Today’s topic is very important because so many patients that come in to my office have had their gallbladders removed and unfortunately most have never been told this critical information that we are about to cover. How common is it to have a gallbladder removed? Folks, in the US around 500,000 people have their gallbladders removed each and EVERY year.
Perhaps what I find most troubling is that most of these patients tell me that their surgeon told them they “do not need their gallbladders” and that they go even further by telling them that do not need to do anything different after having it taken out.
Now my friends, this could not be further from the truth. In fact, Dr. Mercola calls this behavior from surgeons and other physician’s “reprehensible ignorance”.
In order to explain we need to get back to the basics of human physiology. You and I have a gallbladder for a reason. It stores our bile, which is made in the liver and releases it when needed. Now bile is very important. Bile is necessary for fat absorption and plays a major role in the elimination of toxins. Bile also serves as a natural lubricant to the intestinal tract which helps to prevent constipation. Whenever we consume a meal that contains fat, your gallbladder contracts which causes bile to be released into the small intestine, where it then emulsifies the fat which assists in the fats digestion. What do we use dietary fats for? The list is extensive! Dietary fats are a tremendous fuel source for the body. For example; did you know that even the leanest marathon runner has enough fat on their body to fuel bodily functions for up to two weeks without consuming any additional food? That shows you just how efficient fat is for fuel. Fats are used as precursors for virtually all of our hormones. Fat is used to provide a protective layer of insulation, which allows for the proper firing of every single nerve fiber in our entire body. Where is the greatest collection of neurons in our body? Yes, that is correct our BRAIN, therefore, most of it is composed of fats. All of our major organs are encased in a protective pad of fat. Fats are incorporated into the cell membranes of each and every one of our 70 trillion cells!
So here is the catch, when your gallbladder is removed, your liver will still make bile, BUT, you will not have the necessary reserves available to properly breakdown and absorb dietary fats. You just heard an overview of all of the extremely valuable things we use dietary fats for. This is why every single person that has their gallbladder removed will at some point in time show signs of, fat deficiencies. What is worse is that they will also become deficient in the fat soluble vitamins, the big ones being A, D, E and K. Again we could spend an entire show on these vitamins alone (and perhaps we will), take a minute, look up the functions of each and you will quickly realize that is NOT ideal to become deficient in them. For these reasons folks that have had their gallbladders removed MUST take specific measures to mitigate their lack of bile. So how is this done? The answer my friends, is beautifully simple. Everyone that has had their gallbladder removed will need take a supplement that contains bile salts with each and every meal that contains fat. How long will they need to do this? For the rest of their lives…or until someone gives them their gallbladder back.
Now you may be asking, why if this is so simple has my doctor and surgeon never told me this before? Well it all comes down to a lack of education. Remember folks, 98% of MDs and DOs graduate with less than 1 hour of formal nutrition training in medical school. Sad, but true, that critically important information, in many of their eyes, is “old” information is for the little nutritionist. What also complicates things further is this; you cannot patent bile salts, our bodies have been making bile ever since we have been on this earth, therefore no company and certainly no pharmaceutal company is going to promote a product that will not generate any profit. Here we go again, look at all of the drug commercials, the drug ads in our papers and magazines. Also remember that in many European countries it is illegal for drug companies to advertise directly to patients, yet over here, in the US, big pharma really does rule our health care system. Also remember that pharmacuetal companies heavily influence medical school curriculum by donating to the schools, they sponsor most continuing educational programs for MDs, DOs PAs, NPs and not only do they fund most medical research, they also provide most of the funding for the journals which are in turn publishing their paid for studies. Enough on that!
Now for the bigger question: what is the root cause of gallbladder dysfunction? Here is a big hint, it is not the gallbladder. Remember all the gallbladder does is hold what the liver makes and releases it when triggered by us eating fat. If we are making thick, congealed bile which the gallbladder has to struggle to excrete, that is a liver problem. A healthy, non-congested liver will not make thick congealed bile. What about bile stones? They too are formed when the liver is producing an overly concentrated bile product. How does this happen? The two most common underlying causes are too much sugar consumption and an abundance of toxic stress. All extra sugar consumed, must go to the liver where it is converted into triglycerides, cholesterol and other fats. All toxins that come into our body are dealt with, or at least are attempted to be dealt with by our liver. An excellent study within the last few years showed that there are over 80,000 chemicals in our environment today that where not even on the planet when our grandparents were born. Add to the environmental toxins all of the toxins in all of the processed foods that so many of us eat on a daily basis and it is no wonder why so many of us have congested dysfunctional livers. Remember, if you cannot pronounce an ingredient on a food label AND that ingredient is not in your pantry, chances are it is a chemical toxin!
Okay folks, now you know that for EVERY gallbladder case, there is an underlying LIVER issue. So when you really think about it, removing a gallbladder and doing NOTHING to address the underlying liver issue is no different than if your house is on fire, the fire department is called, the firefighters arrive, they run in, they take down the fire alarms that are squealing, smash them so they are no longer going off, then leave while the house is still on fire! This is yet another unfortunate example of conventional medicine taking great measures to cover up symptoms but doing nothing to address underlying CAUSE.
So, what can be done to address the underlying cause? Well, there are many things that need to be done. The number one thing that must be done is to clean up the diet. Restrict processed foods, cut down dramatically on sugar and grain intake. Increase organic vegetables and make sure hydration is adequate. In general, we should be drinking purified water that is about equal to ½ our body weight in ounces with a pinch of Himalayan unrefined salt for every quart of water. Next, we must assist the liver with its detoxification processes. Did you know that the liver has 7 major detoxification pathways? By eating cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and adding pepper, onions and garlic, those foods will run a majority of those 7 systems. Some common herbs are for promoting liver health and detoxification are Milk Thistle and Rosemary Leaf. There are also some excellent whole food concentrates that have literally helped 10’s of 1000’s of gallbladder cases over the years. I have had extensive experience with concentrated beet greens which are a great source of methyl compounds and Betaine which have been shown to help thin out the production of bile as well as promote detoxification. I have had countless patients who were diagnosed with bile sludge as well as gallbladder stones, who were in significant discomfort and told they had to have their gallbladders removed, however most of them within a few weeks, some within a few days, not only had their gallbladder pain subside but went on to not need any surgical intervention. Now, like anything, there are some rare instances where surgery is indicated. If an individual that has gallstones ends up with a stone that blocks the bile duct this can become a life-threatening situation and in these cases, surgical intervention is indeed appropriate. The vast majority of cases however, can be handled by working on the previously mentioned underlying CAUSES.
So there you have it folks. For anyone that has had their gallbladder removed it is absolutely imperative they take a supplement that contains bile salts with all future meals that contain fat to allow for proper digestion. Furthermore, these folks need to take a good look at their diet and take special care of their liver, not only to help with decongestion but also to bolster the detoxification process. I hope you found this information helpful, please share with anyone you know that has had their gallbladder removed or are dealing with gallbladder issues and especially if they have been told they need to have their gallbladder removed.
For more information please see our show notes page at www.backtohealthchiopracticpodcast.com. There you will see links to some of the supplements that I have had the most success with, both the bile salt containing supplement and the liver supporting supplements. Please subscribe to the podcast so that you will not miss any future episodes, also kindly rate and review us on iTunes. Feedback: you also reach us on the contact us page at our website, if there are any topics you would like us to tackle, let me know and I will do my best to get to them in a future episode. Lastly, thank you very much for listening and have a fantastic day!