What Health Issues Can Affect The Gallbladder
Two primary issues can affect the gallbladder. These are:
It is possible to have gallstones or gallbladder inflammation without symptoms if you develop large ones, they can block the bile duct that leads from the gallbladder, which can cause severe pain and interfere with proper digestionespecially of foods with fats. If not removed, gallstones that block this duct can become life-threatening. At this stage, treatment requires surgical removal of the gallbladder.
Other Gallbladder Related Symptoms Include:
Dry hair, eyes, brittle nails, itchy skin, skin rashes
Diarrhea, bloating, cramping, excessive gas
Weight loss resistance
These are symptoms that a conventional doctor may dismiss altogether, and that can also be caused by other imbalances.
Its important to address overall gallbladder function and biliary stasis as sufficient bile flow is necessary to digest fats. When fats arent digested, the undigested fats cause imbalances elsewhere in the body.
Undigested fats can lead to poor sphincter function in the digestive tract, which facilitates the transport of bacteria from the large intestine into the small intestine, causing a condition called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth . SIBO causes a myriad of symptoms, including chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea, or both. Bloating and gas are also common with SIBO.
Biliary stasis also backs up the livers detoxification pathways. As a result, the liver cannot effectively detoxify hormones, toxins, and other metabolites. This increases the toxic burden on your system, which in turn increases inflammation.
If you are taking all the right GI supplements and consuming the appropriate gut healthy foods but still not improving, your gallbladder health is one thing you may want to consider.
What Natural Interventions May Be Beneficial For Gallstones
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C decreases oxidative stress, a contributing factor in gallstone formation. Low vitamin C intake has been linked with increased cholesterol concentration in bile, and a study showed regular vitamin C users were 66% less likely to have gallstones than those who did not use it.
- Fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oils and omega-3 fatty acids may prevent gallstone formation by preventing crystallization. Supplementation with omega-3 fats was also shown to attenuate the risk of developing gallstones due to rapid weight loss.
- S-adenosylmethionine . SAMe has been shown to improve bile flow in people with certain liver diseases. It also may decrease the level of cholesterol in the bile.
- Curcumin. Curcumin, a polyphenolic compound extracted from turmeric, may reduce the chance of gallstones forming by improving cholesterol and lipid metabolism. It can also reduce postoperative pain following a cholecystectomy. However, people with bile duct obstructions should avoid curcumin because it may promote gallbladder contraction.
- Other natural interventions that may help reduce the risk of gallstone formation include iron , vitamin E, epigallocatechin gallate , melatonin, and milkthistle.
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Lack Of Gallbladder Stimulation As A Factor In Forming Gallstones
Problems can arise when the gallbladder never receives the signal to squeeze. This leads to a condition known as stasis where bile sits in the gallbladder for long periods of time. If the gallbladder is filled with bile that is laden with high levels of cholesterol, and low levels of phospholipids and bile salts, it can form a supersaturated sludge. This stagnant sludge allows for the perfect environment for crystal-like structures to form that precipitate out of solution. These structures are known as gallstones and they can cause irritation in the gallbladder. If the stones are large enough, they may get lodged in the cystic duct or common bile duct. This leads to the symptoms of what is known as gallbladder attacks.
Symptoms of gallbladder disease:
- Upper right quadrant pain in abdomen
- Feeling of fullness in the abdomen
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
Research indicates that both gluten and cow’s milk proteins can cause damage in the intestinal tract that leads to gallbladder stasis. Both foods contain proteins that are capable of exciting immune cells in the intestinal tract that can interfere with CCK signaling by disrupting the intestinal lining. If the intestines are damaged, and CCK secretion is interrupted, the gallbladder never fully contracts to squeeze out all of the bile.
Can I Heal My Gallbladder Without Surgery
Not all gallbladder problems will need surgery. It is possible that some gallbladder problems can be left untreated. A healthcare provider may also suggest oral dissolution therapy. This is where prescription medications are taken to dissolve the gallstones. This type of therapy can only be recommended by a healthcare provider and will not be the right option for everyone. Talk to a healthcare provider to see what treatment is safe and appropriate for you.
Ways To Improve Gallbladder Health:
Bile is a critical digestive fluid that is produced in the liver and concentrated in the gallbladder. Biles main digestive responsibility is to emulsify fats in order to create fatty acids that can be digested and used by the body. Additionally, it has an anti-microbial effect that helps to kill off unwanted pathogens.
When the body has metabolic dysfunctions that lead to poor bile production and sluggish bile flow, it can cause serious health problems . This article goes over 25 ways you can improve gallbladder health and optimize your bile flow.
These strategies help to strengthen liver function and bile flow formation while they improve gallbladder health and bile duct motility. If you have had your gallbladder surgically removed than it is even more imperative to follow these action steps in order to strengthen the liver and the formation process of the bile.
Gallbladder Function: Problems Causes And Symptoms
Like all organs, gallbladder can malfunction at times resulting in:
- Irritation and swelling
- Blocked bile duct bile duct is the passage leading from the gallbladder to the small intestine
- Cholestasis a decrease in bile flow
- Cholestasis of pregnancy a liver condition that occurs in late pregnancy. It triggers intense itching, but without a rash. Itching usually occurs on the hands and feet but can also affect other parts of the body.
- Stones development
There are effective natural remedies for the above problems, however, the safest course of action if your gallbladder is painful or infected is to consult a doctor immediately to perform a detailed examination to determine best course of action which may include surgical procedures.
The gallbladder is often removed when there is an infection or partial blockage as a burst gall bladder is a health emergency.
When the gallbladder is removed the bile produced by the liver no longer has a storage place and it drips constantly directly to the small intestine. Most individuals with no gallbladder will need to either be careful with their dietary fat intake or take bile supplements and digestive enzymes to absorb the fats needed for good health .
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Best Herbs For Gallbladder Health
Many herbs have been shown to support gallbladder health, lower gallbladder inflammation, and eliminate gallstones. Some of the best herbs for gallbladder problems include:
Chanca piedra is a medicinal herb used extensively for clearing kidney stones and gallstones. The bioactive compounds found in the chanca piedra plant have been shown to interfere with many stages of stone formation. In addition, they may work by relaxing the ureters and ducts, helping expel stones and fragments.
Gravel root is another medicinal herb that has been used for dissolving stonesboth kidney stones and gallbladder stones. Not only does gravel root help to dissolve existing stones, but it may also help to prevent stone formation.
How Do You Diagnose Bile Deficiency
To diagnose bile insufficiency I would encourage you do blood work, for which you need to see your GP, or your nutritionist/naturopath.
- You will be looking at your cholesterol levels. If they are lower then 170, it is possible there is bile insufficiency.
- It is also important to look at increases or decreases in the liver enzymes ALT or AST , GGTP can indicate dysfunction and/or congestion in the liver and low bile production.
- In addition, digestive stool analysis can help identifying undigested fat in stool, which is caused by low bile production.
The good news is that there is a lot you can do to improve your bile flow and help yourself digest fats well.
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How To Thin Bile Sludge
1. Phosphatidylcholine helps to keep bile flowing freely from the gallbladder for liver detox.
There needs to be an ample supply of phosphatidylcholine in the bile to prevent bile from becoming too thick and sludgy. Supplementing with phosphatidylcholine is one of the best ways to thin bile naturally.
Phosphatidylcholine also helps with emulsification and digestion of fats while also preventing fatty liver.
2. Milk thistle is an amazing herb found in seeking healthys liver nutrients that helps to cleanse the liver along with improving gallbladder function and bile flow
3. Turmeric is a culinary herb that helps to stimulate bile secretion from the gallbladder. Spice up your smoothies, and stir-fries with this wonderful spice to increase bile flow. Mango is one of my favourite fruits to combine with turmeric such as this mango turmeric smoothie.
4. Dandelion root is a bitter herb that promotes bile flow and is used for a sluggish liver and gallbladder. Drinking dandelion root tea is a fantastic way to support bile flow from the gallbladder for liver detox. A great way to get dandelion root into your daily diet is by substituting your morning tea or coffee with dandelion tea.
Excretion Of Waste Products
Along with urine, sweat, and breath, one of the main ways your body gets rid of waste and toxins is through bowel movements. While water-soluble toxins mainly get released through urine, fat-soluble toxins leave your body through your bowels.
If your body cannot release waste regularly through the bowels, it can lead to bacterial overgrowth, inflammation, weight gain, digestive troubles, and consequent health problems.
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Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
Since SIBO can contribute to the formation of gallstones and sluggish bile flow makes SIBO and other forms of dysbiosis more likely to occur, a breath test can evaluate the overgrowth of bacteria that do not usually belong in the small intestine.
The 3-hour SIBO assessment is a non-invasive breath test that measures hydrogen and methane to evaluate bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.
Gallbladder Superfood No : Beans
There are many health benefits of beans, so its no surprise that theyre a GI all-star. A meal high in fat stimulates more bile release, explains Sheila Reddy, MD, a gastroenterologist with Austin Gastroenterology in Texas. When there is too much fat or cholesterol in your diet, it can crystallize in the bile and form gallstones. Cutting back on meats and focusing instead on eating a plant-based diet can improve cholesterol levels and help reduce the risk of developing gallstones, she says. Plant-based proteins like beans, lentils, and tofu are excellent replacements for fatty red meat, one of the major culprits of gallbladder inflammation, adds Dr. Bulsiewicz. If you need more suggestions, these are the healthiest vegetables and fruits you can eat. Prevention is key, but each year about 600,000 people undergo gallbladder removal surgery , and this changes the game a bit, says Bulsiewicz. There is no gallbladder removal diet but fatty foods such as fried foods, cheese, ice cream, and meat should be consumed in moderation after cholecystectomy, he says. Without a gallbladder, you cannot adequately digest fat and, as result, get malabsorption and diarrhea.
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Discover Your Food Sensitivities:
Most people with gallbladder problems struggle to digest certain foods including eggs, pork, onions, dairy, gluten, coffee, corn and nuts. You can get lab work done or do biofeedback testing to see how you tolerate these foods. You can also try an elimination diet for 30 days where you remove these foods and see how your respond.
Talk With Your Doctor Before Taking Supplements
Walk into any given drug store and youll see hundreds of supplement bottles stacked on the shelves. Since negative health effects are associated with certain doses of supplements, its important that you speak with your doctor before taking any.
Everyones health is different. Some people may need higher doses of certain vitamins while others may need to lower their overall intake. Whatever your reason is for wanting to take vitamins, speak with your doctor to see if its safe to add to your routine. They may say to avoid certain ones depending on your health status.
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Milk Thistle: A Powerhouse Herb For The Liver And Gallbladder
Milk thistle, scientifically known as Silybum marianum, is native to the Mediterranean but grows in Europe, North and South America, and South Australia.
A prickly but edible plant, milk thistle is one of the star herbs for liver support and has a history of traditional use.
Milk thistle is a powerful herb beneficial for the liver and gallbladder. It helps to detoxify the liver and gallbladder and supports their function. Milk thistle is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, which help to protect the liver from damage. It also helps to improve liver function and reduce inflammation.
The silymarins, a group of active components of milk thistle, are believed to support the natural detoxification process in the liver and normal cell regeneration. Silymarins have been the subject of numerous scientific studies, suggesting that milk thistle supports healthy liver function.
However, it is not just modern research that points to milk thistle’s benefits. It has traditionally been used for centuries as a liver tonic for antioxidant support and optimal liver function.
The Power Of Herbs For Gallbladder And Liver Support*
Your liver and gallbladder have important functions in your body. Provide gentle, natural support with herbs for gallbladder and liver health.*
Put herbs like Milk Thistle, Turmeric, Dandelion, Burdock, Schisandra, and Turkey Tail mushroom to work by taking pure, potent herbal supplements.*
The right herbs can help your liver and gallbladder continue to excel at their job day in and day out.*
1. Johns Hopkins Medicine, accessed on June 22, 2021, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/liver-anatomy-and-functions. 2. Christina Lindenmeyer, MSD Manual, October 2019, https://www.msdmanuals.com/home/liver-and-gallbladder-disorders/biology-of-the-liver-and-gallbladder/overview-of-the-liver-and-gallbladder. 3. College of Naturopathic Medicine, accessed on June 22, 2021, https://www.naturopathy-uk.com/news/news-cnm-blog/blog/2021/03/15/how-to-improve-liver-health.
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Supplements For Gallbladder Function
People can take supplements for gallbladder function. These supplements will help improve gallbladder function if added to the daily routine. Vitamin C has been shown to protect the gallbladder from developing gallstones. It may also help with cholesterol breakdown Cholesterol can put people at risk of developing gallstones. Gallstones can be big enough to block the release of bile. This can cause a gallbladder attack which leads to pain, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Another supplement for gallbladder function is zinc. It helps support the immune system and also releases hormones.
Gallbladder Diet Foods To Avoid
- Moderate fat consumption a low fat diet doesnt help as it prevents emptying of the gallbladder and leads to stone formation. Saturated fats are important but in moderate amounts, oils are better that solid fats as they increase fat soluble vitamins absorption.
- Avoid all fake hydrogenated oils including margarines and ready made oil mixes
- Watch your nut consumption especially if you no longer have a gallbladder as nuts are difficult to digest for many people and especially for people with gallbladder dysfunction. Some nuts may be better digested than others so experiment or do the Compatibility Food Testing or food sensitivity testing to determine which nuts and foods are beneficial good for you and the gallbladder!
- Fried foods of any kind including potato and other chips.
- Processed foods take-aways, most packaged foods.
- Chocolate be careful with chocolate intake! It can trigger a gallbladder attack in some people.
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Dandelion: A Bitter Herb That Supports Liver Function And Detoxification
Dandelion is a bitter herb used traditionally to support liver function and detoxification. The active compounds in dandelion include taraxacum, taraxasterol, and taraxerol. These compounds have been shown to have hepatoprotective effects, which can help protect the liver from damage.
The dandelion is not just a weed that grows in your backyard. In fact, the dandelion has long been cultivated for its culinary and medicinal benefits, and modern science now confirms some of the ancient claims about it.
Dandelion is a familiar sight in North America, and most people are aware of it. It’s a robust plant thrives in low-light areas where other plants fail. Dandelion flowers, leaves, and roots can all be used to make dandelion tea or supplements.
The dandelion greens extract also protects against liver damage caused by alcohol and other toxins. In addition, the dandelion extract has been shown to increase bile production and improve bile flow.
Best Supplements For Gallbladder Health
Some of the best supplements for gallbladder support include:
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin and a powerful antioxidant. It also is excellent for immune system support. Vitamin C is also needed by the body to convert cholesterol to bile acids and may help reduce symptoms of gallstones.
This mineral is involved in over 300 enzyme reactions and is essential for many body processes. Unfortunately, it is also a nutrient that many people are deficient in. Magnesium may also increase bile secretion and relax the gallbladder sphincter, resulting in gallbladder emptying and consequently a reduction of gallbladder volume.
Another essential vitamin, vitamin D, is vital for bone and teeth health. It also plays an important role in regulating bile salts. Thus it is essential for preventing gallstones.
This natural compound is a phospholipid that may be able to help dissolve gallstones.
This organic compound has been used for dissolving and flushing out gallstones.
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