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Suffering with digestive problems? It could be a sluggish Gallbladder

Most people attribute digestive conditions to a problem with the stomach or intestines.  Not many realize it could be a problem with bile.

Could this be the case for you?

Try our checklist.  Do you experience any of the following:

  • Bloating after eating
  • Burping after eating
  • Intolerance to fatty foods
  • Reflux after eating
  • Discomfort over the right upper abdomen that may go through to your back
  • Discomfort in the right shoulder from pain referred from the gallbladder
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Stomach cramps after eating
  • A history of gallstones
  • A history of gallbladder surgery

If you answer yes to 2 or more of these problems you could have a problem with your bile

Your liver cells make fluid called bile, which is secreted into the bile ducts and then flows to the small intestine. Your gallbladder stores bile; when you eat a meal that contains fat, your gallbladder contracts to release concentrated bile into the small intestine. If your gallbladder is not functioning well, you will not release adequate bile into the gut. If you have lost your gallbladder you will not be able to concentrate or store bile for the extra spurt of bile you need when you have a meal.

What does lack of bile cause?

  • Reduced ability to absorb fat-soluble vitamins – these are vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin K and vitamin D and they need efficient digestion of fats to be absorbed; thus you can become depleted of these fat-soluble antioxidants.
  • Poor elimination of toxins via the bile (these are eliminated in the bowel actions)
  • Poor breakdown and digestion of fats

No wonder you will find yourself feeling uncomfortable after eating. You will also find that you have problems controlling your weight even though you are not eating more than normal. You will also have a higher risk of developing a fatty liver.

To produce healthy bile you need healthy liver cells and healthy bile ducts. To get the extra spurt of bile you need during a meal you need a gallbladder that is functioning well.

Medications can upset your liver

If you are taking prescription medications such as cholesterol lowering drugs, pain killers, the oral contraceptive pill, oral estrogens, cortisone or anti-inflammatory drugs, your liver cells may not produce adequate amounts of healthy bile. Your poor liver will not cope unless you give it extra help. Toxins will accumulate in your liver and cause your complexion to deteriorate; you may find that you see the appearance of brown liver spots on your skin.

You can see that your gallbladder is precious! It is worrying that over half a million Americans have their gallbladders removed every year! In many instances this could have been avoided.

A study reported in the British Journal of Surgery found that 40% of patients who had their gallbladder removed did not get relief of their symptoms.

Over 60% of gallbladder surgeries are unnecessary and in many patients removing the gallbladder does not relieve symptoms.

I have seen patients who have had their gallbladder removed and think that they will never have problems again. Unfortunately, they often grow more stones in the bile ducts higher up inside their liver and the same pain recurs. Stones higher up in the bile ducts can lead to chronic painful liver cysts.

So you may have been through surgery for nothing! It makes sense to treat the cause.

I have formulated Livatone to give your liver cells and bile ducts the extra help they desperately need. Livatone contains the most important liver herbs – Milk Thistle, Dandelion and Globe Artichoke combined with taurine, which is an amino acid your liver cells need to make healthy bile. Extra ingredients are vegetable powders and psyllium fiber. Psyllium can bind cholesterol and toxins and carry them out of your body via the bile. Livatone also contains lecithin to help keep cholesterol soluble.

Did you know you can have a Low-Functioning Gallbladder and have no gallstones and that your ultrasound scan of the gallbladder can look normal? – so it’s hard to diagnose! This condition of low functioning gallbladder is called “acalculous Gallbladder Disease”

Acalculous Gallbladder Disease is a disorder of your gallbladder without gallstones. In this condition the gallbladder does not contract properly and its walls may be thickened and inflamed. The most accurate way to measure the function of your gallbladder is called a HIDA scan, which your doctor can order.

A HIDA scan is a nuclear medicine imaging test that tracks the production and flow of bile from your liver via your bile ducts and gallbladder and thence to your small intestine. . The HIDA scan uses a radioactive tracer to enhance the bile ducts and gallbladder and how well the bile is flowing into the small intestine. A HIDA scan can measure how well the gallbladder is ejecting (squirting out) bile.

It is a very useful test as it shows how well your liver, bile ducts and gallbladder are working. An ultrasound scan only shows the shape and size of the liver and gallbladder and if there are any stones but an ultrasound scan will not show if the bile ducts and gallbladder are functioning well. Thus you can have a normal result on your ultrasound scan but your bile ducts and gallbladder may still be functioning very poorly and indeed may be diseased.
A HIDA scan, which stands for Hepatobiliary Imino Diacetic Acid scan, shows pictures of your liver, gallbladder, bile ducts and duodenum. The HIDA scan gives a percentage of bile ejection from the gallbladder. Normal ejection fractions range between 33 and 40%.

A HIDA scan is extremely safe but rarely an allergic reaction to the medications used in the scan can occur or a rash may occur.

Nuclear medicine tests, such as the HIDA scan, are generally avoided in pregnant women.

The risks of radiation from a HIDA scan are miniscule and don’t compare to the risks of undiagnosed gallbladder disease.

The amount of radioactive tracer injected during a HIDA scan is very small and gives off radiation for several hours only; it then becomes inactive. The gamma camera that takes pictures of your organs during the HIDA scan doesn’t give off any radiation.

Tips to improve a low functioning gallbladder:

  • Take a supplement of ox bile. This will help to supplement your bile level if you are not producing enough, or if your gallbladder is not ejecting enough. Ox bile also helps to make your bile more thin and liquid, thus reducing the risk of gallstones
  • Take a magnesium supplement such as Magnesium Complete or Magnesium Ultrapotent powder to help the gallbladder to contract
  • Drink a raw juice of ginger, carrot, mint, basil and orange each day
  • Pour two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into a small glass of warm water and sip it before your meals

Sometimes the gallbladder is so diseased that it must be removed to save your life. But be vigilant as after your gallbladder is gone your liver and bile ducts will need extra support. Otherwise you may get a fatty liver or more stones in your bile ducts much higher up in your liver.

It is important to remember that your liver is the most important cleansing and fat burning organ in your body- don’t take it for granted that it will continue to be healthy in this toxic day and age!

The Livatone Formula can help, even if you have lost your gallbladder because it supports the production of healthy bile and the flow of bile.


For more information, please read our book, “Save your Gallbladder naturally – and what to do if you’ve already lost it”.


The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.


  1. Hi.
    Since October last year Ive been experiencing right flank pain, mainly in my back below bottom rib. I also have lots of burping too.

    The main trigger is after Ive drank alcohol, but also have had it after fatty food, spicy food, caffiene and dark chocolate.

    Im not in much pain at all, I can just feel a tenderness there on the right, coupled with increased burping after eating / drinking something that doesnt agree.

    Had blood tests at doctor, all clear, bar low iron level. Had ultrasound which was all clear.

    Doctor started me on Lansoprazole pre-Christmas (to see if it was gastric issue). Since then, symptoms no worse (despite not changing diet over festive period) but also not really any better.

    Im due to go back to the doctors next week but wondered your thoughts? Could it be gallbladder related despite no stones?

    • Hi Kat,

      It may be due to gall bladder inflammation, which can be caused by food allergies or in some cases bacterial infection within the gallbladder or bile ducts.
      Proton pump inhibiting drugs such as Lansoprazole are not recommended as a long term treatment, as they can impair absorption of important nutrients.
      Following a liver and gallbladder friendly diet and identifying foods that may be causing allergies is a safer alternative.
      The Save Your Gallbladder Naturally book explains gallbladder disease and treatment in detail. You can purchase it here: http://shop.liverdoctor.com/save-your-gallbladder.html

      We recommend you continue to be monitored by your doctor to exclude any more serious problems.

      Kind Regards,
      Jessah Robinson
      Nutritional Consultant for Liverdoctor.com

      • Hi Kat,

        We also recommend you go gluten and dairy free.

        Kind Regards,
        Jessah Robinson
        Nutritional Consultant for Liverdoctor.com

  2. I went to dr for severe abdominal pain August,dr gave me lincess bc I was severly constipated,nausea,sweats.Then went ER in September,had ultrasound done said my gallbladder has a lot of sludge in it. Went to dr had Ekg done for rapid heart rate, faintness,said I had a perfect heart.Went back to ER,December2016 for head pains and still getting bloated,constipated,nauseated, Dr.said he didn’t think my gallbladder was contracting.Went to my dr he scheduled me a colonoscopy screening in February bc Ive had rectal bleeding.I get really fatigue at times,and other times I feel fine,then I feel fine after I eat I feel miserable,I have to take a laxative bc I get blocked up,it’s the only way to get relief.What can I do?Dr’s have two different views.

    • Hi Tonya,

      Rectal bleeding indicates haemorrhoids, and it is best to keep your bowels regular and soft.

      If your doctor thinks your gallbladder is not working, a HIDA scan is the best way to determine this.

      Ask doctor to test your vitamin D, Liver Function Tests, TSH.

      Remove all gluten, processed food, High Fructose Corn Syrup containing products, sugar, soda – including those containing artificial sweeteners.

      Eat a diet high in fresh colorful vegetables, and some fruit every day. Ensure you have a variety of protein food daily.

      Dr Cabot recommends you begin taking

      Livatone Plus – 2 capsules twice daily, to improve liver function.

      N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC 600mg) – 2 capsules twice daily well away from food, if any upset occurs take at the beginning of your meals. This supplement works well with Livatone Plus to get your liver better faster. This supplement hastens liver healing. This supplement is the precursor nutrient of glutathione; the body’s strongest anti-oxidant.

      Colon Cleanse – begin taking 2 capsules twice daily until bowel movements are regular and then reduce to 2 capsules daily to keep the bowel functioning regularly.

      Tyrosine Mood Food – 1 teaspoon two to three times daily to improve depression symptoms and enhance mood. Take in a small amount of filtered water away from food.

      You may purchase these supplements at http://shop.liverdoctor.com/supplements.html

      Kind Regards,
      Jessah Robinson
      Nutritional Consultant

  3. I was in the ER 3 days ago. The Dr. said that my ultrasound did not show any problems with my gallbladder; but the ultrasound technician with 30 years experience told me that my gallbladder should have been full 6 hours after eating. I have pain in my abdomen, spleen and my kidneys; I burp a lot mainly after eating and I’m very bloated. The very young ER Dr. said that gas has been pushing my organs, that that causes the pain. I’ve suffered digestive problems all my life. Could my gallbladder possibly be the problem?

  4. Thank you for this help! I went to my doctor in pain for 4 days knowing it was my sluggish gallbladder. I also know I have a fatty liver. I am trying not to have to go yo the emergency room to have this taken care of and hope I am not too late to take care of this myself. Everything you have described is what I have been dealing with for years!

  5. I’m in the middle of deciding whether I should have my gallbladder removed. I was misdiagnosed for gastritis 3 years ago when I had a gallbladder attack. All along I was taking Zantac, thinking it was gastritis. At that time, they saw some multiple 4mm gallbladder polyps in the gallbladder in the ultrasound which the gastro doctor thought they were harmless polyps. Recently, in November, I have had a major gallbladder attack after eating some fried snacks for a weeks. I was experiencing pain not only in my right quadrant, but shoulder, arms and back and also chills. I went for the ultrasound which confirmed a mass (polyp)? measuring 1.1cm among others which are 5mm in the gallbladder with a slightly dilated 8mm bile duct. Then doc ordered a Hidascan where they found no obstructions of any gallstones, but the gallbladder ejection refraction was at 15% instead of the normal 35%. So, the recommendation was to remove it because doc said the gallbladder is diseased … not pumping bile properly and the 1.1cm polyp (mass) is a concern…

    With my existing condition, I’m wondering if there’s any hope left for me to still save this gallbladder through good nutrition and supplements. I’m still feeling tired, fatigue and pain intermittently and chills at times. I started on Now Super Enzymes which contains 100mg of Ox Bile which seems to help a little. I’d appreciate any insight you may have here.

    I’m thankful for stumbling across this website and look forward to your comment.

    • Hi Rosemary,

      You have gallbladder inflammation and your gallbladder is not working well.
      Dr Cabot agrees that you should have the gallbladder removed as it could be infected.
      You then need to take Ox Bile capsules 1 – 2 in middle of every meal.
      Dr Cabot also recommends that you take Livatone Plus capsules, 2 capsules twice daily so that your liver can start to make healthy bile.
      You should read our book: ‘Save Your Gallbladder Naturally and What to Do If You’ve Already Lost It’.

      Kind Regards,
      Jessah Robinson
      Nutritional Consultant

  6. I would appriciate your input.
    I had a gallbladder attack in 2014. I was diagnosed with two gallstones (1cm and 1.2cm)
    I havent had one since and I have really cleaned up my diet. I’m seeing a functional medicine doctor who did blood tests, a hormone panel, OAT, and a stool analysis. He has been very thorough.
    He gave me curcum-evail to take every night before bed, and also a liver gallbladder complex.
    He believes these are safe for me and will be very beneficial. What are your thoughts?
    I have no negative symptoms of my liver or gallbladder other than aching if I’m experiencing a herxheimer reaction.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Sharon,

      It is appropriate to follow the guidance of your Functional Practitioner.

      The Curcum-evail sounds fantastic and unfortunately we are unable to make contact on the liver-gallbladder mix.

      Herxheimer reactions are usually the result of bacterial die off in the intestines and if this is the case we recommend you have 1 to 2 tablespoons of flaxseed or chia meal daily to absorb the released toxins, whether they be of liver or dead bacteria origin.

      Kind Regards,
      Jessah Robinson
      Nutritional Consultant

  7. I’ve been have mild to moderate right rib and back pain for the last month, with nausea on many days, as well as general go cramping. All of my tests came out good except for my HIDA scan – my GB didn’t show up for the first two hours and then later two hours later it did show up. So they say my gallbladder isn’t working quite normally but since I’m not in severe pain I may not need surgery and I’d like to avoid it! I’m concerned about taking on bile as I think I already have a lot of bile possibly upsetting my G.I. system since my GB isn’t working right. What supplements would you recommend? I’m on a very low-fat, absolutely no sugar, gluten free, dairy free, very high soluble fibre (lots of legumes) and lean protein diet. Thoughts? What supplements would you recommend? I’m on a low-fat absolutely no sugar very high soluble fibre and lean protein diet. Thoughts?

    • Hi Jen,

      You need to eat some fat because it is what triggers the gallbladder to contract properly. If you don’t eat enough fat, bile can remain in the gallbladder and form sludge, which can eventually lead to stones.
      The ingredients in Livatone capsules should improve bile production and gallbladder contraction.

      Kind Regards,
      Jessah Robinson
      Nutritional Consultant for Liverdoctor.com

  8. Hi,
    Great information here. Have had your book for a few years after my wife needed her liver cleansed. Now I’m using it due to the fact that my HIDA test came back and my gallbladder function is 6%. Will be following the advice noted here for sluggish gallbladder and will be following the nutrition recommendations plus the supplements mentioned. My question is about other supplements – I was just about to start taking a testosterone supplement which includes Tribulus Terrestris and was wondering what you thought about using it during a liver cleanse. Should I wait until things are better with my liver and gallbladder?

    • Hi Mike,

      Tribulus is fine to take, however taking actual testosterone may not be good for your liver and gallbladder at this stage.

      Kind Regards,
      Jessah Robinson
      Nutritional Consultant for Liverdoctor.com

  9. I had the HIDA scan yesterday, this is after a clear ultrasound 5 months ago. The HIDA showed my gallbladder function at 4%. I’m assuming that I am in checkmate? I am overweight (the result of taking a SSRI years ago, I’ve always been thin before that), and I would not describe my diet as healthy (but I’m not a fast food junky either). The HIDA scan was ordered because of my recent rapid weight loss of 5ibs over 2 weeks and that’s during the Thanksgiving gorging (I knew something was wrong!). So I guess my question would be…. Since I already struggle with maintaining my same (still too fat) weight, is it too late to save my gallbladder with diet/supplements? I do not want to stack the cards against me anymore than what they are, but do not want to risk life/health pursing something that I’m no longer eligible for.

    • Dear Pam,

      If your gallbladder is causing you pain and other symptoms Dr Cabot recommends you have it removed.
      You need to take Livatone Plus 2 caps twice daily to help the liver make healthier bile.
      You also need to take Ox Bile 1 – 2 caps in the middle of meals three times a day for adequate digestion.
      Make sure you stay hydrated and follow the eating principles in Dr Cabot’s book: ‘Save Your Gallbladder Naturally and What to Do If You’ve Already Lost It’.

      Kind Regards,
      Jessah Robinson
      Sales & Nutrition Consultant

  10. I am supposed to have a Hidra Scan in a week and GI specialist appt. in 3 weeks. I really would like to avoid this as well as avoid surgery. I am taking Nexium for 9 days now. It helps some with the chest pain heartburn symptoms but still having gas, burping, adominal pain at times, bathroom problems. The ultrasound said I did not have gallstones. I have had digestive problems off and on for years like IBS. Any suggestions?

  11. Hi have have a sluggish gallbladder and two small cysts in my liver can you advise what I can do to improve this please. I also have problems with losing weight even though I think my diet is fairly good.

    • Dear Teresa,

      Gallbladder and liver problems are often found together and often associated with your other concerns.

      Most cysts in the liver are benign but it is important to ensure your liver is in its best health.

      Dr Cabot recommends you begin taking

      Ox Bile capsules – 1 – 2 capsules at the beginning of each meal to enhance bile flow.

      Livatone Plus – 1 capsule twice daily, to improve liver function.

      N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC 600mg) – 2 capsules twice daily well away from food, if any upset occurs take at the beginning of your meals.This supplement hastens liver healing. This supplement is the precursor nutrient of glutathione; the body’s strongest anti-oxidant.

      We also recommend a diet free of gluten, dairy, processed food and take-out meals. Low sugar is encouraged and definitely no high fructose corn syrup.

      Please include best quality virgin, cold pressed coconut, olive, nut or avocado oils in your diet vey day. Modest amount to begin with and increase amounts gradually.

      Kind Regards,
      Jessah Robinson
      Sales & Nutrition Consultant

  12. I had a HIDA SCAN. Have all the above symptoms, but I also have pain left shoulder and left side and around to back from the ribs. My scan revealed low functioning gallbladder. No stones. Need to find an alternative to surgery. Any thoughts or same symptoms?

    • Dear Dawn,

      There are ways to boost your gallbladder’s function and Dr Cabot recommends you begin taking:

      Ox Bile capsules – 1 – 2 capsules at the beginning of each meal to enhance bile flow.

      Livatone Liver Tonic – 2 capsules twice daily to tone and boost the gallbladder’s function.

      N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC 600mg) – 2 capsules twice daily well away from food, if any upset occurs take at the beginning of your meals.

      We also recommend a diet free of gluten, dairy, processed food and take-out meals. Low sugar is encouraged and definitely no high fructose corn syrup.

      Please include best quality virgin, cold pressed coconut, olive, nut or avocado oils in your diet every day. Have a modest amount to begin with and increase amounts gradually.

      Kind Regards,
      Jessah Robinson
      Sales & Nutrition Consultant

  13. I myself have a couple of these symptoms, appreciate you posting this.

  14. Could a damaged liver give your body problems in coping with fat,I have had a MRI scan done and they say that my gallbladder isn’t emptying properly,I have severe IBS which has brought on an heart attack,could you give me any advice i.e. dietary

    • Dear Mandy,

      If you have a fatty liver this means that your liver is clogged with too much bad fat and isn’t filtering properly.
      This causes you to put on weight and makes it very difficult to lose weight.
      This can be diagnosed with an ultrasound scan of the liver.
      I recommend you take Livatone Plus 2 caps twice daily and NAC 2 caps twice daily.
      You need to eliminate sugar, refined foods, grains and processed foods.
      This will help your liver and gallbladder function.
      Increase intake of good protein, good fats and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
      Raw juicing is excellent also.
      You need to identify the triggers for your IBS, this could also be lactose, which means you would need to cut dairy from your diet.
      Let us know how you get on.

      Kind Regards,

  15. I have been going to the doctor for a slugish gallblader and not one doctor has explained this condition as I have just read. I am very thankful for this information. I am always constipated and sometimes feel discomfort on my right side. I will definitely try the suggestions made in this artivle.

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