Fatigue and the Liver

The Liver and its Functions

Blood passes through the liver at about 3 pints (6 cups) per minute, making the liver an extremely busy organ. In charge of a long list of life-sustaining functions, a few of the liver’s crucial duties, include:

  • Producing bile, which helps carry away waste and breaks down fats in the small intestine during digestion.
  • Producing certain proteins for blood plasma.
  • Manufacturing sex hormone binding protein – liver health is essential for a good sex drive. If the liver is compromised in such a way that it is producing too much of this protein, it can depress your sex drive.
  • Making cholesterol and special proteins to help carry fats through the body.
  • Regulating carbohydrate metabolism – converting excess glucose into glycogen for storage.
  • Storing vitamin A, vitamin D, many of the B vitamins, iron and copper.
  • Converting poisonous ammonia to urea (urea is an end product of protein metabolism and is excreted in the urine).
  • Clearing the blood of drugs and other poisonous substances.
  • Resisting infections by producing immune factors and removing bacteria from the bloodstream.

If your liver is unhealthy, compromised or diseased, it could be working too hard for long periods of time, thus becoming overrun with toxins. The liver’s task of keeping your blood stream clean becomes difficult. In such cases, many different symptoms of poor health may occur, especially allergies, headaches and chronic fatigue.

Symptoms of liver disease are nonspecific, meaning there is no distinct symptom that indicates that something is wrong with the liver or how serious it is. Fatigue is one such symptom.

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Hepatitis-Central. “Working With Your Liver’s Clock Benefits Hepatitis C” http://www.hepatitis-central.com/mt/archives/2010/07/working_with_yo.html. Retrieved October 8, 2010.

Hepatitis-Central. “Fatigue and Hepatitis C” http://www.hepatitis-central.com/mt/archives/2007/04/fatigue_and_hep.html. Retrieved October 22, 2010.

MayoClinic. "Fatigue" http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fatigue/MY00120/DSECTION=causes. Retrieved October 22, 2010.

Medicinenet. “Fatigue” http://www.medicinenet.com/fatigue/article.htm. Retrieved October 22, 2010.

Palmer, M.D., Melissa. Dr. Melissa Palmer’s Guide to Hepatitis & Liver Disease. New York: Avery Trade, 2004.