How High Blood Sugar Harm the Liver?

Blood Glucose Level Test
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The largest internal organ in the human body, the liver serves seemingly countless functions. It regulates blood clotting, removes toxins from the bloodstream, and defends against infection by producing immune factors, among many other roles. But perhaps its most essential purpose is to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

The liver acts as a reservoir of glucose to provide the body with energy, when needed. To continually replenish this reserve, your liver stores sugar from the food you consume, much like charging a battery. Unfortunately, when you consume excessive amounts of sugar and carbohydrates for long periods of time, the liver cannot store it all. The body converts this excess sugar into fat and stashes it throughout the body: around your midsection, in your chest, on your thighs, and even inside your liver.

Fatty Tissue in the Liver
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However, the liver is a less than ideal place for your body to accumulate this fatty tissue. While slight accumulation may not cause much harm, continual storage of lipids in the organ can damage liver cells and cause inflammation. This impairs your liver's ability to perform its other essential bodily functions and can eventually lead to serious conditions such as fibrosis, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer.

For this reason, reducing blood sugar levels is crucial to prevent fatty buildup and keep your liver healthy. A recent study out of Duke University confirmed this fact when they found that elevated blood glucose levels over the course of one year resulted in more severe swelling of liver cells. The researchers determined that for every 1 percentage point increase in a subject's A1C levels, a measure of average glucose levels, the odds of severe liver fibrosis increased by 15%.

If you have elevated blood sugar levels, maintaining a healthy diet with limited sugar consumption is essential for maintaining proper liver function. Consider talking with your doctor about consulting with a certified dietician to establish an eating plan that suits your unique situation to keep your liver in good health.



Paul has been interested in medical research since his first organic chemistry class in college. He was a high school biology teacher for 32 years until retiring to spend more time reading, hiking, and camping with his wife and two dogs.

Email Paul at [email protected].


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