After your skin, your liver is the second largest organ in your body. Often overlooked, your liver performs a variety of vital tasks.
It is the do-everything organ, helping your body process fats, synthesize proteins, regulate blood clotting factors, and remove harmful toxins from blood.
Viruses, drug use—including common drugs like acetaminophen—poisons, and alcohol use can cause liver damage. Fortunately, your liver has the ability to repair itself.
#1 Jaundice (Yellow Skin Discoloration)
Medical research demonstrates that jaundice is one of the first signs of potential liver problems. Jaundice occurs when your liver fails to properly filter your blood of Bilirubin, a pigment in bile that is created in your liver to help with digestive processes.
If Bilirubin is not properly filtered, your skin and nails begin to turn yellow. The yellowish color is first noticeable on your palms and the soles of your feet.
#2 Skin Sensitivity and Skin Problems
Because your liver plays a vital role in blood clotting, liver problems often result in skin problems and increased skin sensitivity. A 2013 medical study tied blood clotting problems to skin disorders and, as this 2011 study exhibits, medical doctors have long recognized the link between the liver and blood clotting disorders.
Doctor Cindy Owen of the American Academy of Dermatology argues that changes in your skin like new rashes, growths, color differences, and changes in texture can be the first sign of liver problems.
#3 High Levels of Cholesterol and Blood Clotting Disorders
Your liver processes cholesterol, so when it starts to become toxic, your blood cholesterol levels rise. Improving your diet will help your liver recover and lower your cholesterol, even if liver toxicity is the culprit. The Harvard Medical School published a helpful article in 2005 that explains the liver’s role in cholesterol production and regulation.
#4 Loss of Energy and Fatigue
When you get sick, your body responds with chemical messengers called cytokines. Cytokines regulate your body’s inflammation response and in turn trigger a number of physical symptoms that make you feel like you are sick.
Increased cytokines are often seen in alcoholic liver disease, a primary type of liver toxicity researched by doctors who determined that the immune response they trigger include loss of appetite, general fatigue and lack of motivation.
If you are feeling a loss of energy, fatigue, or general feelings of unexplained illness, it may be due to liver toxicity. Consider improving your diet and allowing your liver to recover. It can repair itself if you improve what you put into your body early enough in the process.
#5 Fluid Retention in the Abdomen
Fluid retention in your abdomen could be a dangerous sign of developing or advanced liver disease that needs to be treated immediately. According to doctors, fluid retention in the abdomen is the leading complication of cirrhosis—or advanced liver disease.
You will undoubtedly experience other symptoms before liver toxicity reaches this stage. If left untreated, water retention can lead to abdominal infections
#6 Lack of Appetite
Lack of appetite or feeling full sooner—what doctors call early satiety—is frequently attributed to an increased concentration of the hormone leptin.
Studies into leptin and the liver are complex, however, researchers in a 2012 study identified a link between high levels of leptin and a high fat diet and elevated leptin levels are one recognized sign of chronic liver disease.
You should consult a doctor if you experience any of these six symptoms of liver toxicity. It may be important to change your diet, avoid alcohol and drugs that cause liver inflammation, or undergo treatment for liver disease.
If you pay attention to your body and keep your diet clean, balanced, and healthy, you can avoid most of the problems associated with your liver.