The liver is responsible for cleaning and detoxifying the blood. It also helps blood to clot properly. It enables the body to absorb proteins, vitamins and carbohydrates, and provides glucose. The liver performs so many key functions that should it fail, no manmade device could fully replicate its duties. Since the liver is the primary spot for detoxification and promotion of nutrient absorption everything a person ingests gets sent there, including alcohol. Alcohol undergoes an ingenious chemical conversion process in the liver where the ethanol is converted into acetic acid, then into acetate, with harmful ingredients either being absorbed by the liver or sent outside the body in the urine stream. The liver is a marvelous organ that protects the body from the poison of alcohol by watering it down and eliminating it.
But this wonderful transformation comes at a cost. While the liver is busy detoxifying alcohol it cannot at the same time do something else it was meant to do, which is to produce glucose. The brain needs glucose like a car needs fuel. Without enough glucose a person can feel the pain of its absence in the form of headache. The body may feel overly tired and may even vomit. Sound like a hangover? That’s what liver fatigue looks and feels like.
A hangover rarely lasts more than a day, but regular heavy drinking can do far more damage to the liver than merely tax its capabilities. As the liver breaks down and absorbs alcohol fat is deposited. Over time fat builds up in the liver cells and can turn into fatty liver disease. The same thing can happen when a person eats too many fatty foods.
Fatty liver disease causes inflammation of liver tissues. This occurs in 90-100 percent of people who drink more than recommended amounts. If a person stops overdrinking at this point and adopts a more healthy lifestyle of exercise and improved nutrition the problem may be reversed.
If a person does not cease overdrinking, fatty liver disease progresses. Next, the liver tissues becomes thickened and less pliable, and the liver functions less efficiently. Unchecked, cirrhosis may occur. Here the liver becomes hardened and unable to do the chore of purification. The buildup of toxins and waste materials will eventually poison and kill the body.