The Liver’s Vital Functions: Insights from Dr. Martin Rutherford

In this informative video by Dr. Martin Rutherford, part of the Functional Medicine Back to Basics series, the liver and its role in chronic conditions is discussed. Dr. Rutherford emphasizes that the video is for educational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. He highlights the importance of consulting with a physician or qualified health provider for any medical questions or concerns. The video covers various aspects of the liver’s functions, including detoxification, symptoms of liver problems, the connection between liver and gallbladder issues, and the impact of liver dysfunction on weight gain. Dr. Rutherford also mentions the potential benefits and initial discomfort of a liver cleanse, and he teases the topic of the next video in the series, which will focus on the adrenal glands.

The Liver’s Vital Functions


The liver is an incredibly important organ in the human body, performing a wide range of vital functions. It plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and is especially significant in chronic conditions. Understanding the liver’s functions and how it impacts our health is essential for ensuring optimal well-being.

Importance of Liver in Chronic Conditions

When it comes to chronic conditions, the liver’s role cannot be underestimated. The liver is involved in numerous bodily processes, including detoxification, metabolism, and nutrient storage. Its dysfunction can lead to a variety of health issues, making it crucial to keep the liver healthy and functioning optimally.

Liver’s Role in Chronic Conditions

Overview of the Liver

Before diving into the liver’s functions, let’s start with an overview of what the liver actually is. The liver is a large organ located in the upper right side of the abdomen, just below the diaphragm. It has a unique structure and plays a vital role in maintaining overall health.

Liver’s Functions

The liver has many important functions that are essential for our well-being. One of its primary functions is detoxification, where it neutralizes and eliminates toxins from the body. Additionally, the liver is responsible for the metabolism of nutrients, including proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It also plays a crucial role in storing and processing essential nutrients.

Liver and Detoxification

Detoxification is one of the key functions of the liver. The liver processes various toxins and harmful substances that enter our body, transforming them into less harmful compounds. This detoxification process helps protect our organs and tissues from damage caused by these toxins. Liver detoxification is essential for maintaining overall health and well-being.

The Livers Vital Functions: Insights from Dr. Martin Rutherford

Overview of the Liver

Definition and Location

The liver is a large, reddish-brown organ located in the upper right side of the abdomen. It is the largest solid organ in the body and weighs approximately three to four pounds. Its location just below the diaphragm allows it to efficiently perform its vital functions.

Size and Structure

The liver is divided into four lobes – the right lobe, left lobe, caudate lobe, and quadrate lobe. Each lobe has a unique structure and contributes to the overall functioning of the liver. It has a smooth, shiny surface and is composed of specialized liver cells called hepatocytes.

Blood Supply to the Liver

The liver has a unique and extensive blood supply. It receives blood from two sources – the hepatic artery and the portal vein. The hepatic artery delivers oxygenated blood to the liver, while the portal vein carries nutrient-rich blood from the intestines. This dual blood supply allows the liver to perform its essential functions.

Liver’s Functions


The liver is responsible for detoxifying harmful substances and toxins that enter our body. It neutralizes and eliminates these toxins through various metabolic processes. This detoxification process is crucial for protecting our organs and maintaining overall health.


The liver plays a significant role in the metabolism of various nutrients. It processes proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, converting them into usable forms for the body. The liver also produces bile, which helps in the digestion and absorption of dietary fats.

Nutrient Storage and Processing

The liver acts as a storage site for several essential nutrients. It stores vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin D, and iron. These stored nutrients are released into the bloodstream whenever the body needs them. Additionally, the liver processes and converts nutrients into forms that can be utilized by the body.

The Livers Vital Functions: Insights from Dr. Martin Rutherford

Liver and Detoxification

Detoxification Process

Liver detoxification is a complex process that involves several enzymatic reactions. The liver metabolizes toxins into water-soluble compounds, making them easier to eliminate from the body. This process occurs in two phases, each involving specific enzymes and reactions.

Importance of Liver Detoxification

Liver detoxification is crucial for maintaining overall health and preventing the accumulation of toxins in the body. By eliminating harmful substances, the liver helps protect our organs and tissues from damage. A properly functioning liver detoxification process is essential for optimal well-being.

Common Toxins and Liver Detoxification

The liver detoxifies a wide range of toxins, including environmental pollutants, alcohol, medications, and metabolic by-products. These toxins can have detrimental effects on our health if not adequately eliminated. Proper liver detoxification ensures that these toxins are safely processed and eliminated from the body.

Liver Detoxification and Overall Health

Optimal liver detoxification is crucial for maintaining overall health and well-being. It not only helps protect our organs and tissues but also supports other bodily functions. By ensuring that the liver is functioning optimally, we can improve our overall health and prevent the onset of chronic conditions.

Symptoms of Liver Problems


Liver dysfunction can manifest in various ways, including skin issues such as acne. When the liver is unable to properly detoxify harmful substances, it can result in skin problems like acne.

Hair Loss

Liver dysfunction can also contribute to hair loss. Poor liver function can impact nutrient absorption, leading to deficiencies that affect hair health and growth.


Bloating and digestive issues can be a sign of liver problems. The liver plays a crucial role in processing and breaking down food, and dysfunction can lead to digestive discomfort.

Hormonal Imbalances

The liver is involved in hormone regulation and clearance. When the liver isn’t functioning optimally, it can lead to hormonal imbalances and related symptoms such as irregular periods and mood swings.

Foul-Smelling Sweat

Foul-smelling sweat can be an indicator of liver issues. When the liver is unable to efficiently detoxify the body, toxins can be released through sweat, resulting in an unpleasant odor.

The Livers Vital Functions: Insights from Dr. Martin Rutherford

Causes of Liver Problems

Fatty Liver

Fatty liver is a common liver condition often caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices, including excessive alcohol consumption and a high intake of processed foods. It occurs when fat accumulates in the liver, impairing its function.

Poor Diet

A poor diet, high in processed foods, unhealthy fats, and added sugars, can significantly impact liver health. Consuming a diet rich in whole foods, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins is essential for maintaining a healthy liver.

Blood Sugar Issues

Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can also contribute to liver problems. Conditions like diabetes and insulin resistance can increase the risk of liver dysfunction and the development of fatty liver disease.

Link Between Liver and Bowel Function

Liver and Gallbladder Problems

The liver and the gallbladder are closely linked and work together to support digestion. Any issues with the liver can affect the gallbladder’s ability to release bile, leading to digestive problems.

Poor Bowel Function

The liver plays a crucial role in maintaining proper bowel function. When the liver is unable to process and eliminate toxins effectively, it can impact overall bowel health, leading to constipation and other digestive issues.

Liver Dysfunction and Weight Gain

Impact of Liver Dysfunction on Weight

Liver dysfunction can have a significant impact on weight management. When the liver is not functioning optimally, it can lead to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.

Metabolism and Fat Processing

The liver is responsible for metabolizing fats and processing them for energy. When the liver is not functioning properly, it can impact the body’s ability to process and utilize dietary fats, leading to weight gain.

Weight Gain as a Symptom of Liver Dysfunction

Unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight can be a symptom of liver dysfunction. The liver’s role in metabolism and fat processing makes it a crucial organ for maintaining a healthy weight.


The liver is an essential organ that performs numerous vital functions in the body. It is involved in detoxification, metabolism, and nutrient storage and processing. Maintaining a healthy liver is crucial for overall health and well-being. Understanding the symptoms and causes of liver problems is essential for recognizing and addressing any issues that may arise. By prioritizing liver health, we can support optimal bodily functions and prevent the onset of chronic conditions.

Future Topic: Adrenal Glands

In our next installment of the Functional Medicine Back to Basics series, we will delve into the topic of adrenal glands. The adrenal glands play a crucial role in the body’s stress response and hormone regulation. We will explore their functions and discuss how adrenal gland dysfunction can impact our health. Stay tuned for more valuable insights into functional medicine and optimizing your well-being.

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