Your liver can regenerate — heal itself, but how do you know when this is happening? Here are the signs your liver is getting healthier.
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It’s important to know that your liver can heal and regenerate. As the liver heals, positive changes occur throughout the body. The changes can include improvements in how your digestive system functions, the way your skin looks and feels, increased mental clarity, and higher energy levels.
When your liver regenerates, you may notice some effects. Signs your liver is healing include:
- Reduced brain fog: When your liver isn’t functioning as it should, it can create a backup of toxins in your system. This can make it hard for you to think clearly, leading to confusion and brain fog. But liver healing may improve your ability to focus and sharpen your memory.
- Increased energy: Reduced liver function can negatively affect your metabolism. This can leave you feeling fatigued and sluggish. But when your liver rebounds, your energy can rebound, too.
- Reduced pain: Liver inflammation can be painful. As your liver regenerates, the inflammation can decrease, and your pain may lessen, too.
- Stabilized weight: Your liver’s relationship with your metabolism means that liver function can affect your weight. It’s common for people experiencing liver disease to have both nutritional deficiencies and unintentional weight gain. But you may be able to manage your weight more easily the more your liver heals.
- Restored skin and eye color: When your liver stops working correctly, toxins build up in your body. High concentrations of toxins can cause the yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes. The usual color of your skin and eyes can return through the healing process.
- Increased appetite: Digesting foods and nutrients can become easier as the liver healing continues. Usually, your appetite can improve as well.
- Improved blood work: Liver healing can lower toxin levels in your blood and improve liver function. You can see evidence of these improvements in your lab work.
Yes, your liver can heal and regenerate. Liver tissue can grow back after it experiences damage or a doctor removes it. This is because the liver can enlarge existing liver cells. New liver cells then grow and multiply in the injury or removal area.
However, liver disease can affect your liver’s ability to heal. Scarring and inflammation can slow down and even stop healing.
Withdrawal from alcohol
Quitting alcohol, if possible, is an important step that can help your liver heal. The first week away from drinking can cause withdrawal symptoms as your body adjusts to not having alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms can include:
- increased heart rate and blood pressure
Learn more about how to stop drinking alcohol.
Healing can begin within the first few days after drinking stops. Depending on the severity of the damage, complete healing can take weeks or months.
However, not all damage is reversible. If liver damage is extensive and has been long-term, it might not be possible to reverse all of it. Your doctor will discuss the extent of your liver damage, and how much of it can heal, with you.
You might have seen liver “detox” drinks advertised or sitting on store shelves. These could look like a good idea, but there’s no evidence these drinks do anything to help your liver.
Your liver detoxes and heals itself. You don’t need to spend money on detox products. However, there are some steps you can take to help your liver as it heals.
Your liver is responsible for more than 500 essential body functions, including regulating chemical levels and processing substances in your blood so that your body can use them appropriately. Other important functions of the liver include:
- producing bile, blood proteins, and cholesterol
- converting poisonous ammonia to urea that your body can pass through your urine
- processing hemoglobin so that your body can use it as iron
- storing iron
- clearing medications, drugs, toxins, and other poisonous substances from the blood
- controlling blood clotting
- making immune factors
- removing bacteria from the bloodstream and bilirubin from blood cells
Liver disease refers to several different conditions that cause harm to your liver. Liver disease can progress with time and lead to liver scarring, called cirrhosis. If scar tissue replaces enough healthy liver tissue, your liver will not function as it should. It is important to get treatment for liver disease to avoid liver failure.
There are multiple types of liver disease, including:
- Hepatitis: It creates liver swelling. An infection causes hepatitis types A, B, and C.
- Autoimmune hepatitis: It also creates liver swelling, but infection does not cause it. Instead, it occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your liver, causing inflammation.
- Liver cancer: It involves tumor growth on the liver.
- Fatty liver disease: It occurs when fat builds around the liver. Sometimes, heavy alcohol use causes this. But it’s possible to develop fatty liver even if you don’t drink alcohol.
- Wilson’s disease: It involves too much copper building up in your liver.
- Hemochromatosis: It involves too much iron building up in your liver.
The liver can regenerate and heal, and doctors can cure many liver diseases or manage them if you get early treatment. However, liver disease is serious. Getting treatment as soon as possible can help you prevent permanent damage.
It’s important to get regular check-ups and liver panels to keep an eye on your liver health. That can help doctors detect potential liver disease early and provide treatment right away.
You can learn more about liver healing by reading the answers to some common questions below.
Can you prevent liver disease?
Not all liver disease can be preventable, but you can take these steps to reduce your risk:
- Limit or avoid alcohol intake, red meat, trans fat, and high fructose corn syrup.
- Get plenty of exercise.
- Be careful with your medication intake, including over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen.
- Use a barrier method during sexual activity, if possible.
What are the symptoms of liver disease?
The exact symptoms of liver disease depend on the specific liver disease you have. For instance, fatty liver disease sometimes has no symptoms at all. However, there are some symptoms that are common among multiple liver diseases. These include:
- tight-sided stomach pain
- easy bruising
- swollen arms and legs
- changes to your stool and urine color
Can any other organs or body regenerate?
Your liver is the part of your body with the greatest ability to heal and regenerate, but it’s not the only one. Other parts of your body that can regenerate include:
- intestine linings
- brain cells and connections
- cornea layers
- skin cells
- bones after they break
Getting liver disease treatment can prevent liver failure and even death. Additionally, it’s possible to reverse many cases of liver damage. In many cases, your liver can regenerate and heal after just a few months.
As your liver heals, you’ll start to feel positive health effects throughout your body, including increased energy, better mental clarity, improved digestion, better skin health, and more.
The sooner you manage your liver disease and take steps to heal your liver, the more your likelihood of reversing liver damage can improve.