimated that roughly 1500 ml blood, which contains several toxic and waste substances, circulates via the liver each minute.

As mentioned earlier, the liver is the principal organ in the body that works to transform various chemicals. Nevertheless, even the liver is vulnerable to tissue damage and injury due to the effect of the toxins present in chemicals. Moreover, when the liver is burdened with excessive work, it can cause permanent damage to this vital organ. In fact, specific chemicals are toxic to particular areas of the liver.

Protective devices

It is vital that the conjugation enzymes are present in sufficient levels during the Phase II of the detoxification process, as they work to protect the liver from damages. These enzymes assist in putting of the accumulation of toxins in the liver. These toxic substances usually form due to the biotransformation of chemicals during the detoxification process' Phase I. In addition, when antioxidants are present is sufficient amounts, it helps to douse the detrimental free radicals and thereby protect the liver from damages.

It is interesting to note that the liver possesses the aptitude to function even when as high as 80 per cent of its cells are damaged. However, during such conditions, the liver's efficiency is greatly reduced. Moreover, the liver is also able to rejuvenate as well as substitute the damaged cells. It can recuperate from the damage provided the sources of the toxic substances are completely eliminated.

Detoxification

The liver is the organ that detoxifies most of the toxic substances in the body. It works to get rid of the chemicals which are taken up into the bloodstream and sends them out into the bile that is amassed in the gallbladder. It is worth mentioning here that the Phase I as well as the Phase II of the detoxification processes are on the go inside the liver cells. Moreover, the cytochrome P-450 enzyme mechanism of the liver is the first-line site in the body for detoxifying all alien chemicals.

More than 300 chemicals that have been identified have the potential to activate or increase the activity of the enzyme system inside the liver. In fact, these known chemicals also have the ability to result in the presence of additional enzymes in the liver and also increase the pace of the detoxification process. In addition, these enzymes can also augment the endoplasmic reticulum amount in the liver. Endoplasmic reticulum actually denotes the membranes inside the cells which are the sites for the detoxification processes.

A number of chemicals augment the metabolic action of the liver, while there are many others that slow down the action of the cytochrome P-450 enzyme in the liver. There are still other chemicals that inhibit the action of the detoxification enzymes. There are several ways by which these chemicals can inhibit the activities of the detoxification enzymes and cytochrome P-450. Some of them are discussed below.

The activity of the detoxifying enzymes can be inhibited when two or additional chemicals compete with one another for a particular enzyme. Often synthesis of detoxification enzymes also results in inhibiting their activity. In addition, inhibition can also be caused by destruction or inactivation of the endoplasmic reticulum or the enzymes. At the same time, diminution of the essential cofactors for accomplishing Phase II of the detoxification can inhibit the action of the enzymes. Overwhelming or destruction of the detoxification enzymes may also inhibit their activity in the liver.

It is important to note that when the activity of the cytochrome P-450 in the liver is inhibited, it may result in the accumulation of toxic substances in our body. For instance, people often use the drug theophylline, which is a member of the family to which caffeine belongs, to control asthma. This drug has the potential to increase the levels of toxicity in the body, provided the patient is taking erythromycin simultaneously. In fact, erythromycin works to slow down the theophylline's break down, which decreases the activity of cytochrome P-450. Besides erythromycin, anti-fungal drugs like ketoconazole also possess the aptitude to break down Seldane, an antihistamine that was frequently used. As elevated levels of Seldane in the bloodstream often disturbed the heart rhythm, this drug has eventually been withdrawn from the market.

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