Creative Eldering – Dec. 2020 – Your Liver

Think of your liver as your personal chemical processing plant.  It lives in the midsection of your body and works 24/7 doing at least several hundred metabolic processes every day.  It processes chemicals, foods, nutrients, your own natural hormones and biological chemicals, pollutants, medications, various toxins, and poisons as they come into your body.  It tries to break them down into usable or into disposable units.  Some toxins can be nullified by your liver’s hard work.  Other toxins can build up in your system and impede the function of your liver over time.  An example of that could be chronic alcohol overindulgence or even consistent consumption of processed foods and highly heated saturated fats.

This stress load on your liver can eventually cause damage to your liver and clog its normal cells with harmful toxins.  These toxins can even be allowed to “spill over” into your system and may be apparent on your skin since that is your largest eliminative organ. Some examples of that “spillage” would be the appearance of acne, eczema, or even jaundice.  Each of these are common examples of toxins that were not thoroughly broken down by your liver now needing to exit your body via your skin. 

Your liver is protected by your right lower rib cage.  It is tucked in close to your gallbladder, pancreas, stomach, right kidney, and your large and small intestines.  Your liver has notches and grooves on its lower surface for each of these organs to “nest” in place. 

The smallest units of your liver tissue are your liver cells, and they are called hepatocytes.  They are quite specialized when being compared to other cells, such as those of your skin. Your hepatocytes are organized into hexagonal functional groups called hepatic lobules.  Each lobule has access to an artery and a vein to ensure good blood circulation and nutrient delivery for each of your liver cells.  An especially important nerve coming from your brain is the Vagus nerve.  It divides and branches and provides function to many parts of your body and has a small branch that serves each hepatocyte. 

Your liver cells (hepatocytes) continually produce bile that trickles into little collecting ducts that drain into larger collecting ducts so that your bile can be utilized for your digestion.  Each hepatic lobule (functional unit of liver cells) is close to a bile duct to expediently move the bile from your liver ultimately to your digestive system.  Soon after your bile is produced it then moves downstream from smaller bile ducts to larger bile ducts, to the common bile duct, and ultimately to your Gallbladder [you may want to refer to last month’s article on Your Gallbladder in this publication] and then your small intestine.  If this pathway is clear and works well, your ability to digest healthy dietary fats is augmented.  

May your days be bright, your Holidays enjoyable and your liver superbly healthy.

Article written by Susan L. Levy, D. C.
Author of “Your Body Can Talk, 2nd Edition” and “Your Aging Body Can Talk”  |


  1. Your article ended at the most important part about what the bile does when it reaches the small intestines It sprinkles its magic on the food ingested to unlock the vitamins and other nutrients that are locked in the food that are essential to liver cells’ ability to perform the many miracles supporting the development of body parts and functions that keep us alive. Without bile those essential elements would travel on down the intestinal tract and be expelled in feces.
    Otherwise it is a great article.

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