Each capillary then leads into a lobule. Liver tissue is collection of thousands of such lobules. These lobules are made up of hepatic cells which are the basic metabolic cells of the liver (MamasHealth.com, 2000).
The liver is a complex organ. It performs over 500 different functions. Some of the functions include: to produce substances that break down fats, convert glucose to glycogen, produce urea which is the main substance of urine, make certain amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins, filter harmful substances from the blood such as alcohol, storage of vitamins and minerals (vitamins A, D, K and B12) and maintain a proper level or glucose in the blood. The liver is also responsible for producing cholesterol and it is estimated that it produces about 80% of the cholesterol in the body (MamasHealth.com, 2000). Among these functions the two of most important functions is to control of amino acid concentration and detoxification. Urea is produced in the liver and is a metabolite of amino acids. Ammonium ions are produced due to the breakdown of amino acids. And these ammonium ions are used in the biosynthesis of nitrogen compounds and excess ammonium ions are converted to urea (Royal Society of Chemistry, N.D.).
The liver’s basic functions are three fold: Vascular, Secretory and Metabolic. In other words it plays an important role in the major systems of the body, particularly in the digestive, circulatory and endocrine systems of the human body. In simple terms the vascular function includes being a major blood reservoir, filtering over a liter of blood every minute. The liver effectively removes bacteria, endotoxins, antibody complexes and various other particles from the circulation.
The liver is one of the most vital organs in the body when it comes to detoxifying or getting rid of toxins. The liver plays a key role in most metabolic processes, particularly detoxification. The liver neutralizes a broad range of toxic chemicals, both those produced inside the body and those coming from the external environment. In human system the normal metabolic processes produce a wide range of chemicals and hormones and it is worth mentioning that the liver has evolved as an efficient neutralizing mechanisms. If it was not for the liver, then our bodies would have been full of toxics and would have become very difficult for the survival.
There is tremendous change in the environment in recent years and it is continuously pumped with toxic chemicals every day. Human beings are as a result exposed to these chemicals. The food we eat is contaminated with pesticides, the air we breathe contains several poisonous gases, and the water we drink has chemicals. In other words many of the toxic chemicals come from the environment: the content of the bowels and the food, water, and air. The harmful polycyclic hydrocarbons such as DDT, dioxin, 2,3-D, PCB, 2,4,5-T and PCP are the basic components of various herbicides and pesticides. And these are example of chemicals that are now found in almost all fat tissues measured. Even those eating unprocessed organic foods need an effective detoxification system because all foods contain naturally occurring toxic constituents. Hence in all these cases liver plays the most important role of detoxification.
The liver plays these vital roles in detoxification through the following processes: it filters the blood to remove large toxins, synthesizes