Gallbladder Problems And Your Gut
If you have a poorly functioning (sluggish) gallbladder you may develop the following problems –
- Pale colored stools (bowel actions)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which can vary from constipation to diarrhea
- A deficiency of fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K), which can lead to osteoporosis and a weak immune system
- Discomfort in the right upper abdomen which can refer pain to the right shoulder
Normal healthy feces or stools are brown in color and this is due to the pigments in bile, namely stercobilin and urobilin. These dark pigments are derived from the breakdown of hemoglobin, which is the red pigment released into the blood stream when old red blood cells are broken down in the spleen. Bile also contains water, bile salts, bilirubin, cholesterol, fatty acids, lecithin and minerals.
To make healthy bile you need healthy liver cells. The liver cells make bile and secrete bile into tiny bile ducts which join up into big bile ducts, which take the bile to the small intestine. The gallbladder is a muscular sack that stores bile. When you eat a meal, the gallbladder squeezes a big spurt of bile into the small intestine so you can digest fats in your food. If you do not produce enough bile when you eat you will not digest and absorb fats. Bile is an important way that your liver excretes toxins and cholesterol from the body and you need to produce plenty of bile to do this.
If your gallbladder does not function well, or you have lost your gallbladder, you will not produce enough bile when you eat a meal. This can be overcome by taking ox bile capsules in the middle of your meal. Ox bile capsules will enable proper digestion and absorption of fats and the vitamins A, D, E and K. Ox bile capsules can help you if you have bloating, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, pale stools or constipation. If these symptoms are significant, you would also benefit from taking Digestive Enzymes.
Note that having your gallbladder out may not help any of your symptoms and may make your digestion much worse!
If you have upper abdominal pain and proven gallstones, it is important to check for other causes of upper abdominal pain such as stomach ulcers, gastritis, reflux, pancreatic disorders, gastric infections and fatty liver. These can be treated effectively so that it is often possible to avoid gallbladder surgery. It is also possible to slowly dissolve gallstones over time with dietary and nutritional strategies.
You may be talked into having your gallbladder out at the earliest convenience. The surgeon may tell you, “Why not get it removed? It’s not important and it’s making you sick?” Another common thing that doctors will say is “After your gallbladder is removed, you can eat whatever you like without any pain.”
Well, I disagree with both of these concepts for a couple of reasons –
The gallbladder concentrates bile and supplies a quick shot of bile into the small intestine during a meal – this facilitates the digestion and absorption of fats and vitamins.
The gallbladder may not be the cause of any, or just a few of your symptoms.
Tips to help your gallbladder
Include fresh green leafy herbs in your salads – the best liver cleansing herbs for your salads are mint, parsley, chives, green onion, shallots, basil, and cilantro (coriander). Use small amounts only to start with. If you use large amounts, you may find the taste disagreeable.
Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water; this will reduce the risk of gallstones, as well as kidney stones.
Do raw juicing using cabbage, carrot, ginger root, mint, parsley, red radish and apple. See additional ideas in my book Raw Juices Can Save Your Life.
Livatone capsules contain the essential liver herbs and the amino acid taurine to help your liver make healthy bile. Livatone can help your liver to excrete toxins from your body via the bile. Livatone contains herbs to repair liver damage from poor diet, pollution, fatty liver and alcohol excess.
Livatone can support your gallbladder function and the healthy production of bile. I formulated Livatone to contain the most important natural ingredients that work together synergistically -
- Milk thistle
- Globe artichoke
Healthy bile is important for fat metabolism and cholesterol control. The liver is the major fat burning organ in your body and has a lot to do with your weight. Improving your liver function can make weight loss much easier.
Even if you have had your gallbladder out I encourage you to support your liver in its major function of bile manufacture and secretion.
For more information see the book Save your Gallbladder, and what to do if you've already lost it.
Reference: British Journal of General Practice 2004; 54:574-79