I was happy to oblige, but first I asked him what he had been told about his condition so far.
He said his doctor was taking a wait and see approach—and if things got worse, he might have to have his gallbladder removed.
Then he asked me the million dollar question that I’ve heard so many times before: “Do I really need my gallbladder?”
I started my response by saying, “Well, let’s put it this way. Nothing Nature has given us is there by accident.”
And here is what I went on to explain to him:
Your gallbladder: The liver’s teammate
Your gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that lies just below your liver, and together they interact as teammates.
About a quart of bile is periodically secreted throughout each day by your liver, much of which gets sent to the gallbladder for storage. While the gallbladder is holding the bile, it absorbs excess water out of it, making it more concentrated and stronger.
Then when you eat a meal, this signals the gallbladder to contract and release the stored bile into your small intestine. The bile works to emulsify the fat, cholesterol and fat-soluble vitamins in your food, and then your pancreatic lipases (fat enzymes) can finish the job.
Once the bile has done its job, it gets absorbed through the intestinal wall and sent back to your liver to be recycled.
That's why people who have had gallbladder surgery are often told to have a low fat diet. They're lacking the gallbladder's bile concentration efforts, so their ability to break down fats may be compromised as a result.
They're also more likely to be deficient in fatty acids and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
When trouble starts to brew
The most common form of fat digesting "trouble" is when your gallbladder gets overcome by stones--gallstones.
Currently one in five Americans over the age of 65 has gallstones, and half a million cholecystectomies (gallbladder removals) are performed each year.
But gallstones don't come out of nowhere, my friend. Instead they're created--by YOU.
You see, gallstones are most commonly the result of excess cholesterol in your bile and/or toxin buildup, which can be caused or worsened by a stressed liver, eating too many unhealthy fats (especially trans-fats) and acid waste buildup from poor digestion.
So in other words, gallstones are simply a result of things going awry in your body and an unhealthy diet, and taking out your gallbladder doesn't change one iota of that.
As a matter of fact, things can get even worse.
Here's what I mean:
Life after your gallbladder
Once your gallbladder goes to gallbladder heaven, it may be more difficult for your body to digest fats. This can lead to excessive burping and gas and bloating when fats are eaten.
And if you still continue with eating habits that lead to poor digestion and toxin buildup, the wrath of your diet can move on and manifest itself in other ways.
Here are just some of the conditions that are caused or contributed to by a poor diet and inefficient digestion:
- Elevated cholesterol
- Acid reflux
- Gas and bloating
- Heart disease
- Insulin resistance
- Type 2 diabetes
- Diverticulitis and diverticulosis
- Overweight and obesity
- Joint and muscle pains
Many gallbladder issues are not true gallbladder problems at all, but are indicators of inadequate liver function--specifically poor bile output.
Here are some common symptoms of low bile output:
- Small, hard, difficult to pass stools
- Gray, shiny, soft stools
- Pain in the right side under the rib cage
- Voluminous flatulence (gas)
- Roughage (fiber) causes constipation
- Dry, flaky skin and/or dry, brittle hair
- Indigestion (especially burping, belching and heartburn) 1-2 hours after eating
Since it's your main organ of detox, when there are a lot of acid wastes, toxins and trans-fats sailing through your bloodstream, your liver has to work overtime to try to filter them all out.
Eventually it may not be able to keep up. Then toxins can build up in the bloodstream, inflammation can form in your cells, tissues and organs, and you can be looking at a number of chronic diseases as a result.
Give them some TLC
Although surgery is truly unavoidable at times, fortunately, there is SO much you can do to help keep your gallbladder (and its teammate the liver) healthy and working like they should.
Here are some great measures for you to try:
1- Get tested
A study published in The Lancet found that about half of the people with gallstones had low levels of hydrochloric acid (HCl). Your doctor can test your level of HCl with either a Heidelberg capsule test or SmartPill test.
In addition, a liver function profile can be helpful to see if there’s a problem with your liver in addition to your gallbladder.
Lastly, it’s important to investigate food sensitivities. Studies have shown an association between food sensitivities and gallbladder disease.
2- Eat your way to healthy organs
This is crucial. NOTHING can undo the domino-like, health-wrecking effects of a poor diet.
The Great Taste No Pain plan will show you how to eat for better health in ALL of your organs--including your gallbladder and liver.
Great Taste No Pain will guide you on how to structure delicious, good-for-you meals that are easier for your body to break down and help minimize acid waste and toxin buildup.
Great Taste No Pain stresses REAL foods--not processed food--so you'll naturally be avoiding sources of gallstone-forming trans-fats.
Plus there are charts that list which foods are acid forming and which are alkaline. Eating a good balance of alkaline vs. acid foods helps encourage a more alkaline pH, which helps create the ideal environment for ALL your organs to work better, including your gallbladder and liver.
Note: If you have a gluten sensitivity or Celiac, Great Taste No Gluten is for you instead.
Here's yet another great reason to engage in regular exercise.
Studies show that as many as 34 percent of cases of symptomatic gallstone disease in men could be prevented by increasing exercise to 30 minutes, five times per week.
Get your doctor’s OK, pick an activity you like or at least will tolerate and get moving.
4- Consider supplementing with Vitamin C and Milk thistle (silymarin)
Vitamin C has been shown to prevent formation of gallstones because it's required for the conversion of cholesterol to bile salts (so it can help prevent excess cholesterol in your bile that can lead to a stone).
Milk thistle (silymarin) has been used since the 15th century for both gallbladder and liver health. It helps detoxify the liver, stimulates the flow of bile and helps tone the liver, gallbladder and spleen.
As far as dosages go, most experts recommend 1-3 grams per day of Vitamin C, and 350-525 mg. of milk thistle with meals.
5- Flush out your liver every morning
Here’s a very liver-pampering practice you can easily do at home: Every morning drink a large glass of room temperature water to which a squeeze of fresh lemon juice has been added.
This will help flush out your liver and it will appreciate the cleansing boost.
6- Give your body some enzyme support
Taking a digestive enzyme formula that includes lipases (fat-digesting enzymes) can be very useful in supporting the gallbladder, or helpful if you've already had surgery and are having difficulty digesting fats as a result.
Plus if you've had a history of a not-so-great diet, chances are excellent that you've expended WAY more enzymes to digest your foods than Nature intended, and your body could be having trouble producing enough for your needs.
In addition to eating healthy, more easily digestible meals like I mentioned above, you can give your body the help it desperately needs to thoroughly digest fats (and all your foods) with Digestizol Max.
Digestizol Max contains an effective blend of natural, plant-derived lipase enzymes that help your body more effectively break down fats just like Nature intended.
That means less chance of embarrassing belching and gas, and being more likely able to enjoy good fats without being in agony afterward.
Plus Digestizol Max contains enzymes to help break down ALL the other foods you eat too, which can be extremely helpful, especially to people who have had a poor diet and/or have taken acid reducers for a long time.
So do you need it?
Hopefully you've realized that the answer to the million dollar question above is YES—you DO need your gallbladder. There are no mistakes in Nature, my friend, and nothing was placed in your innards by accident.
So treat your gallbladder (and ALL of your organs, tissues and cells) like the gold they are and they will return the favor handsomely!
To your health,
PS: Always be sure to let your doctor or healthcare provider know what supplements you are taking.