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Drinking enough water every day is essential for a healthy liver, and keeps your whole body functioning at peak performance. Water makes up about 60 percent of your physical composition, and is vital for nutrient transport throughout your system. It also provides moisture for tissues in your ears, nose and throat. If you don't consume an adequate volume of water, you risk dehydration. This can sap you of energy and also lead to more serious health risks, including reduced liver function.
The Liver and Water
Among other functions, your liver works as a filter to remove potentially harmful substances from your body. Dehydration can make your liver less efficient in filtering out toxins like alcohol, leaving you more vulnerable to poisoning. In fact, you will have a higher blood-alcohol concentration if you drink alcoholic beverages without getting enough water. While there is no specific amount of water to drink for a healthy liver, following normal guidelines will help your liver do its job. According to The Institute of Medicine, the average man should drink about 13 cups of liquid per day, and the average woman should drink about 9 cups.
About the Liver
Your liver is the largest internal organ in your body and performs more than 400 tasks to keep your body running smoothly. It removes or chemically alters toxic substances that you ingest, such as drugs and pollutants. Your liver also turns food into nutrients, produces proteins for blood clotting and stores vitamins and minerals for your body to use in the future. Your liver sits in your abdominal region on the right side of your stomach.
Your liver and all other organs depend on water to work properly. Every day you lose water through sweat, urine and even breathing. You must consume water through beverages and food to replenish these lost stores. The amount of water you need to drink can vary according to your lifestyle, environment and health. If you exercise, you need extra hydration. The same is true if you live in a hot climate, if you have fever or diarrhea or if you are breastfeeding. You can gauge your hydration level by the color of your urine. It should be clear or pale yellow; dark urine indicates dehydration.
Keeping your Liver Healthy
Besides drinking water, there are a number of steps you can take to promote liver function. According to the Vermont Department of Health, maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in exercise is good for your liver. It also recommends limiting alcohol consumption to one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men. Excess alcohol can lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis. Getting vaccinated for hepatitis A and B, and getting tested for hepatitis C, can also help you protect your liver.
- United States Department of Veteran Affairs: Keeping Your Liver Healthy