Gallbladder Disease

There are two forms that gall bladder disease normally takes.  One is gallstones (cholelithiasis) whereby bilestones or calculi form in the gallbladder or in the common duct.  The other is inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis), caused by chemical irritation due to the cystic duct preventing the outflow of bile.  Not everyone with gallstones also experiences cholecystitis, however.  Medical symptoms of gallbladder disease include pain in the upper abdomen, pain referred to the back or right shoulder, and sometimes mild jaundice.  Nutritional symptoms of gallbladder disease include consistent gas and bloating from most foods eaten, nausea or headaches caused by fats or greasy foods, and bloating/gas caused by onions, cabbage, radishes, or cucumbers.  The stools may also appear yellow, clay-coloured or foul-odoured.  Skin may be oily on nose and forehead.  Constipation may be present and there may be bad breath, a bad taste in the mouth or excess body odour.

A number of dietary factors help to reduce the incidence of gallstones.  They include eliminating concentrated sugars/sweets, moderating alcohol consumption, reducing animal fat, eliminating caffeine and other methylxanthines (coffee, tea, chocolate, colas), and increasing dietary fibre (vegetables, whole grains, fruits).  Vitamin C, vitamin E and lecithin help both to prevent and dissolve the most common kind of gallstones, those that are formed by cholesterol precipitation.  The incidence of gallstones is higher when dietary fats come from polyunsaturated oils than from monounsaturates (e.g., olive oil, avocado oil).  Hidden food sensitivities may also contribute to gallbladder irritation and restricted flow of bile by causing spasms in the common duct.  Low stomach acid may also contribute to gallbladder involvement — because if hydrochloric acid levels are low, the gall bladder does not get the proper pH signals needed to trigger a sufficient release of bile when required.

Anyone who has had a gallbladder removed needs continuing digestive support.  The gallbladder not only stores bile, it concentrates it.  Without the gallbladder, there is no way that the bile released into the duodenum will be enough (either in quantity or strength) to do the job required.  Constipation, poor mineral absorption, and a greater risk for colon cancer may be the result.  The solution is to take supplementary bile salts with each meal that contains fats or would otherwise cause discomfort.

There is a time-tested, safe way to release gallstones without having to resort to surgical removal of the gallbladder.  For three days consume three to four litres/quarts of apple juice or soft apple cider and no other food or liquid (except water, if desired).  On the evening of the first and second days, mix two ounces (60 ml.) of pure, extra virgin olive oil and two ounces (60 ml.) of freshly squeezed lemon juice thoroughly and drink this mixture down.  On the evening of the third day, double the amounts of olive oil and lemon juice to four ounces (120 ml.) each.

Usually the stones will soften and begin to pass after the third day of the above procedure.  Single stones up to 0.75 inch in diameter (2 cm.) have been observed to pass in the stools in this manner (with discomfort); however, it is more usual to get a shower of 100 or more small tiny stones at a time.  The stones can vary in colour from a light emerald green, to a medium pea green, to a green so dark that it is almost black.  Sometimes what is passed is a sludge.  In a few cases the stones may dissolve before reaching the stools or are hidden undetected in the stools.  The proof of the procedure is that the gallbladder symptoms diminish after its use.

There is a theoretical risk to the above gallbladder flush, although it has never been reported in practice.  If a stone were to become wedged in the bile duct during the flush, it would have to be removed surgically – from the duct, not the gallbladder.  To my knowledge, surgical intervention has never been required as a result of this procedure; however, it is a consideration to keep in mind.  If it were to happen, one could come through the experience with one’s gallbladder still intact – to the extent that one can convince the surgeon not to remove the healthy gallbladder.

See also the chapter, “Gallbladder Problems”, in NUTRITIONAL SOLUTIONS FOR 88 CONDITIONS:

Example of digestive enzyme formula

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