Can You Live Without a Liver?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, June 26, 2014 0 comments

by Steve Risner

The liver is remarkable! It’s such an important part of our bodies and has held a significant place in religious practices in ancient times. This practice of haruspex is even mentioned in Ezekiel 21:21. You can read more on the religious connection to the liver here. There is also significance in the Hebrew ceremonies outlined in the Book of Leviticus concerning the liver here, here, and here as well as a few other places in Leviticus and Exodus. At one time, the liver was believed to be the source of blood, so its connection to life and its significance in religious practices is easy to discern. Let’s move on to the physical attributes of this marvelous organ.

In terms of weight, the liver is the largest organ in the human body, and for the average sized male it would be approximately 3 pounds. One-third of the cardiac output in one minute passes through the liver. Because of many of its functions, it is often referred to as the 'body's chemical factory'. That’s because this 3-pound mass in your upper right quadrant does some 500 different jobs—making, breaking down, or processing huge quantities of chemistry in your body. This amazing piece of hardware is something you cannot live without. On December 31, 2013, my family found out just how important this chemical factory is when my uncle, Mark, passed away at age 54 due to liver failure. He fought for years and went through countless procedures and drugs to counteract the huge number of problems that arise when one’s liver does not function properly.

Here is a short list of things the liver does (in no particular order):
1. Metabolizes proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, thus providing energy and nutrients (this in and of itself is a very long list of functions—metabolizing each of these various compounds)
2. Produces proteins and monitors the supply and demand of proteins
3. Stores vitamins, minerals, and sugars (again, a long list of different things stored)
4. Filters the blood and helps remove harmful chemicals and bacteria
5. Creates bile which breaks down fats which is stored in the gall bladder
6. Helps to assimilate and store fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K as well as Vitamin B-12
7. Stores extra blood which can be quickly released when needed as it can shunt whole blood with all of its constituents into the general circulation (it has approximately 15% of all blood in the body at any given time)
8. Creates serum proteins and constructs blood protein which maintain fluid balance and act as carriers
9. Helps maintain electrolyte and water balance
10. Creates immune substances such as gamma globulin
11. Breaks down and eliminates excess hormones
12. Provides blood clotting factors
13. Breaks down ammonia and other toxins created in the colon by bacteria which aids in preventing death
14. Helps to maintain blood pressure
15. Constructs cholesterol and estrogen
16. Reconstructs hormones
17. Synthesizes urea
18. Interconverts amino acids
19. Constructs 50,000 systems of enzymes to govern metabolic activity throughout the body
20. Removes damaged red blood cells and will take this on as the primary site for this if the spleen is absent
21. Converts the thyroid hormone thyroxine into its more active form triiodothyronine (inadequate conversion may lead to hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue, weight gain, poor memory and other debilitating conditions)
22. Creates glucose tolerance factor from chromium, niacin and possibly glutathione (GTF is needed for the hormone insulin to properly regulate blood-sugar levels)
23. Removes some fat-soluble toxins from the body
24. Activates B vitamins into their biologically active coenzyme forms (virtually every nutrient must be biotransformed by the liver into its proper biochemical form before the nutrient can be stored, transported or used in cellular metabolism)
25. Stores copper and zinc
26. Manufactures carnitine (the only known bionutrient which can escort fats into the mitochondria where they are used to generate ATP energy) from lysine and other nutrients, converts lactic acid from a toxic waste to an important storage fuel (the liver will take lactic acid from the bloodstream and convert it into glycogen)
27. Serves as the main glucose buffer, preventing high or low extremes of blood sugar
28. Converts essential fatty acids such as GLA, EPA, and DHA into the lipoprotein, main poison-detoxifying organ in the body (why it can be harmful to take pharmaceuticals).

This list goes on and on, but the important thing to note is that nearly every one of these functions cannot be done by another part of the body and without nearly every one of these functions, you cannot live.

So this makes me ponder the possibilities of it being the result of a series of accidental copy mistakes in the genetic material of our ancestors. Is it possible that this chemical factory that takes on 1/3 of our blood supply every minute and generates, breaks down, regulates, or in some fashion has an influence on nearly every chemical in your body exists in its current form by a natural process that was nothing more than errors in code? Without anyone one of these functions, the human being would not be very happy and would likely die in a short period. The liver is a marvel.