What is the purpose of the Gallbladder?
A few days ago I wrote my post about liver healing, so now let’s get into the liver’s partner: the gallbladder!
The gallbladder seems to be something that no one talks about until it needs to be taken out. According to this article from Jon Barron:
“Considering that gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy) is now one of the most common surgeries in the world, with over a half million performed each year in the U.S. alone, that should be of interest to a number of people. In fact, roughly 20 million Americans suffer from gallstones, and 750,000 of them undergo cholecystectomies each year. There are 800,000 hospitalizations and $2 billion spent annually on gallbladder disease in the U.S. The bottom line is that gallbladder surgery pays for many boats for many doctors every year — and there are far better, less expensive ways to deal with the problem.”
Why we need a gallbladder
The gallbladder is a small organ that is located right under the liver. Its main purpose is to store and concentrate the bile that the liver produces. So when the liver is sluggish, our gallbladder cannot work efficiently. Gallstones apparently start in our livers, not our gallbladders. This happens when the cholesterol made in your liver is too thick and it sits too long in your gallbladder. This allows the cholesterol to crystallize- this issue effects about 600,000 people each year in the US alone!
It seems that the underlying issue of gallbladder problems is a metabolic dysfunction in the liver. Conventional doctors seem to go straight to removing the gallbladder, but this clearly doesn’t address the underlying cause of WHY the gallbladder is not functioning. There are around 500,000 gallbladders removed each year in the United States! Pretty soon no one will have a gallbladder!
I’m not as well-versed in gallbladder health as I am in liver health, but it seems that the 2 truly are interconnected. From that same Jon Barron article that I quoted above:
“It is important to understand that problems with the gallbladder rarely stem from the gallbladder itself. They stem from the liver, which if not functioning properly will manufacture bile that is prone to “stoning.” Thus removing the gallbladder does not eliminate the problem; it merely eliminates ONE place problems can manifest.“
How to Heal the Gallbladder
If you are just looking for ways to help out your gallbladder, your best bet is to start helping out your liver with gentle, nourishing ways that I talk about in this post.
Taurine is most important for helping the body create bile. Read more about taurine in my post here.
The other main nutrients needed for gallbladder health include magnesium, sodium, iodine, sulfur, and vitamins A, C, D, and E. Herbs like milk thistle and dandelion are great for liver and gallbladder health. There are also some homeopathic remedies that can be used to help stimulate the gallbladder.
If you already have had your gallbladder out, then it is even more imperative that you use the tools listed below as you cannot store bile at all.
Anything that helps improve bile flow will help the liver and gallbladder. The Gallbladder is the Liver’s BFF! Read my main tips here!
My favorite bile boosters are:
- Dandelion Root– You can eat dandelion roots or even have a tea made. I have a daily cup of dandelion tea with blackstrap molasses for a huge boost of potassium! Dandelion root can QUADRUPLE bile flow!
- Gaia Herbs “Sweetish” Bitters . Bitters are especially helpful for bile flow, improving stomach acid, and helps assimilate nutrients. Or go for Herb Pharm Better Bitters spray (which has 4 flavors).
- BioRay Liver Life– This is my absolute favorite liver support supplement, and it helps immensely with restoring liver function. One of the studies they have done on it says that liver function can be improved by 50% in only 15 days of use!
- Sunflower Lecithin: Sunflower Lecithin is not something well known yet, but it is gaining popularity. This form of lecithin is rich in phosphatidyl choline, which is a B complex vitamin that has extremely important roles in fat metabolism and liver health. It helps with stimulating bile flow and can help flush fat out of the liver, and it is also extremely important for brain health
- Fiber and Bile are BFFs when it comes to proper detox as well
- And my favorite liver remedy, castor oil packs, are also perfect for gallbladder health. 🙂
- For those without a gallbladder, I am seeing that bitter herbs are much more effective for most people than things like ox bile or bile salts!
*If you are in dire need of healing your gallbladder and possible facing surgery, I think that it *may* be an option to try a liver/gallbladder flush. I know of many people that do these flushes, but I have not tried one myself ( I just prefer to nourish and support instead of flush things out! If we were preventing health issues than things wouldn’t get this bad to begin with.). Something like the Hulda Clark flush is what I have seen most people find success with. This article from Jon Barron also has information about gallbladder flushes. However, I really prefer Liver Loving over Liver Detox/Flushes.