The liver is an important organ which is responsible for a lot of essential tasks to life. Everything that is consumed passes down into the intestines where the food and drink are metabolized into various molecules which are passed into the blood stream and sent to the liver.
Not only does the liver filter out the “bad” from the “good” from what is sent from the intestines, it also plays an important role in producing blood clotting factors (proteins that help blood cloting) and helping to control glucose levels in the blood. When liver is severely damaged, it can no longer remove these toxic molecules or produce the vital elements. In addition, the sick liver releases toxic molecules. A combination of all these factors (including an accumulation of toxins in the blood) affects the brain from properly functioning, causing HE.
One of these molecules is ammonia, and is central in HE pathogenesis. Inflammation and oxidative stress are other factors which can be detrimental to the brain. These factors can be released into the blood stream as a result of the damaged liver or can be produced locally in the brain.