If you are experiencing signs of gallstone then it means that they have become a problem and need to be treated. Learn to recognize the signs of gallstones.
Conventional medications, including external bile and surgery, can cause many side effects such as heartburn, diarrhea, and skin problems. Learn which foods to eat to dissolve gallstones naturally.
Gallbladder problems are on the rise. Learn what the causes and risk factors for gallstones are and how to prevent them.
If you are reading this article, I assume that you are amongst the lucky ones who have not yet removed your gallbladder which is a very important organ in the body. Even though your doctor says it is not important, believe me, removal of the gallbladder can cause a number of serious diseases down the road and I will explain how.
There are some cases where gallstones pain a lot and a surgery is a must. In that case, I have written this article How to live disease free life without a gallbladder.
What are Gallstones
Gallstones are little stones composed of digestive fluids that form in the gallbladder. You get two types of gallstones:
Cholesterol: These gallstones are made up of bile and cholesterol. When the cholesterol becomes oversaturated, together with the bile, it ends up crystalizing. This is the most prevalent form of gallstones.
Pigment: This type of gallstone forms when there is too much bilirubin in the bile. Calcium salts along with phosphate and carbonate together form gallstones. This accounts for only 15% of gallstone cases and is the type that is more common amongst the people of Southeast Asia.
Gallstones vary in size and though usually only one gallstone is formed, in some cases, multiple gallstones form. They can form at any age but are usually more common in older people though this has been changing over the last few years.
What Causes Gallstones
Gallstones can be caused by too much cholesterol or bilirubin. Gallstones can also be caused by bile problems, either because it is not concentrated enough, or because the bile doesn’t go through to the gallbladder from the liver due to a blockage or a buildup of toxins. This is why it is important to make sure that your liver is healthy.
These particular problems are most often caused by lifestyle:
1. Low Fat Diet
The belief that fat is bad still exists to this day because of incorrect research done many years ago. In an attempt to stay healthy or lose weight, you may feel that a low-fat diet is the way to go, but this is, in fact, causing you more harm than good.
One of the jobs of bile is to emulsify fat from the food we eat so that the body can absorb and use it for various things such as absorbing and utilizing the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. This is done by the gallbladder receiving the signal to contract and release bile every time we consume fat.
If we are not consuming fat or consuming very little fat, this process goes haywire. The gallbladder doesn’t get a chance to empty fully and can cause inflammation and gallstones to form.
2. Eating too many Processed Foods
These foods are often full of sugar, excess sodium, and unhealthy trans fat. If you are constantly eating deep-fried or processed foods you are eating too many calories, too much sodium, too much sugar, too much fat (and in particular, bad fat), and virtually no nutrients which results in weight gain and poor health. Your liver is affected by this and in turn, affects your gallbladder.
3. Diet Low in Fiber
Fiber plays a big role in the health of your gut. It keeps your gut clean by helping to prevent constipation, it sweeps away excess cholesterol, and it helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut which keeps your immune system functioning as it should. Without fiber, your body is unable to get rid of toxins effectively which places a massive burden on your liver and can cause problems.
4. Unhealthy Weight Loss
While being overweight is unhealthy, losing weight too fast or in an unhealthy manner is harmful too. Rapid weight loss, especially where fat has been severely restricted from the diet, often causes gallstones because the liver then puts more cholesterol in the bile than if it was metabolizing it normally.
Other Risk Factors for Developing Gallstones:
- Being female
- Being overweight
- Being diabetic
- Hormonal imbalances
- Medications like birth control or statins
- Being over the age of forty
- Liver problems
- An infection in the biliary tract
- A blockage in the biliary tubing
- If a family member is prone to gallstones, so basically your genes.
Signs of Gallstone
Gallstones usually don’t cause any symptoms until they become a problem. The signs can come and go which is why the symptoms are referred to as a gallbladder attack. If you have severe or continuous symptoms, it is best to see a medical professional.
1. Abdominal pain
Gallstones can cause pain in the mid or upper right side of the abdomen. This often occurs after eating and the pain can be intense. It may last a few minutes or it can last a few hours. In some cases, the pain is constant and can be severe. This constant and severe pain may indicate pancreatitis which occurs due to the tube that connects the pancreas and the common bile duct being blocked.
If you are experiencing constant and severe pain lasting more than 4 hours, see the doctor immediately.
2. Back Pain
In some cases, the pain will radiate from the upper right side of your abdomen into your right shoulder and around to between your shoulder blades. This is because the gallbladder can swell and then pinches the free neck nerve.
3. Fever and Chills
Fever, sweating, chills, and shakes are all signs of an infection. An infection can be caused by gallstones causing a blockage in the neck of the gallbladder. The fever is the body’s way of dealing with the infection.
If your fever rises quickly, is over 40°C or 104.5°F, or gets worse instead of better throughout the day, you should go see the doctor. Infections can spread, especially if a gallstone has made a hole in your gallbladder or one of the ducts or tubes. It is very important to treat the infection before it spreads.
4. Nausea and Vomiting
These symptoms are also caused by inflammation or infection and may accompany fever. Sometimes the gallstones can move into the intestine causing stomach upset. The gallstones also pick up germs, especially if the liver is no longer able to effectively cleanse the body. This just continues the spread of germs around the body.
5. Diarrhea or Pale, Greasy Stools
If your gallbladder problems are recurring over time all the inflammation caused by the gallstones can start to cause digestive distress that resembles IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), including diarrhea.
Because gallstones can affect the function of the liver you may find that your body’s ability to absorb fat becomes impaired. A clear sign of this is greasy stools. Your stools may also float or be pale.
6. Dark Urine
Your urine can also become dark due to the presence of bile in your urine.
Jaundice is the yellowing of the whites of the eyes and in some cases, the skin too. Sometimes stones can form in the common bile duct (common bile duct stones) or more commonly, the gallstones which form in the gallbladder can move to the common bile duct.
If multiple gallstones block the common bile duct, the flow of bile between the gallbladder, liver, and intestines becomes impaired. This causes a buildup of bile in the blood and results in jaundice.
How to Treat Gallstones Naturally
Medications are not always successful and in some cases, they do not work at all. Sometimes, gallstones are in fact dissolved, but then come back. In addition to this, there are often side effects that you may experience such as skin problems, indigestion, cough and fever, heartburn, or just not feeling well at all. This is why it is better to take charge of your own health.
Some of these foods specifically target gallstones, but others improve the health of your liver. As the liver creates both cholesterol and bile, a healthy liver is important to maintain the health of your digestive system and gallbladder.
1. Green Apple Juice
Green apples have been found to help many flush gallstones. This may be due to the malic acid in the apple, its fiber content or even the vitamins it contains. Apples also contain pectin which helps to relieve the pain associated with gallstones. Just remember that apples are high in fructose, especially as fruit juice. So as with all fruit, it should be eaten in moderation.
There are other remedies that are just as effective, so if you are diabetic, you may want to avoid the apple juice.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, particularly raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar can help to combat gallstones and relieve pain. Because of its acidic nature, it can keep the liver from producing the type of cholesterol that causes gallstones and may even dissolve gallstones.
Dosage: You can put some on your salads, or you can drink 1 tablespoon mixed with a glass of water once or twice a day. To relieve pain, you can also drink this same recipe every time you have a gallbladder attack. You can add some honey to make it taste better.
3. Lemon Juice
Lemon is acidic and it contains vitamin C. This combination helps to keep cholesterol levels down by keeping the liver from producing the cholesterol that causes gallstones, and the vitamin C helps to make the cholesterol more water soluble so that it can be removed more easily. The mornings before you eat is a great time to drink this.
Dosage: Though you can squeeze a lemon and drink the juice, it may not be easy for everyone to drink it this way. You can drink 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice mixed with warm water.
Do this until you experience no more attacks.
4. Milk Thistle
Bitter herbs have been used for centuries to aid digestion. These herbs get the bile flowing helping you to digest the fats that you eat. Milk thistle, in particular, helps the liver to function as it should and to keep producing bile which lowers the concentration of the bile. This makes it easier to flush the gallstones.
Supplement: Up to 500 mg per day is helpful, but it may be best to consult your doctor or a naturopath to determine the dosage that is right for you.
Tea: You can also get milk thistle tea if you prefer or make your own using 3 teaspoons of ground milk thistle seeds steeped in hot water for 20 minutes. 3-4 cups a day will be very beneficial.
One of the best things about peppermint is that it contains terpene which is known for dissolving gallstones. Peppermint also has anti-inflammatory properties which will help to combat pain and inflammation. It also falls under the category of bitter herbs so it stimulates the production of bile.
Tea: Tea is one of the best ways to consume peppermint. You can make your own by steeping the leaves in hot water for about 15 minutes. If you use dry leaves (1 teaspoon) then steep it for 5 mins. You can try this peppermint tea.
Dandelion is another great herb for keeping up the health of your liver. It helps to prevent your liver from becoming fatty and helps with the production of bile. The dandelion greens can be used to make a salad, but you can also make a tea or find it in supplement form.
Supplement: 500 mg of dandelion per day is a good dose to help your gallbladder.
Here is a supplement that contains, milk thistle and dandelion along with other herbs that boost liver health and improve digestion.
7. Raw Juicing
Juices are easy to digest which is great when you are struggling to digest foods. You can also easily add foods that help for gallbladder and liver problems. The following foods are particularly helpful:
- Broccoli: Great for helping the liver to cleanse itself and contains sulfur which helps to bring down inflammation.
- Cabbage: Contains sulfur
- Collard greens: Contains sulfur
- Radish: Contains sulfur
- Beets: Both the actual beetroot and its greens are great for your liver health. Beets also have anti-inflammatory properties too.
- Turmeric: Fights inflammation and stimulates bile production
- Ginger: Fights inflammation and stimulates digestion as well as eases nausea.
- Peppermint: Refreshing, anti-inflammatory, and dissolves gallstones
- Lemon: Relieves pain, lowers cholesterol, helps to get rid of gallstones.
- Green apple: Instead of drinking the juice or eating it whole, pop it into your juice for flavor and gallstone fighting benefits.
8. Healthy Fats
As you saw in the causes, a low-fat diet is not good for your gallbladder. You should be consuming healthy fats such as:
- Omega 3: Omega 3 is found in fatty fish, walnuts, hemp seeds, and flax seeds. Omega 3 combats high cholesterol and also lowers inflammation in the body. A krill oil supplement or if you are vegan or vegetarian, an algae-derived EPA and DHA supplement can help. A teaspoon of cold-pressed flaxseed oil per day was also shown to be effective.
- Omega 6: While the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is far too high in the standard Western diet due to vegetable oils and nuts, they are still essential to our bodies. Keeping the ratio between 1:1 and 1:4 will help to keep inflammation in check. Primrose and borage oil are particularly helpful for the gallbladder.
- Saturated fat: Saturated fat also plays a role in the body to keep it healthy. Eggs, grass-fed meat, ghee, and coconut oil are good options. If you are struggling with high cholesterol, however, try keeping saturated fat to a minimum and see if that helps.
Fat is also just as necessary as bile is to absorb and use fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
9. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Making sure that your weight is healthy is important. If you do need to lose weight, do not go on any restrictive diets or cut out fat completely. This study shows that a low-fat diet during weight loss can cause gallbladder problems. Read here about how to lose weight and maintain that weight loss while eating full-fat foods.
10. Magnesium and Vitamin K2
When your gallstones are calcified it means that calcium has hardened them. Magnesium and vitamin K2 (MK-4 and MK-7) work synergistically with calcium to make sure that it is well absorbed by the body and that it goes where it is meant to which is into your bones and teeth. Magnesium and vitamin K2 can help with the calcified gallstones.
Magnesium: 500-800 mg per day of any form ending in “ate” except for magnesium stearate, asperate and oxide.
Vitamin K2: 2000 mcg (100 mcg should be MK-7)
11. Organic Psyllium Husks
The fiber in psyllium binds cholesterol and keeps you regular. It helps to prevent your gallbladder from becoming congested so the bile is able to move more freely and gallstones are less likely to form. Always go organic as psyllium is usually sprayed quite heavily with pesticides.
Add some to your smoothies or sprinkle it over your food. Just be careful of eating psyllium husks if you are on anti-depressant or medication for seizures. Also, Psyllium Husk is a crop which is heavily sprayed with pesticides. This is what you should buy organic.
12. lemon peel
It is very high in a compound called d-limonene which is bitter in nature. Consumption of D-Limonene in either supplemental form or as freshly squeezed lemonade has been shown to reduce the formation of some tumor growths and alleviate fat buildup in the liver induced by diet.
Things to Consider if You are Genetically Predisposed to having Gallstones
Gallstones run in my family. My parents are dependent upon enzymes and external bile since years. Which again, something I told my parents to do and not the doctor who operated their gallbladder. Unfortunately, when my mom´s eye was suffering for example bad night vision, dry eyes, I discovered that she is Vitamin A deficient.
Her diet is full of Vitamin A, so it surprised me that she is having symptoms of Vitamin A, D and E deficiency. When I read and researched, I understood that her body is suffering from years of Vitamin A, D, E and K deficiency which every person who has had their gallbladder removed will suffer, my heart pained.
This is the full article where I discuss more living without a gallbladder, but these are the things I do for myself so that I do not develop gallstones:
- Avoid foods high in unhealthy cholesterol, as well as spicy foods, and fried foods.
- Avoid margarine as it often contains hydrogenated fats (hydrogen added to fat to make it solid resulting in trans fat). Choose butter over margarine.
- Avoid conventional dairy like ice cream, cheese, cream, and whole milk.
- Use only palm oil, coconut oil, ghee, or lard for high heat cooking as the fats don’t become damaged as easily by heat.
- Use olive oil on salads and in dips.
- Add avocado to salads.
- Eat flaxseed oil, flax seeds, chia seeds, and fatty fish for omega 3.
- Consume green vegetables like broccoli, collard greens, and spinach.
- Eat sulfuric vegetables like cabbage, radish, onion, and kale.
- Eat a lot of colored vegetables like pumpkin, beets, red peppers, and yellow peppers
- Add sour fruit like berries, oranges, and pineapples to smoothies for flavor or eat a little bit for dessert.
- Exercise, especially HIIT (intense exercise for 20-120 seconds, rest for 10-30 seconds, repeat) to burn fat and keep the body healthy and strong.
One night Gallbladder Cleanse from Dr. Hulda Clark
1/4 cup flax seed oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup grapefruit or fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons Epsom salt
- Mix all the ingredients together
- Drink this before bed. Try to have your dinner as early as possible.
- Lie on your right side
Option: If the lemon or grapefruit juice is hard to drink, substitute half of the cup with fresh apple juice.
- There are two types of gallstones: cholesterol gallstones and pigment gallstones. The most common is cholesterol gallstones which are caused by too much cholesterol and/or too little bile.
- Gallstones are caused by extremely low-fat diets, diets high in processed, sugary, and fatty foods, low fiber diets, and rapid weight loss.
- Risk factors include being female, being over 40, being diabetic, being overweight, genetics, and liver problems.
- Gallstone symptoms include pain in the upper or mid abdomen, shoulder and back pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, pale and/or greasy stools, dark urine, fever and/or chills.
- Dissolve gallstones naturally and boost liver health with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, green apples, bitter herbs (dandelion, peppermint, milk thistle), eat healthy fats (omega 3, omega 6, and saturated fats), supplementing with vitamin K2 and magnesium.
- Prevent gallstones by consuming healthy fats, lots of green, colorful and sulfuric veggies, HIIT, and avoiding greasy and processed foods.
If you are struggling with gallstones or have gotten rid of them, we would love to hear your story.
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[accordion_item icon=”” title=”Sources”]
- Home Remedies for Gallstones
- Gallbladder and Diet
- TRUTH – How To Get Rid Of Gallstones Without Surgery
- The Liver Cleanse (Liver Flush)