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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.

12 comments

  1. 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

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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,
      Jessah

    • 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?

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

  5. 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..!

  6. 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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THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FDA AND ARE NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT OR CURE ANY DISEASES.