Lexi Sandifer, NTP, Explains Why The Gallbladder Is Not A Worthless Organ!
What Is The Gallbladder?
- The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that rests beneath the right side of the liver.
- Its main purpose is to collect and concentrate a digestive liquid (bile) produced by the liver. Bile is released from the gallbladder after eating, aiding digestion. Bile travels through narrow tubular channels (bile ducts) into the small intestine.
- Removal of the gallbladder is not associated with any impairment of digestion in most people.
- Source: Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons
The Holistic Point of View
The gallbladder is a reservoir that holds bile and bile acids collected from the liver. The bile is secreted from the common bile duct into the first part of the small intestine called the duodenum. At the same time the bile is released from the gallbladder, pancreatic juices are released to mix with the bile to decrease the pH of the stomach acid.
Bile is used to emulsify fats. Emulsification is like washing greasy dishes in hot soapy water. The soapy water breaks down the grease which makes it easier to clean the dishes. Bile and bile acids emulsify fats to break the fat molecules down into smaller fat molecules to make them water soluble so that the fats can be transported into the intestinal tract and blood stream.
Emulsified fats are converted to essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are used in the body to make Prostaglandins. There are three types of Prostaglandins. Prostaglandins 1 and 3 are anti-inflammatory and Prostaglandin 2 is inflammatory. We now know that when someone is in a chronic state of inflammation that Prostaglandins 1 & 3 are low. We increase Prostaglandins 1 & 3 by eating healthy fats like butter, ghee, coconut oil, flax seed oil, olive oil, avocados, fatty fish, nuts and seeds etc. When these fats are properly broken down they aid in the anti inflammatory processes.
Fatty acids are also the foundation of every hormone in the human body. If you have poor fat digestion, you have poor hormone regulation.
If you have cholesterol issues, you need to look at the liver and gallbladder. Bile in the liver and gallbladder is made from cholesterol. If you have a poor functioning liver or gallbladder you will have cholesterol issues. Low bile equals poor elimination of cholesterol.
Another issue with bile regulation is constipation. If you don’t have enough bile you will have constipation. This is true because you lack enough fat to lube the fecal matter to make it easier to pass. This is where indigestion, bloating, gas, a metallic taste in the mouth, and a feeling of fullness after eating comes from.
Do you have chronic immune issues? Look at that liver gallbladder connection too. Bile detoxifies the lymphatic system. The job of the liver is to detoxify our body from harmful agents. The toxins are dumped into the bile for removal. Your liver is one of the most important detoxifying organs in the body, healthy bile is a key to proper detoxification of foreign agents.
Bile becomes thicker and more saturated with cholesterol after only a few weeks on a high refined carbohydrate diet. So, the more sugar and white flour in the diet, the more chances for gall stones, which block bile flow.
We are now learning that the gallbladder plays a vital role in glucose metabolism and storage. Many patients without gallbladders have difficulties maintaining proper glucose levels which leads to Metabolic Syndrome.
Does A Gallbladder Have To Be Removed? Many times the bile in the gallbladder will become thick due to a nutritionally deficient diet or a low fat diet. As the bile becomes thicker it mixes with cholesterol to form crystals. As the crystals grow they become stones.
We can use supplements to thin the bile in the gallbladder which can eliminate the need for surgery. There are different levels of supplements used in the case of thickened bile and bile stones. If the gallbladder has become so sick, that surgery is necessary, you will undergo a procedure called a Cholecystectomy – the surgical procedure to remove the gallbladder. This is done, in most cases, laparoscopically. When the gallbladder is removed it causes bile flow to become irregular.
What do you do if you have had your gallbladder removed? When the gallbladder is removed, a vital function of digestion has been interrupted. Many patients who have had gallbladder removal will still have digestive difficulties. They may also form bile duct stones as well as liver stones. Colon polyps are common with patients without gallbladders as well as colon cancer.
The most common complaints I hear from clients are “I can’t eat bread or oatmeal anymore since my gallbladder is removed.” “I no longer feel healthy.” “I have no energy.” “I have chronic pain on my left side under my rib cage just like I did before my gallbladder was removed.”
You will need to take a supplement that is a bile replacement, for the gallbladder, for the rest of your life. You will take it with each meal to mimic the function of the gallbladder. This will keep your bile levels balanced and aid the liver in proper detoxification, Prostaglandin formation, hormone development, cholesterol management, and glucose management.
There is so much more I could teach you about the liver/gallbladder but I don’t want you to fall asleep on me. It is important to know that bile and a healthy gallbladder are extremely important to your overall health.
Lexi Sandifer, NTP Champion Chiropractic Center, Inc.
Contact me for a liver/gallbladder evaluation at (360)438-6559.