The liver is an important part of the body. It filters blood, detoxifies chemicals and metabolises drugs. In total, the liver has over 500 functions in the body, including breaking down about one alcoholic drink per hour. As one of the most important organs in the body, the liver is usually low maintenance, operating quietly and efficiently. The only time liver troubles become noticeable is if something of serious concern happens. When this occurs, unusual symptoms may develop. Dr Vikki Petersen, certified clinical nutritionist and certified functional medicine practitioner spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk to discuss the four lesser-known warning symptoms your liver may be in trouble.
Skin conditions such as eczema or acne
Dr Petersen explained: “Your body tries to rid itself of toxins in any way it can and one organ it uses is your skin, your largest organ.
“Toxins that your liver is trying to eliminate will be delivered to the skin.
“The result is unhealthy skin conditions including rashes, eczema, acne or hives.”
Chemical sensitivity or alcohol intoxication
One of the lesser-known warning symptoms can include drinking small amounts of alcohol resulting in intoxication or a new onset of sensitivity towards alcohol.
Patients state that they “suddenly” cannot tolerate any alcohol without feeling horrible, or that they seem more sensitive to chemicals in their environment, said Dr Petersen.
“This is something to pay attention to because your liver is trying to tell you that it is overwhelmed and cannot deal with these additional toxins coming your way.”
Dr Vikki Petersen goes on to add: “If your liver is malfunctioning you can notice a variety of symptoms.
“Early on digestive complaints such as diarrhoea, indigestion, intolerance to fatty foods can all occur.
“Weight gain or loss, lethargy, dark circles under your eyes, chemical sensitivity, bruising easily and skin conditions such as acne or eczema can occur.
“Hormonal imbalance is also a result of poor liver function. The classic liver disease, cirrhosis, associated with alcoholism, has been replaced, thanks to our terrible diet and poor lifestyle choices, with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a “new” disease that causes devastation to liver function despite the patient not abusing alcohol.
“The good news is that the liver “loves” to heal and is readily repaired unless too much damage has occurred.”