Your Liver

By: Arthur Anderson

One of the sources that I use in many of my blogs is Chris Masterjohn, PhD.  He holds a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and presents nutritional concepts in either a simplified or complex manner, depending on how much you want to nerd out. If you are interested in a more in-depth look at your nutritional needs and how your body processes what it consumes, I encourage you to check him out and sign up for his newsletter. I recently received an email from him regarding a major misconception that the liver is a filter.  I thought you might find it interesting.  Below is the email:

Please join me in a global campaign to correct the misunderstanding that the liver “filters” toxins.

Filters remove undesirable things from air, water, oil, or other desirable materials. They do so by holding on to them. As a result, they get dirty and eventually need to be replaced.

Many people believe that this is what the liver does.

When you mention eating liver, they say, “I’m not going to eat something that filters toxins,” as if all those toxins are actually in the liver.

But this is not what the liver does. Not at all.

I do not believe people need a background in physiology to understand what the liver does correctly. Therefore, I propose that we all join forces to correct anyone who ever says or implies that “the liver is a filter.” To do so, I recommend these three corrections, each appropriate to a different level of scientific understanding:

  • Level 1. “The liver does not filter toxins from the blood. The liver helps pump them into your poo and your pee so that they leave your body.”
  • Level 2.“The liver does not filter toxins. Instead, the liver modifies them to make them less toxic, and to make them easier to excrete. This leads to their elimination in the feces and urine, not their retention in the liver.”
  • Level 3.“The liver does not filter toxins. Hepatic detoxification takes place in three phases. Phase 1 oxidizes the molecule. This serves to prepare it for phase 2. Phase 2 conjugates the molecule to one of several chemical groups. This serves two purposes: one is to make the toxin less metabolically active; the other is to make it more water-soluble. Phase 3 exports the conjugate into the bile, which brings it into the intestines. From there, it either leaves in the feces, or is reabsorbed into the bloodstream and exits the body through the urine.”

Everyone can understand at least one of these!

Please join me by stopping every person on the earth, man or woman, adult or child, rich or poor, black, white or brown, weak or strong, scientist or artist, capitalist or communist… let us leave no stone unturned, and correct them ALL:
The liver is not a filter.
The liver is not a filter.