If I was inclined to become a preacher needing only a miracle to fill my heart with wonder the liver cell would become my guiding light. Behold the single most important cell in your body, the key to life as you know it.
How can that be you ask. Surely the heart or brain is of far more value. No one cares about the liver. Who ever heard of a march for liver, and that brown is a crappy color for a tee shirt. No one signs up for a fun run for fatty liver. Liver lover just sounds peculiar. You say "that's not promising as the guiding light for a preacher man". You are inclined to offer kindly, "don't give up your day job".
Sadly, it is true that the liver sucks as a symbol for a popular movement but real truth and glamour are not often riders on the same train.
To put living into perspective consider a couple of examples. The heart is vital to life but it is a fairly simple minded lump of muscle. It works hard but in the scheme of things it is mostly a muscle bound dummy. Give it fluid to pump, fat to burn, and oxygen to burn it with and it generally gets along fine.
The brain, she is very different. The brain is chatty in the extreme. Brain cells reach everywhere and talk constantly so the result of all their nattering is complicated but in a comparison of cells they are a bit single minded as they push electrical impulses around to their neighbors. Keep them supplied with glucose or ketones for fuel and oxygen to burn them and brain cells will mostly run happily along. Whether all their chatter is of value is the stuff of philosophy but send signals they will and most of it isn't life or death to you.
Now consider the liver cell. Unlike the others they are masters of complexity. It has been estimated that the liver does at least 500 different jobs. If you think of the liver as an organ that number itself is pretty impressive. In truth, however, this isn't a case of tasks being split up into pieces the way the brain does it and the organ doesn't act as a whole structure like the heart. In the liver each cell is a world unto itself. All of the jobs it does are in, on, around, or because of the actions of individual cells one fifth the width of a human hair.
Picture that. In that tiny volume there is a maelstrom of chemical activity. Each cell senses the chemicals in the blood flowing by and takes in and releases a flow of chemicals that we have a lot of names for, like amino acids, enzymes, protein, hormones, lipids, and so on through a very long list. It builds some molecules and and takes others apart depending on what is in the blood and what the rest of the body needs. It neutralizes toxins and manages energy storage. When any of those 500 jobs fails there is a consequence to your health. Nowhere else in the body is the business of life as concentrated as it is within a single liver cell. The central miracle of your life is how the liver can possibly function as well as it does so that you are able to ignore it for decades.
These tiny dynamos stand in the flow of polluted fluid you deliver to it each moment and work without respite to protect you and provide you with the chemicals that you need to live. Your life will be better if you understand the fact that when you are kind to your liver every other organ and tissue will be better off.
I hold these truths to be self-evident: if your goal is to stay alive, the best strategy is to fuel your body as efficiently as possible and to avoid ingesting harmful things. There is a lot of information on our website if you want to learn more.
If you are interested in things like how triglycerides are managed consider our short Kindle book.
Let's All Ride On The Triglyceride