Food intolerance is common and it can lead to all sorts of gut and digestive issues. The problem is it can be very tricky to identify a food intolerance. Symptoms are usually a lot milder than in food allergy, and they can be delayed by up to three days. If you suffer with intestinal, gallbladder or liver problems, food intolerance may be to blame.

Often apparently healthy foods can be responsible for digestive issues. If you have a food sensitivity, each time you consume that food, it can disrupt normal digestive function. Food intolerance can interfere with proper gallbladder function. It can weaken gallbladder contractions and leave the gallbladder unable to empty itself fully. Old bile can build up and eventually lead to stone formation or an inflamed gallbladder.

When it comes to foods that may harm the gallbladder, most people think of oily, fatty, rich and creamy meals. It is certainly true that foods like this can make your gallbladder sluggish, and in time raise the risk of stones. However, gluten, wheat, eggs, soy, dairy products and other foods can also be a culprit and cause serious gallbladder problems in some individuals.

Food intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and insufficient stomach acid (hypochlorhydria), bile and digestive enzymes can all increase the risk of gallstones.


Celiac disease is a condition whereby ingesting gluten prompts an autoimmune reaction in the body. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, triticale, kamut and many processed foods that contain any of these grains. People with celiac disease develop inflammation in their intestines when they eat gluten. The hormone that stimulates the gallbladder to contract is mostly made in the first part of the small intestine called the duodenum. This hormone is called cholecystokinin (CCK) and people with celiac disease usually do not produce adequate levels if they are consuming gluten. The gluten itself also seems to interfere with the ability of the gallbladder to contract because celiacs commonly have a very low bile ejection fraction during a HIDA scan if they are regularly consuming gluten.

Food intolerance can interfere with proper gallbladder function

If you eat a food that your digestive system cannot properly break down, this can cause chronic irritation to the lining of your small intestine, and give you an overly permeable gut lining (leaky gut). If your gut is inflamed, it will not produce sufficient levels of the hormone CCK, which means your gallbladder won’t get the message to contract properly.

How would you know if you have a food intolerance?

The most reliable method of finding out is an elimination diet. For six weeks, remove all grains, dairy products, sugar, legumes, lentils, eggs and nightshade vegetables from your diet. Essentially what you’ll be eating is seafood, poultry, red meat, fruit, most vegetables and natural fats like olive oil and animal fat. Everyone with food sensitivities would greatly benefit from a glutamine supplement. Glutamine is an amino acid which helps to soothe and repair an irritated or inflamed digestive lining. It is actually used as fuel by the cells that line the digestive tract. An overgrowth of harmful gut bugs can also inflame the gut lining, and this responds well to Bactoclear capsules.

If there is too much fat in your bile, the bile becomes a lot thicker and doesn’t flow as freely.  A thick liquid always moves a lot more slowly than a thin watery fluid.  Thick bile doesn’t squirt out of your gallbladder the way it is supposed to when your gallbladder contracts.  Therefore, if the bile in your gallbladder is excessively thick, each time your gallbladder contracts, less bile will flow out and more will be left behind. This means less bile will enter your intestines every time you eat a meal that contains fat.  That means you’ll probably have symptoms of poor fat digestion, such as bloating, burping, nausea, possibly diarrhea after a fatty meal and possibly discomfort over the right side of your upper abdomen after a big meal. Taking an ox bile supplement is very beneficial because it helps to make the bile thinner, can soften gallstones, and improves fat digestion.

The health of your liver is also paramount because individuals with a sluggish liver, fatty liver or inflamed liver do not produce sufficient good quality bile. Livatone liver tonic helps to improve bile production by the liver, and assists bile flow in the gallbladder.

Your digestive system is the foundation of your health. It is where you absorb the nutrients from your meals and supplements and excrete waste products. Determining the cause of digestive problems can be tricky. Hopefully you will find these suggestions useful. If you are concerned about a digestive symptom, please consult your own doctor.

For more information see my book Save Your Gallbladder: 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.