The liver is located in the upper right portion of the abdominal cavity, just below the diaphragm. It is partially surrounded by the ribs and extends from the level of the fifth intercostal space to the lower margin of the ribs.
BTW: The pancreas is included in the picture; we’ll take a look at the pancreas in a different blog but it’s important to know it’s location in proximity to the liver and gallbladder.
Your liver is the largest gland in the body while the gallbladder is simply a bag which lays under the liver.
Let’s start with understanding the anatomical structure of the liver and gallbladder:
- The liver is the largest internal organ in the body and has two blood supplies:
- from the hepatic artery it receives blood from the aorta
- a second venous blood supply comes from the digestive system filled with absorbed nutrients.
- Approximately one-fourth of the body’s blood supply is in the liver when a person is at rest.
- The liver contains “lobdules” which are working units of the liver.
- The liver contains a duct from which bile is secreted to the gallbladder.
- The gallbladder is a pear-shaped bag located on the underside of the liver.
Normal Liver Function
There are 13 normal functions for which the liver is responsible. Here they are:
- The liver is the chemical plant of the body; it receives the blood from the portal system and converts the nutrients into usable products for the body.
- Protein production and storage as well as the control of the by-products of protein metabolism.
- Formation of glucose from noncarbohydrates.
- Conversion of glucose to glycogen.
- Oxidation of fatty acids.
- Synthesis of lipoproteins, phospholipids and cholesterol.
- Conversion of carbohydrates and proteins into fats.
- Deamination of amino acids.
- Storage of vitamins A, D, and B12 along with iron.
- Detoxification which alters the composition of toxic substances in the body fluids.
- Manufacturer of the body substances important to blood coagulation (vitamin K).
- Destroys tired red blood cells and foreign substances in the blood by phagocytosis.
- Secretion and manufacturer of bile and bile salts into the digestive system.
Normal Gallbladder Function
The gallbladder is responsible for mainly two very important functions:
- Holds bile secreted by the liver until it is needed in the small intestine for fat digestion.
- Removes sodium from the bile and pumps it back into blood plasma.
Let’s take a look at eight issues that let us know our liver is unhappy:
- Fatty liver
- Cholesterol deposits
- Skin pigment problems
- Hot sweats and chills
- Temperature up at night and low in the morning
- Headaches and dizziness
And here are eight issues that let us know our gallbladder is unhappy:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Watery stool or constipation
- Inability to keep still
- Pent-up resentment
- Tenderness in upper right abdomen
The body recognizes when something is not working correctly. It sends white blood cells to the rescue; it creates inflammation. It causes us to pass-out. Things that in western medicine are considered an immediate concern are things that in the naturopathic world, many times, are nothing more than the body attempting to remedy a problem.
Understanding the concept that given the right environment, the body can heal itself, is important when attempting a natural lifestyle.
With this in mind, the following “problems” associated with liver/gallbladder issues may likely be the result of the body’s attempt to correct an issue:
- Toxic bowel
- Cholesterol problems
- Acidosis of blood / high urea content
These are examples of what we refer to as “root causes.” For example, when someone tells me they’ve been using pH strips and they are concerned they may have too much acid in the blood (acidosis of the blood), one of my first thoughts will likely be, “I wonder how their liver and gallbladder are behaving.”
One of the things I may suggest is they treat themselves to a Castor Oil Pack. After all, our body simply does not have a deficiency of an over-the-counter or prescription medication. What it does have is an imbalance of some sort. These two ways of thinking is a major difference in mindset between the worlds of natural health and western medicine.
NOTE: Not everybody can use a Castor Oil Pack. I am NOT suggesting you do but am merely attempting to educate you to the fact that natural health is a very different approach to wellbeing than western medicine. It is a lifestyle change and one that must be adapted to.
TRUTH: If you want to pop a pill and get on with life (and then be prescribed another pill and another and another and deal with all the potential side effects of all those pills), then natural health probably is not where you need to be.
If you’re willing to make a commitment to your longterm health and wellbeing and maybe you’re tired of all the doctor visits and all the prescription drugs, then onward we go. Next, we’ll take a look at the Nervous System.
BTW: YES! I absolutely think Medical Doctors are necessary at times. I do not think taking a man-made drug for every tiny symptom is good for me. Don’t forget that by visiting this website, you are stating you have read and agree to the Medical and Nutrition Disclaimer at the bottom of this page.
Catherine Smith, ND LMT
Louisiana Massage License _____