Updated: Mar 31
It is too often that people experience gallstones and gallbladder problems. The gallbladder is a small organ that helps digestion. . The four main issues encountered when the gallbladder begins to fail gallstones, gallbladder disease, Cholelithiasis, and gallbladder cancer. . This disease can be treated effectively with food if it has not been removed and is not in an acute disease state.
To understand how the gallbladder can be treated holistically, we should know the difference between gallstones and gallbladder disease. In the gallbladder, bile mixes with fats. . Sometimes this substance is not easily broken down, which prevents the body's ability to absorb it properly. . Gallbladder disease is when the same bile becomes so concentrated and thick that it starts to create problems such as inflammation, infection, obstruction, and gallbladder stones. .
When a person is diagnosed with Cholelithiasis (gallstones), the bile is supersaturated with cholesterol in combination with excess bilirubin, which hardens into these stones. . Most people with gallstones will be symptom-free until the stone is stuck in the tract; and will have no idea that they even have such stones. .
Causes for Gallbladder Disease
The cause for this gallbladder disruption or ineffectiveness is either due to the genetic inheritance of errors in metabolism. . It can also be because of environmental influences, such as drugs that control hormones or birth control. . However, most of the time, it is due to diets high in carbohydrate consumption, fried food consumption, hydrogenated oil consumption, gluten consumption, and even dairy consumption. .
People who have hyperlipidemia or poor diet most likely have gallbladder stones or gallbladder issues. . Other risk factors include female gender, Native American ethnicity, weight such as obesity, age factors, or gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn's. .
Fats and Gallbladder Disease
Gallbladder disease signs are simple. As soon as someone starts to get inflammation in this area, they will have a problem with lipid-containing foods. In other words, people who have gallbladder disease, gallbladder stones, or no gallbladder at all have a problem with fatty foods. Most practitioners say to stay away from fried foods because they have hydrogenated oils, and they can not be digested well. However, most conventional practitioners leave out the fact that there are other fats and fatty foods that can cause the same symptoms — these types of fats are listed below.
Saturated and unsaturated
Fried foods or deep-fried foods
Medical Nutrition Therapy for Gallbladder Disease
A safe conventional recommendation for people diagnosed with Cholelithiasis or gallstones is antibiotic treatment, and this is because more than often, other infections are correlated. . Oral dissolution therapy can help dissolve the gallstones without invasive strategies like removal of the gallbladder. . Nonetheless, there are complementary and integrative health recommendations that can really aid in reversing gallbladder disease state, if it is early enough. .
Medical nutrition therapies suggest slow and safe weight loss; this will reduce risk. . Also, increasing the intake of water, reducing oral fat intake of at least a 25% of kcal reduction, reducing oral cholesterol consumption to no more than 300 mg p/d, and limiting oral sugar intake, as high sugar is highly correlated to gallstones. . Pizzorno and colleagues recommend in addition to the list above to increase dietary fiber, reduce foods that cause sensitivity or allergenic foods, avoid coffee, and consider a vegetarian diet. .
Gallbladder Flush and Other Methods
It is also possible to rid the body of gallstones through an alternative method such as cleanse or flush. In my professional opinion, if a person does not want to take the suggested route of conventional medicine, which is the first line of treatment in medical nutrition therapy, and medical treatment is not necessary, then this decision should be supported. It is also highly recommended that alternative guidelines for additional support are provided. Therefore, I would still suggest ensuring that a person sees their primary care physician regularly, along with viewing proper handouts as a go-to resource while trying an integrative approach to healing.
Gallbladder Cleanse & Flush Basics
Remove all of the following highly correlated food items to get started:
eggs, egg substitutes, products with eggs such as cakes, pizza, breaded items, or bread
bacon, pork, processed foods such as hotdogs and sausages, pork flavoring, etc.
dairy, milk, cheese, butter, ghee, ice cream, yogurt, etc.
saturated fats, fried foods, hydrogenated oils, fatty meats, etc
drink 8-10 cups p/d
Try the following 2 of the following nutrients in combination:
Vitamin C 2 g p/d
Vitamin E 800 IU p/d
Lecithin 1-2 g p/d increase solubility of cholesterol in bile
Milk Thistle helps with oxidative stress highly correlated increase solubility of cholesterol
Fish Oil 3g prevent the formationQuercetin helps with oxidative stress and is an anti-inflammatory
(Adapted from Dr. R. Kneessi, MUIH Online Lecture Notes, Module 9.) .
Kneessi, R. (2019). NUTR635, Module 9 [Resources]. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Web site https://www.muih.edu
Pizzorno, J., Murray, M., & Joiner-Bey, H. (2016). The clinician’s handbook of natural medicine, (3rd Ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Casas-Grajales, S., & Muriel, P. (2015). Antioxidants in liver health. World journal of gastrointestinal pharmacology and therapeutics, 6(3), 59–72. doi:10.4292/wjgpt.v6.i3.59