If you experience symptoms such as burping, bloating, any other form of indigestion, have cholecystitis or any other sort of trouble with your liver or gallbladder– or both, as they work in conjunction— then you may want to consider learning the nutrients you can use to support these organs. In fact, your entire health is impacted in every way by these organs. You might be familiar with the indicatory right shoulder blade pain if you have gallbladder problems. Liver issues can lead to tension in the neck. Common issues which can be caused by liver or gallbladder dysfunction include chronic fatigue, irritability, depression, anxiety, dry skin, blood sugar issues, acne, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, and bumps on the back of the arms.
Beet powder or beets are a convenient first option to consider for anything liver and gallbladder related, as long as it’s well tolerated. There’s a compound called taurine in beets. Another “ingredient” naturally instilled in this root vegetable called betaine assists in digestion by helping to thin the bile and help eliminate toxins at the same time. Therefore, if you can’t tolerate beets as a whole, you may benefit from these separately. Beets themselves have been known to help people who might otherwise have to get a cholestectomy, or in other words, gallbladder removal. It acts as a kind of “roto- rooter” for the most important detoxification pathway on which everything else is based. If toxins aren’t passing through the area fluidly, there will be back-up everywhere else– from the pores to the sinuses. Bowel movements will also become irregular as the gallbladder, which rhythmically contracts with regular meals, controls motility.
If beets aren’t well tolerated, choline is a valuable substance that can help thin the bile, fight fatty liver by emptying out the liver and gallbladder, and stop pain in its tracks. I’ve greatly benefitted from this in acute situations. Choline has shown in studies to be helpful with fatty liver and weight loss, and has it’s own larger array of benefits, often being grouped in with the other “B vitamins” but unfortunately, not being listed as a nutrient with a minimum daily requirement.
Lecithin can also work in the gallbladder by the same action of thinning and (emulsifying) the bile. This is important when gallbladder stagnation is so common. Lecithin is additionally known to help with nervous system support. This is because like everything else, the brain relies on the gallbladder/ liver detox pathway to be flowing freely for its toxins to be able to pass through. We need the properly functioning bile to break fat down and assimilate it for use in our brain and body.
Bile can become thick when we take in processed, less recognizable fats to the body like canola and other refined vegetable oils. These are often exchanged in avoidance of wrongly villainized saturated fats). This along with not eating enough, not eating regularly, and not consuming fats that the body can more easily recognize and process, can form a sludge. This can eventually turn into gallstones and even over time crystallize significant portions of the gallbladder. This leads many to believe they have to resort to the removal of these vital organs. We need gallbladders for fat digestion which is required to make every cell in our body, to make our skin smooth, get rid of toxins and absorb nutrients. This is why it’s so important to eat the right, unrefined fats such as avocado, hemp, flax and chia seeds as well as whole, grass- fed milk and butter, or ghee if you’re lactose intolerant. Other sources include chicken with the skin on, tallow, and even lard for pork eaters. As long as the source is high in quality and comes from grass fed, pasture raised animals this can be extremely supportive to not only gallbladder contraction and health, but also for nutrients, immunity, and even heart and brain health! If you’d like to learn more about this, I have multiple blog posts about this: Why you Need fat for Optimal Health- Part 1: Digestion and Why you Need Fat for Optimal Health- Part 2: The Benefits all about the importance of fat and how it’s utilized in the body. The vegetable oil and sugar industry have spent a lot of money to propagate the idea that saturated fat is bad. However, these are exactly the kind of fats we need. These fats trigger the release of cholecystokinin in the gallbladder. In addition to processing fat, its rhythmic release regulates bowel movements. It also creates the feeling of fullness when we eat. Importantly, we need cholesterol to create the bile that breaks down all the toxins we consume every day.
I advise against getting any organ removed if at all possible. If you feel pressured into a decision but have time (if the situation is not truly dire), get a second opinion from a holistic practitioner or functional doctor. Of course, emergencies happen and modern medicine is helpful and there for a reason. At the same time, however, there’s no such thing as an “accessory” organ.
I’ve been taught by a practitioner who’s saved hundreds of gallbladders in people who thought they had no choice. They stated that they believed the vast majority of cases can be helped by other interventions.
If you already have your gallbladder removed, hope isn’t lost. There are certainly things you can do, such as taking bile salts with meals to emulsify fats you take in (like your gallbladder used to do). Unfortunately, many doctors simply aren’t educated on the functions of these organs with regard to nutritional requirements. The knowledge could help mitigate a lot of the symptoms people experience after surgery, and improve the quality of life. It’s also important to support the liver if you’ve removed it’s friend the gallbladder as it now needs to work overtime to eliminate built- up toxins. Enzymes are also supportive for processing food better when the gallbladder is removed or impaired.