our Health Index for More Subjects, Conditions and
Gallbladder, Gallstones & Gallbladder Sludge
Gallbladder: a membranous muscular sac in which bile from the liver is stored — called also cholecyst.
The gallbladder is a small four inch long, pear-shaped sack located between the liver lobes directly under the liver. (see
photo) A small Y-shaped duct, called the common bile duct, carries bile from both the gallbladder
and the liver to the small intestines. The gallbladder's job is to
store and to concentrate bile which the liver produces.
When fats are taken into the digestive system, a hormone is secreted which cause the gallbladder to contract, thus releasing the bile into the stomach and small intestine. The bile's job is help food digestion by working on digested fats. Lecithin in the bile dissolves this fat into droplets so small that the enzymes can surround them and process them so they can pass through the intestinal wall into the blood which takes it to the cells where you body can use it. Bile is a green blend which contains water, lecithin, acids, cholesterol, bile salts, and minerals. Bile is vital to health.
Inadequate Bile Flow:
Trouble starts when the diet is too high in refined sugar and starches and fats and too low in protein. When too little bile is formed by the liver and when the gall bladder is too "lazy" (due to nutritional deficiencies) to empty its content, the fat can not be readily absorbed.
When not absorbed, the fat then unites with calcium and iron from food
(stopping these minerals from entering the blood where they can do some
good), and forms a hard soap, then forms hard packed fecal matter and causes
This persistent stealing of essential iron and calcium can bring on iron-deficiency anemia, osteoporosis (honeycombed bones) or osteomalacia (week and caving-in bones).
Without enough bile, fats, which quickly melt at body temperature, cover the carbohydrates and proteins that is also being digested, making it hard to continue the digestion process.
Then bacteria attack this partially digested mess, bringing on gas and discomfort, contributing to an smelly bowel movement and an equally foul breath. Much of the undigested food is usually lost in the stools. Poor elimination associated with gall bladder problems invariably indicates a major loss of vital minerals.
Because the lack of bile acids prevents the absorption of vitamin A, D, E, & K, and whatever fat has been broken down, deficiencies are produced. People with insufficient bile flow are usually so deficient in vitamin A that they have difficulty in driving a car at night, sewing, or doing other close work.
Although a low fat diet is recommended to decrease these digestive
problems (it keeps the gall bladder quiet until healing has occurred), when the gall bladder has to be removed
obviously a low fat diet cannot rectify this situation or increase the absorption of
There is a peril of a low-fat or no-fat diet. (See Low Fat Foods)
Gall bladder sludge:
Also called, biliary sludge, can be looked upon as a condition of microscopic gallstones, although it is not clear at what size the particles should be considered gallstones.
Gall bladder sludge is composed of calcium salts and cholesterol crystals. Unless you flush it from your system quickly, it can lead to gallstones, or worse, painful pancreatitis and inflammation of the gallbladder. If it isn't resolved, surgical removal of the gallbladder is sometimes recommended by medical doctors.
Gall bladder sludge can develop after fasting, rapid weight loss, certain medication, a high cholesterol level, drug or alcohol damage, or pregnancy.
Symptoms include pain in the abdomen, nausea, and vomiting just like gallstones.
1) Eat a high fiber diet. Eat more beans and fresh fruits and vegetables each day. You can add oat bran to your cereal.
2) Drink six to eight glasses of water a day. It flushes the liver and dilutes the bile secretions that lead to gallstones.
3) Green juices. Spinach, parsley - these are rich in chlorophyll, a pigment that has a natural cleansing effect. An eight ounce blend of two ounces of green juice and two ounces of carrot juice, diluted with an equal amount of water. You can also find fresh vegetable juices with this combo at your health food store such as Whole Foods
For healthy gallbladder:
Betafood consists of the water-soluble portion of red beet leaves. Beets are a good source of betaine, a substance recognized for its role in both liver and gall bladder health. The betaine in Betafood has been shown to be an effective lipotrophic agent,promoting the transportation and use of fats. Betainehelps support healthy liver and gall bladder function.
Product No. 90
Introduced by Standard Process in 1943
One tablet per meal, or as directed.
Proprietary Blend 316 mg Beet (root), beet (leaf), oat flour, and dried beet (root) juice. Other Ingredients: Honey and calcium stearate.
Servings per Container: 90
Each tablet supplies 100 mg beet root powder and 100 mg beet leaf and root juice, with naturally occurring betaine.
To Order: Beta Food
For more information about Beta
What is a gall stone?
Gallstones form when cholesterol and bile pigments become so concentrated that they form lumps inside the gallbladder. Eighty to eighty-five percent of all gallstones are coated with layer upon layer of waxy-looking cholesterol, although many stones are coated with both cholesterol and bile pigments. A few are made exclusively of yellowish green bilirubin. a substance that is part of the hemoglobin in your blood.
What causes gallstones?
The incidence of gallstones in the American population is high and increases with age. There is most definitely a familial predisposition to gallstones, but it is difficult to say whether there is truly a genetic factor since most family members usually have similar dietary habits. Diabetics have a higher incidence of stone formation and women are more commonly affected then men and the incidence increases with pregnancy.
As we said above, normally, the gallbladder is a storage compartment for the bile that you body needs to digest fat. You eat fat, the stomach sends it through to the small intestine, and your gallbladder squirts some bile onto your food to break up the fat. Your body then finishes its digestive process, and everything heads for the exit. But occasionally something breaks down during the eat-squirt-exit process and the gallbladder's sludge like contents crystallizes. This provides the opportunity to layer thicker and thicker coats of cholesterol or bilirubin around a calcium speck, thus forming a gallstone.
Exactly what causes this buildup of cholesterol or bilirubin on the calcium is not totally clear and there are many theories. Supposedly, it is from a high fat-high cholesterol diet. This popular belief may be far less popular and far less believable when evidence of animal experiments is presented.
1) There is some evidence that a deficiency of vitamin E may bring this on. It was shown that animals given large amounts of cholesterol or saturated or unsaturated fats developed no stones as long as vitamin E is adequate.
Of course, today's fast food diet does not contain a lot of vitamin E. Check any of the nutritional listings from a fast food restaurant and see if there is any vitamin E listed.
It is believed that in the absence of Vitamin E, Vitamin A is quickly destroyed and without Vitamin A millions of dying cells from mucous membranes covering the walls of the gallbladder slough off into the bile, and that stones form around a base of organic material. It appears that these dead cells catch and hold cholesterol.
This theory about gallstone formation holds that dead cells from the gallbladders inner membrane act as a nucleus around which stones form. But why doesn't this happen when vitamin E is plentiful? Vitamin A protects integrity of skin and internal membranes. However without enough vitamin E to guard it, vitamin A is attacked by oxidation, permitting membrane cells to die and drop into the bile
2) Stones are formed when a grain or two of calcium arrives in the gallbladder and hangs around long enough to become coated with either cholesterol or bilirubin. In other word, they form when there's too much cholesterol in your bile. This excess forms tiny "seeds" that start out the size of a grain of sand, but can grow to the size of a marble, olive, or even an egg.
3) Naturally occurring female reproductive hormones are known to encourage that process by delaying gallbladder emptying, such as during pregnancy and dieting.
4) There is also research that shows that gallstones will also form when fat
intake is low. The reasoning is that the gallbladder will not contract
unless fat is taken in and if it does not do so, the bile salts will
crystalize and combines with bile in the gallbladder to form stones. The scientific name for the reason stones
form is "biliary stasis."
5) Another theory is that stones are less likely to form from cholesterol when there is a high content of lecithin, which homogenizes cholesterol - also fat - and holds it in this condition.
6) Other research says that it appears that the problem underlying
gallstones is related to a deficiency of hydrochloric acid or to a food
Gallstone Symptoms: What are the symptoms of gallstones?
The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide (Random House) says that a million new cases of gallstones occur each year. If blockage of bile flow persists for long, many complications can occur - obstructive jaundice, infection of the gall bladder and inflammation when the trapped bile stagnates.
People with gall stones may experience only fatty food intolerance with mild pain, acid reflux symptoms or diarrhea after a fatty meal. The stone rarely cause symptoms if they remain in the gall bladder.
Gallstones cause symptoms when it interferes with normal gallbladder function by passing out of the gallbladder and getting stuck in one of the bile duct.
Pain in the upper abdomen or near the shoulder blades, along with vomiting and nausea, occurs when the stone gets stuck in the gallbladder's duct. The pain usually lasts a few hours, until the stone drops back into the gallbladder. If it stays stuck in the duct, a stone can block the flow of bile and cause damage to the liver, pancreas or gallbladder.
If the gallbladder becomes inflamed, it causes severe pain in the upper right abdomen (under the ribcage). This may radiate around to the back. This maybe be accompanied by fever, nausea, and vomiting. This condition must be treated immediately. If left untreated, inflammation of the gallbladder, called cholecystitis, can be life threatening.
If a small stone passes out of the gallbladder it may lodge in the common bile duct causing partial or complete obstruction. This symptoms are jaundice with yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes to a varying degree.
See your doctor when - you are experiencing sharp, unexplained pain in your upper abdomen, between your shoulder blades or in your right shoulder that lasts more than 20 minutes. Your skin and the whites of your eyes turn yellow.
Occasionally, a person has the typical symptoms of gallstones, but may not have gallstones. They will be found to have a dysfunctioning gallbladder. Although no stones exist, the gallbladder does not contract normally in response to the ingestion of fats. Symptoms are produced when eating.Gall Bladder Attack Remedies:
For inflammation of the gall bladder, eat no solid food for a few
days. Consume only distilled or spring water. Then drink
juices such as pear, beet and apple for three days. Then add solid
foods, shredded raw beets with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, fresh lemon
juice and freshly made uncooked applesauce made in a blender or food
Then get a remedy, see below.
We found this formula which we can recommend. Below is what they say about their product. Note: it supports both the kidney and gallbladder!!
Herbal Support for Kidney and
Gallbladder - STONE FREE by Planetary Herbals
In dealing with the elimination of waste and toxic substances from the body, the kidneys, liver and gallbladder can, over time, become overburdened. Planetary Herbals offers you Stone Free, a unique blend of turmeric root, gravel root, dandelion root extract, ginger root, lemon balm leaf, marshmallow root, parsley root, dandelion root, and licorice root. These herbs have been used historically to support the kidneys, liver and gallbladder and promote healthy organ function.
This comprehensive formula is twofold - it aids normal fluid elimination and bile production and assists with the body's natural cleansing processes. Primarily detoxifying botanicals, the herbs in Stone Free act to flush, cleanse and detoxify, ridding the body of mineral and other waste and fat-soluble toxins."
Purifying Support for the Kidneys
"Healthy kidney function involves the filtration of waste products (including various minerals) from the blood, and the excretion of liquid waste through the urine. Primary kidney supporting herbs - such as gravel root, parsley root, and marshmallow root - have traditionally been used to aid normal fluid elimination and general genitourinary health, thereby helping to ensure the smooth passage of urinary waste through the urinary tract.
Gravel root's flushing and cleansing action helps to rid the body of mineral waste. Classified as a tonic, parsley root stimulates and improves the eliminative function of the kidneys and assists in the balance of fluids in the body. Marshmallow root, in particular, is rich in mucilage; its coating action is known to soothe, moisten, and protect the genitourinary tract."
Bitter Substances and the Normal Flow of Bile
"One of the liver's main methods of detoxification is in the manufacture and secretion of bile - a carrying agent for the elimination of toxic substances from the body. Stored in the gallbladder and then released into the small intestine, bile also serves in the digestion of fatty acids and absorption of fat-soluble nutrients; it emulsifies fats, and therefore is essential in the proper health of the gallbladder. However, if bile is not properly metabolized, it can mix with excess minerals, affecting its normal excretion functions.
Herbs that support liver and gallbladder health have been used for centuries in traditional herbology. Known as cholagogues, they stimulate the production of bile, or promote the discharge of bile into the duodenum, and also flush and detoxify the gallbladder; this in turn helps to emulsify fat deposit build-up common with high fat, low fiber diets.
Dandelion root and turmeric, two such cholagogues, are bitter substances that support digestion and help facilitate the body's normal flow of bile. In addition, turmeric's cleansing action helps to detoxify the liver. Licorice root, another cholagogue, is a soothing lubricant that assists the body's natural cleansing processes and the excretion of toxins and waste. Ginger root and lemon balm leaf further aid in digestion and elimination."
To support liver and gallbladder health avoids the excessive consumption of saturated fats For additional kidney support, drink plenty of pure water and avoid excess consumption of foods high in oxalates or oxalic acid, such as coffee, chocolate, cocoa, tea, rhubarb, spinach, and other plant foods.
Combining Tradition and Modern Science
"Stone Free™ is a unique combination developed exclusively for Planetary Herbals by world-renowned herbalist Michael Tierra, L.Ac., O.M.D. Like the rest of the Planetary Herbals product line, Stone Free™ exemplifies Planetary Herbals' commitment to herbalism at its best-combining the wisdom of traditional herbalism with the advances of modern science. Backed by the traditions of Western and Chinese herbalism and years of clinical experience, this formula offers you the vital support needed for optimal kidney, liver and gallbladder health. The result: an herbal formula you can rely on for ongoing wellness!"
See Planetary™ Herbals - Stone Free™