Why the Liver Matters
Most probably know that your heart pumps blood, your brain thinks, and your lungs breathe. However, most people probably don't know what the liver does.
Unlike the more well-known organs, the liver has multiple functions that extend throughout the body. In some ways, it's the handy-man that keeps everything running smoothly in the background.
Top 5 Functions of the Liver
Above, you can see 5 of the many roles of the liver. It's your body's factory, transportation system, power storage system, and waste management system, among other functions.
Glycogen: The Liver as a Battery
Since you aren't eating all the time, your body needs some way to store energy from that chocolate bar you ate so that you can use it during a run.
Most energy goes to fat, which is your body's long-term storage facility for energy.
However, your body also needs some energy it can use for a quick "boost." That's where the liver comes in.
Your liver stores energy in the form of "glycogen," which is a starch. This allows the liver to quickly provide energy to your body when you exercise.
Vitamins: The Role of the Liver
You've probably heard that food contains vitamins. In order to get some of these vitamins into your body, you need a liver.
The liver produces carriers, almost like trucks, that are required to absorb four key vitamins: Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K.
Vitamin A is essential for eyesight, Vitamin D is necessary for strong bones, Vitamin E protects your cells as antioxidants, and Vitamin K helps your blood form clots.
When the liver fails, patients can get sick from not getting enough vitamins, despite eating a normal diet.
The Liver & Cholesterol
While too much cholesterol can cause heart disease, you actually need cholesterol to survive. Cholesterol forms a key part of your cell membranes, which keeps your cells together.
Your liver is responsible for transporting cholesterol around the body and regulating its levels. It sends out vehicles such as VLDL to absorb excess cholesterol, which returns in the form of LDL.