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What to Do If You Don’t Have a Gallbladder?

Gallbladder problems are extremely common.  Approximately 750,000 Americans have their gallbladder removed each year.  In most cases, the pain of a malfunctioning gallbladder becomes so bad, that surgery is the only viable option.  Most people are under the impression that once their gallbladder is taken out, the pain and discomfort they’ve been living with will be gone.  Sadly that’s often not the case.  It is common to have just as much discomfort after the gallbladder is removed.

People without a gallbladder are more prone to digestive problems and liver problems; they can even form stones within the ducts of the liver.  The risk of developing a fatty liver is also greater in people without a gallbladder. Some herbs and nutritional supplements are extremely beneficial if you don’t have a gallbladder.  Are you confused about which supplements to take, or which foods you should avoid?

The function of the gallbladder

Your gallbladder is important.  Your liver continually manufactures bile, which travels to your gallbladder, where it is stored and concentrated.  Bile helps you to digest fat; therefore your gallbladder secretes a lot of bile into your intestines after you’ve eaten a fatty meal.  Bile is also your body’s way of excreting wastes and toxins.  Bile contains cholesterol and other fats that your liver has broken down and wants to excrete.  A well functioning gallbladder helps your body excrete cholesterol, other fats and fat soluble toxins.

What happens when you don’t have a gallbladder?

Your liver continues to manufacture bile, but there is no longer a place to store it or concentrate it.  Therefore bile continually slowly trickles into intestines.  If you eat a fatty meal, you will not be able to secrete a large enough amount of bile into your intestines, therefore the fat will be poorly digested.  This means many people experience diarrhea, bloating, nausea or indigestion.

Not digesting fat well means you will not be able to digest essential fatty acids, including omega 3 and omega 6 fats.  It also means you’ll have a hard time absorbing fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins D, E, A and K.  These nutrients are vital for good health, and you will probably need to take a supplement.

How to have a healthy liver and good digestion without a gallbladder

First of all it’s important to realise that you developed a gallbladder problem in the first place because you had an unhealthy liver.  If your liver is not healthy, it will make poor quality bile.  The bile will be prone to forming sludge and stones.  Just whipping the gallbladder out doesn’t solve that problem, and in fact sludge and stones can form within the liver, compromising its function.

Here are some vital tips to follow:

  • Keep your intake of dairy products and grains to a minimum or avoid them altogether.  Dairy products (milk, cheese, ice-cream, yoghurt) worsen all cases of gallbladder disease, liver disease and they are very difficult to digest.  Food intolerance is a common cause of gallbladder problems, and there is research that links gluten intolerance with gallstones.  A good reason to keep your intake of grains low is to reduce the risk of developing a fatty liver.  There is an easy to follow eating plan in my book Fatty Liver – You Can Reverse It.
  • Take a good quality liver tonic such as Livatone.  The herbs St Mary’s thistle, dandelion root and globe artichoke leaves all increase bile production and bile flow.  Taurine is an amino acid necessary for bile production.  This should help to make you feel more comfortable after a meal, and should reduce the risk of stones forming inside your liver.
  • Eat some good fats and avoid the bad fats.  Your doctor may have recommended you follow a low fat diet after having your gallbladder removed.  This is not necessary and in fact it is harmful.  Your body desperately needs good fats and I recommend you include moderate quantities of extra virgin olive oil, avocados, coconut milk and oil, nuts and seeds in your diet.
  • Take a good quality digestive enzyme supplement.  The natural bile salts in this product will help you digest fats and fat soluble vitamins more thoroughly.
  • You may need a vitamin D3 supplement.  People with compromised liver or digestive function are often vitamin D deficient.  Exposure of your skin to the sun’s UVB rays enables your body to manufacture vitamin D.  However, this process occurs in your liver and kidneys.  People with a sluggish liver often do not manufacture vitamin D adequately.  Therefore it’s a good idea to get a blood test and take a supplement.  5000 IU of vitamin D3 is a safe and effective dose for most people, but it’s best to be guided by your own doctor.
  • Include some bitter and sour foods in your diet.  They should help to improve your digestion and make it easier to tolerate good fats in your diet.  Suitable bitter and sour foods include lemons, limes, radicchio lettuce, chicory, endive and dandelion leaves.  These leaves are fairly easy to grow at home if you are lucky enough to have your own veggie patch.

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


  1. I had my gall bladder out many years ago. But my problem is severe constipation. I cannot digest my food . Food goes through me very slowly. Will the livatone , ox bile and livamend help me?

    • Hi Cherie,

      Certainly the Livatone Plus and Ox Bile help.
      We recommend

      Livatone Plus 2 caps twice daily to improve liver function

      N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) 2 caps twice daily at least 2 hours away from food, if any upset occurs please take with meals. This supplement works well with Livatone Plus to get the liver better faster.

      Ox Bile 1 to 2 caps in the middle of meals three times daily as this will replace the bile that can no longer come from the gallbladder for essential fat absorption.

      Fibretone powder one to two teaspoon mixed with water, smoothies or juices as it is a gentle bulk laxative that will softens the stool, cleanses the bowel and facilitates regular bowel motions.
      These supplements are available here: https://shop.liverdoctor.com

      We also recommend the elimination of gluten, dairy, processed foods, take out meals and high fructose corn syrup.
      We recommend you diet on fresh fruits and vegetables, good protein sources and good fat sources.
      Let us know how you get on.

      Kind Regards,
      Jessah Robinson
      Nutritional Consultant for Liverdoctor.com

  2. I had acute pancreatitis a week ago caused by a blocked bile duct. I was told it would definitely happen again if I didn’t have my gall bladder removed. I felt I had no choice. Pancrease or gall bladder. So I had it removed. I had been eating a ketogenic diet for 3 months but didn’t know I had gall stones, which is a contraindication. I’m bummed that I had to loose my gall bladder. Am ordering the ox bile. thanks.

    • Hi Jan,

      That’s great that you are ordering the Ox Bile. We recommend 1-2 caps at the beginning of each meal.
      We also recommend Livatone Plus 2 caps twice daily to improve liver function.
      These can be purchased here: https://shop.liverdoctor.com
      It is important to avoid grains, dairy, processed food and takeout meals.

      Kind Regards,
      Jessah Robinson
      Nutritional Consultant for Liverdoctor.com

  3. My 19 year old daughter had her g/b removed 3 months ago and while it has helped with some symptoms like constant severe pain and nausea, she now RUNS to the bathroom following meals with diarreah. We’ve pinpointed most meats mess her up so she’s cut out meat, I’ve suspected dairy and even gluten being triggers but wasn’t sure. After reading online I this site and am going to have her cut out dairy, processed carbs & sugar. What supplements do you recommend she take? And any other advice would be GREATLY appreciated. She lives in a college dorm so her school cafe has proved challenging. (Classic college student life!)

    • Hi Kim,

      Dr Cabot recommends

      Ox Bile 1 to 2 caps at the beginning of every meal three times daily, as this will replace the bile that is no longer provided by the gallbladder for essential fat absorption.

      Livatone Plus 2 caps twice daily to improve liver function

      NAC 2 caps twice daily, at least 2 hours away from food, if any upset occurs please take with meals.

      We recommend she avoid gluten, dairy, processed foods and high fructose corn syrup.

      Let us know how she gets on.

      Kind Regards,
      Jessah Robinson
      Nutritional Consultant for Liverdoctor.com

  4. Reading everything here, I can identify with a lot of people. I also had my gallbladder removed and thought I had IBS. I’m now following a Keto diet & taking digestive enzymes along with B complex. I want to loose weight and be healthy. I want my liver to function to the best of it’s ability. I will continuously monitor my health and increase exercise so that I can live a long happy life. I’v cut out sugars, carbs, grains and nearly all dairy. Best of luck to you all. I hope you find your way.

  5. is a liver cleanse necessary? I’ve never done one my entire life and feel like hell. my gallbladder was removed in 2013, i was looking into UNDA 1,20,and 243 liver cleanse that i was told is gentle. anyone try it before? also, is the livatone and the oxbile a cleanse? please advise…

    • Hi Andrea,

      You need to avoid grains, dairy and processed foods.
      I recommend you take Livatone Plus 2 caps twice daily so that your liver can start making healthy bile and Ox Bile 1 – 2 capsules in middle of every meal to replace the bile that can no longer be delivered from your gallbladder to help essential fat absorption.
      You should read Dr Cabot’s book: ‘Save Your Gallbladder Naturally and What to Do If You’ve Already Lost It’.

      Kind Regards,
      Jessah Robinson
      Nutritional Consultant

  6. Hello!

    I have one concern cause my gallbladder was removed few days ago. Am I still able to continue to consume my diet supplement like fat burner for exercise? And other supplement like collagens or cleansing detox?


    • Dear Ying,

      As I’m not sure of the exact supplements you are taking I would check with the company that makes them.
      You should take 1 -2 capsules of Ox Bile capsules at the beginning of each meal to replace the bile that can no longer be delivered from your gallbladder to help essential fat absorption, and Livatone Plus 2 caps twice daily to improve liver function.
      It is also important to eliminate or reduce dairy, grains and processed foods.
      For more information see our book: ‘Save Your Gallbladder Naturally and What to Do If You’ve Already Lost It’.

      Kind Regards,
      Jessah Robinson
      Nutritional Consultant

  7. I have had 4 ERCP’s this year due to stones stuck in my bile duct. I had my gall bladder out 10+ years ago and this problem has just recently surfaced. I also have gastroparesis so diet is hard to figure out. What can I do to stem the production of stones?

    • Dear Gavin,

      This is actually quite common after gallbladder removal. It’s because the original liver problem that caused the gallstones hasn’t been addressed.
      There is information to help you in this book: http://shop.liverdoctor.com/save-your-gallbladder.html
      Regarding your diet, we recommend it is free of sugar, gluten and dairy products.

      Kind Regards,
      Jessah Robinson
      Sales & Nutrition Consultant

  8. Is it safe to do the liver and gallbladder miracle cleanse described in Andreas Moritz’s book when you don’t have a gallbladder?

    • Dear Karen,

      I am not familiar with the book you are referring to, so it would be best to direct the question to the author of the book.

      Kind Regards,
      Jessah Robinson
      Sales & Nutrition Consultant

  9. Had mine removed in ’04 and dr never told me to take anything 🙁

    • The same with my doctor. I had mine removed in 2002 and been having bathroom issues ever since. That doctor who performed the gallbladder removal said NOTHING about what to eat/ what not to eat. A different doctor chalked my issues to “Irritable Bowel Syndrome”. I’ve been noticing it is worse after eating or drinking something with a heavy cream.

      I wish I had realized sooner that all of my stomach/bathroom troubles could be a result of not having a gallbladder and what foods I’ve been consuming.

  10. I lost my gallbladder in 2007. I developed sepsis due to a nicked colon. I was near death when I was rushed to the hospital. 50days in a coma on the ventalator,trached,high fevers,pneumonia 4times in that 50 days. Blood transfusion. When I came out of the coma and recovered all I was told was that my gallbladder stopped functioning that is why it was removed.The doctor didn’t seem concerned about it,gave no advise on what to do. I now have alot of problems with my digestive tract. I wish doctors were more forthcoming with information and precautions to take.

  11. I was just told i have a fatty liver i have no gallbladder and all the dr said was not to eat rice, bread ,crackers, potatoes etc that is all he didnt even give me a diet! does anyone know what i can eat?

    • Dear Lorraine,

      You need to take Livatone Plus 2 caps twice daily and Ox Bile three times a day in middle of meals.
      You need to stop eating sugar, grains, processed foods and dairy, or if you can’t give up these foods reduce them.
      Look at eating foods such as good protein, good fats, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
      Raw juicing is excellent, refer to our book ‘Raw Juices Can Save Your Life’.
      I guarantee you get our books: ‘Save Your Gallbladder Naturally and What To Do If You’ve Already Lost It, and ‘Fatty Liver: You Can Reverse It’.
      Let us know how you get on.

      Kind Regards,

    • Hi I feel for you. I have had endless problems since having mine removed 8 years ago especially with food allergy symptoms weight gain and chronic constipation. I am also coming up to the menopause so that isnt helping (Perimenopause) and is causing all sorts of hormone fluctuations and emotional upset. I even studied nutrition to find a natural eating pattern to get back to feeling “normal ” again. I have now cracked it and feel amazing. Cut out all dairy food, all flour and alcohol, take digestive enzymes and consider a liver/magnesium flush. There is all sorts of advice out there but stick to this like i did for agood 3 months and it will change your life. (Search hormones, perimenopause, food, recipes health and fitness on face book and you will find some help)
      Good luck

      • Is Greek yogurt ok? Should one it more often, like small meals every 3 hours or just three times a day like used to before my surgery? What about coffee?

      • Hi Katharine,

        I am looking for the liver flush/cleanse for people with gallbladder removed. Would you be able to let me know what kind of liver/magnesium flush you did please. Is that Andreas Moritz’s?
        Thank you.

      • Hi there Catherine you sound identical to me, I’am 38 I’ve just started a 3 month diet change, GF free, No alcohol, Dairy free, and my hormones mood swings are going crazy, I lost my gore bladder in 2014, and lived in the bathroom. But I needed a change and quickly..my health was giving out. Thanks for sharing I to feel great and it’s only been 2 weeks . I look forward to the end result, LOOK AFTER YOURSELF WE ONKY GET ONE BODY, no second chance xx

    • Yes dear, a low carb diet will do you wonders.

  12. I had my galllbladder removed in 2009 neither surgeon or doctor advised me that this would cause a great change to my life, I asked if I needed to alter my eating habits and was told “not necessarily” I have since then gained 8 stone in weight which I cannot budge. I have no energy to be excercising at gyms etc.. and I feel totally let down by the amount of ignorance of our so called experts in our now UK health service. A long long time ago when there were Matrons, sisters and staff nurses, the doctors were definitely more knowledgeable. Has everything been dumbed down so no one fails..We need the people with high intelligence in these areas not the people who THINK they are entitled to be..!

  13. Marcella k Stone

    My dr. Told me none of this.

    • Mine too! In fact following the operation (in the UK) and discharge from hospital I was not contacted by my GP re enquiring if was ok etc! This was five years ago and lately I have recently had digestion problems so the advice re diet is invaluable and will follow these guidelines in the future!

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