Your liver is not one of your main digestive organs - in my opinion those are the stomach, the GB, the pancreas & the intestines. However, it does interact directly with your gut and therefore it deserves our attention.
Problems in the liver can mean problems in the gut and vice versa.
The main way that the liver interacts with your digestion is via the production of bile. Bile is produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder.
Bile is necessary for fat digestion. This is why many people with Liver/Gallbladder issues have a difficult time digesting fatty foods. Another symptom of this that is not talked about as much is fat in the stool - which can be tested with stool tests or assumed if stool floats.
So role #1 that liver plays in gut health is in fat digestion.
The second role that liver plays in gut health, and overall body health, is in detoxification.
I want to clarify before I dive into detox that I am talking about your body’s natural detox mechanisms. The ones that are built in and functioning everyday. Not the detox teas, diets, juices, supplements or cleanses.
The liver if one of your body’s main detoxification organs. The other organs involved are your kidneys, lungs, lymphatic system, large intestine & skin.
The liver processes any toxins that enter your body when you eat food, turning them into less harmful substances or packing them for elimination. So the pesticides on the apple you eat will be processed by the liver before entering your circulation, keeping you safe. It’s a very elegant system.
But problems can occur when either the liver gets overworked or the liver started underworking. If the liver slows down or the demand becomes too high on the liver toxins can build up in the body.
And unfortunately one of the big places that these toxins wreak havoc is in the gut.
These toxins are very inflammatory and can cause damage to the gut lining - causing leaky gut.
How does the liver become damaged?
How to help your liver?
Interestingly there’s also a link between the health of your gut and the health of your liver. Recent research is showing that dysbiosis in the gut - ie. too many bad bacteria, may actually contribute to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Bad bacteria can produce toxins that can induce damage in the liver (as well as a lot of other places).