The gallbladder, a small, 3 to 4 inch-long, pear-shaped organ located directly under and just below the liver on the right side of the body. One of the functions of the liver is to remove poisonous substances from the blood so they can be expelled from the body. The liver excretes all these gathered toxins mixed with a digestive agent called bile. The gallbladder acts as a bile reservoir and concentrates and stores bile, a substance produced by the liver to aid in the digestion of fats. Bile is stored in the gallbladder and secreted into the duodenum (the portion of the small intestine joined to the stomach) during digestion.
Bile contains cholesterol, bile salts, lecithin, and other substances. The bile - about one pint of it every day - goes first to the gallbladder, which holds it until food arrives in the small intestine. The gallbladder the releases the bile, which passes through the cystic and bile ducts into the small intestine. Ultimately, the toxins are passed out of the body through the feces.
An abnormal concentration of bile acids, cholesterol, and phospholipids in the bile can change the composition of bile and may trigger gallstone formation. Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder. If the liver is overloaded with toxins and saturated fats, the bile (which carries toxins and fats) will eventually inflame the gallbladder. It may be acute or chronic. When enough cholesterol deposits (from saturated fats) have formed, they crystallize with the bile to form gallstones. Cholelithiasis is the formation or presence of calculi or bilestones (gallstones) in the gallbladder or common duct of the gallbladder. Gallstone formation is the most common gallbladder disorder. It usually occurs when excessive amounts of cholesterol in the bile clump together into solid masses. People with hemolytic anemia (marked by rapid destruction of red blood cells) may develop gallstones composed of bilirubin, a bile pigment.
It has been estimated that 20 million Americans have gallstones without knowing it. In fact, gallstones occur in about 1 in 10 people may have gallstones and not know it. These people are usually over the age of 40, with twice as many women as men being affected. Most gallstones are a mixture of cholesterol and pigments. In about 1 in 5 cases, stones consist of cholesterol only, and in about 1 in 20 cases, stones consist of pigment only. Often, there are many stones, and some can reach the size of a golf ball. Gallstones may run in families, and they are more common in people of Asian and white European origin, Native American and Mexican Americans.
The quantity and size of gallstones may vary from one large stone, larger than pea-size, to thousands of tiny ones the size of sand. Most gallstones usually occur in the gallbladder and are referred to as "silent gallstones," as they cause no symptoms and so require no treatment. Sometimes, however, gallstones produce acute symptoms by blocking the cystic duct (which leads from the gallbladder to the common bile duct) or the bile duct. Blockage of the cystic duct causes inflammation of the gallbladder, known as cholecystitis. If the gallbladder becomes inflamed, it causes severe pain in the upper right abdomen. This is accompanied by fever, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms often occur after the individual has eaten fried or fatty foods. This condition must be treated immediately as it can be life threatening. A blocked bile duct is also prone to bacterial infection. In some cases an infected gallbladder may become filled with pus, a condition known as empyema, which requires immediate surgery. Rarely, the gallbladder may be the site of tumor formation. For reasons that are unclear, gallstones increase the risk of gallbladder cancer; although few people with gallstones develop cancer, the majority of those with gallbladder cancer also have gallstones. Cancer of the gallbladder, which normally strikes at age 70 or older, is inoperable upon diagnosis in 75% of cases, and the outlook is generally poor.
CureZone.com: 43 Pictures of various types of Gallstones - Great Photos!
BIOLOGY OF THE LIVER & GALLBLADDER
Located in the upper right portion of the abdomen, the liver and gallbladder are connected by ducts known as the biliary tract. But despite this connection and the fact that the liver and the gallbladder participate in some of the same functions, they are very different. The wedge-shaped liver is the body's chemical factory. It is a complex organ that performs many vital functions, from regulating the levels of chemicals in the body to producing substances that make the blood clot during bleeding. The pear-shaped gallbladder, on the other hand, is simply a small storage tank for bile, a digestive fluid produced by the liver.
The liver is the largest, and in some ways the most complex, organ in the body. One of its major functions is to break down harmful substances absorbed from the intestine or manufactured elsewhere in the body, then excrete them as harmless by-products into the bile or the blood. By-products in the bile enter the intestine, then leave the body in the feces. By-products in the blood are filtered out by the kidneys, then leave the body in the urine.
The liver manufactures about half of the body's cholesterol; the rest comes from food. About 80 percent of the cholesterol made by the liver is used to make bile. Cholesterol is a vital part of every cell membrane and is needed to make certain hormones, including estrogen, testosterone, and the adrenal hormones.
The liver also converts substances in digested food into proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Sugars are stored in the liver as glycogen and then broken down and released into the bloodstream as glucose when needed - for example, when blood sugar levels become too low.
Another function of the liver is to create (synthesize) many important compounds, especially proteins, that the body uses to carry out its functions. Among these are substances needed for the blood to clot when bleeding occurs. These substances are known as clotting factors.
The liver receives blood from both the intestine and the heart. Tiny capillaries in the intestinal wall drain into the portal vein, which enters the liver. The blood then flows through a latticework of tiny channels inside the liver, where digested nutrients and any harmful substances are processed. The hepatic artery brings blood to the liver from the heart. This blood carries oxygen for the liver tissue itself as well as cholesterol and other substances for processing. Blood from the intestine and heart then mix together and flow back to the heart through the hepatic vein.
Abnormalities of liver function can be divided broadly into two groups: those caused by a malfunction of the cells in the liver itself (such as cirrhosis or hepatitis), and those caused by an obstruction of bile flow from the liver through the biliary tract (such as bile stones or cancer).
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: The Liver
THE GALLBLADDER & BILIARY TRACT
The gallbladder is a small, muscular storage sac that holds bile - the greenish-yellow, viscid digestive fluid produced by the liver. Bile flows out of the liver through the right and left hepatic ducts, which come together to form the common hepatic duct. This duct then joins with a duct coming from the gallbladder, called the cystic duct, to create the common bile duct. The common bile duct enters the upper intestine at the sphincter of Oddi, a few inches below the stomach.
About half the bile secreted between meals is diverted through the cystic duct and into the gallbladder. The rest of the bile flows directly through the common bile duct into the small intestine. When a person eats, the gallbladder contracts, emptying its bile into the intestine to help digest fats and certain vitamins.
Bile consists of bile salts; electrolytes; bile pigments, such as bilirubin; cholesterol; and other fats (lipids). It is responsible for the elimination of certain waste products from the body - particularly pigment from destroyed red blood cells and excess cholesterol - and it assists in the digestion and absorption of fats. Bile salts increase the solubility of cholesterol, fats, and fat-soluble vitamins to aid in their absorption from the intestine. Hemoglobin from destroyed red blood cells is converted into bilirubin (the main pigment in bile) and excreted in bile as a waste product. Also, various proteins that play important roles in bile function are secreted in bile.
Gallstones may obstruct the flow of bile from the gallbladder, causing pain (biliary colic) or gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis). Stones may also migrate from the gallbladder to the bile duct, where they can cause jaundice by blocking normal bile flow to the intestine. The flow can also be blocked by tumors and other less common causes.
The gallbladder, while not a part of the liver, is an important accessory organ to the liver. This organ serves as a storage tank for bile. One of the primary functions of the liver is to make bile. Bile is a liquid containing, among other substances, bile pigments, bile salts, and cholesterol. Bile is essential for the digestion of fats and oils. Bile does not contain digestive enzymes. Its purpose is to emulsify fat so that enzymes excreted by the pancreas can break them down. In other words, without bile, fat digesting enzymes can not complete the job of digestion; this would lead to serious nutritional deficiencies and disease.
Gallbladder Disorders Definition: Inflammation, infection, stones, or obstruction of the gallbladder. Conditions which slow or obstruct the flow of bile out of the gallbladder result in gallbladder disease.
Types of gallbladder disease include:
- Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder)
- Cholelithiasis (gall stones)
The gallbladder is a small organ, three to four inches long, located directly under/beneath the liver. It acts as a bile reservoir; it concentrates bile. During digestion, the gall bladder contracts and secretes its bile in order for the small intestine to digest fats. Bile is secreted from the gall bladder through what is called the cystic duct into the common bile duct, and, finally, into the small intestine.
Bile contains water, cholesterol, bile, bile salts, bilirubin, calcium, lecithin, and other substances. The solid portions are calcium and cholesterol. The bile salts act to keep all these dissolved as a liquid. Some people do not have the proper ratio of chemicals in the gall bladder; this can cause cholesterol crystals to form. Such crystals are often called gallstones. This condition is called cholelithiasis.
Many times, these stones can pass freely into the small intestine with no problem. Often persons with gallstones have no symptoms. The problems occur when the gallstones become lodged in the cystic duct, blocking the flow of bile from the gall bladder into the system. Even then, this only becomes a problem if the gall bladder becomes inflamed or, more seriously, infection sets in. if these gallstones become trapped in the cystic duct, most times it is not serious. The symptoms can be nausea, vomiting and pain in the upper right abdominal region. These symptoms often arise after the individual has eaten fried or fatty foods, which exacerbate these symptoms. Sometimes people with these symptoms believe they are having indigestion, food poisoning or even a heart attack.
If the gall bladder becomes inflamed, it can cause severe pain in the upper right abdomen. This may be accompanied by fever, nausea, and vomiting. This condition must be treated immediately. If left untreated, inflammation of the gall bladder, called cholecystitis, can be life threatening. If there are no gallstones, an antispasmodic, laxative, rest and a mild natural sedative may be effective. One should also study the cause of the inflammation so that it can be properly treated. In many cases, it is simply a matter of improper diet.
Sometimes cholesterol crystallizes, combining with bile in the gall bladder, to form gallstones in the common bile duct. If a stone blocks this duct, it can cause chills, fever, swollen abdomen, sharp pain in the upper right abdominal region, and jaundice (a yellowish pigmentation of the skin caused by a build up of too much bile which eventually makes its way into the blood stream).
FREQUENT SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Moderate to severe pain in the upper-right quadrant or in the upper middle of the abdomen (epigastric). Pain often spreads into the chest under the breastbone and may mimic a heart attack. The pain may worsen with deep inspiration. The pain may be felt radiating to right shoulder blade (right scapular area), and into the back.
- Pain due to gallstones may occur in separate episodes. Steady pain that increases rapidly and lasting from 30 minutes to four hours or more may subside over 12 to 18 hours in uncomplicated cases. Inflammation of the gallbladder causes pain that gradually increases in severity and may worsen upon deep breathing. Cancer of the gallbladder produces steady pain.
- Pain is often recurrent and/or may feel similar to pain experienced in past episodes.
- Pain occurs following meals and worsens after eating or drinking greasy (high fat) foods or fluids.
Possible nausea and vomiting accompanying the attacks of pain.
Fever and chills (gallbladder inflammation).
Abdominal fullness or bloating.
Severe belching, heartburn, and gas.
Colic and/or Indigestion.
Recurring intolerance of fatty foods.
Weight loss (cancer of the gallbladder).
In acute cholecystitis there is fever, gradually developing or sudden pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting, visible jaundice in about 25% of patients. Frequently pain is referred to back or right shoulder. Approximately 10% of the patients do not have pain. In chronic cholecystitis symptoms are usually less severe than in acute cases, but recurring stones may or may not be present.
Gallstone symptoms include digestive disturbances, heaviness in right upper abdomen, and tenderness on pressure over the gallbladder. Gallstone colic occurs when a stone obstructs the bile duct. Jaundice is flow of bile is obstructed. Pain may be associated with vomiting and sweating. If distended, the gallbladder is palpable. Treatment may include surgery. See the health care provider, whether acute or chronic condition.
Stones may remain dormant and give little distress unless inflammation and distension of the gallbladder take place or unless it enters and is unable to pass through the biliary ducts, when colic ensues. The pain usually starts several hours after eating and when the stomach is empty (often after eating fried or fatty foods). Flatulence is a common symptom. If left untreated, the inflammation of the gallbladder can be life threatening.
Often a person with gallstones will have no symptoms.
The most common abnormal condition associated with the gallbladder is the accumulations of gallstones. A "gallbladder attack" is often the result of a gallstone becoming lodged in the bile duct, preventing free flow of bile from the liver into the upper intestine. Gallbladder attacks may be very painful and cause nausea with vomiting. The pain usually starts in the upper-right quadrant of the abdomen and may move to the back. Acute cholecystitis is almost always caused by gallstones. Other causes may include bacteria or chemical irritants. Chronic cholecystitis can occur with or without stones. But not all patients with gallstones experience cholecystitis.
Gallstones are concretions formed in the gallbladder or bile ducts. Traditionally gallstones have been classified according to their composition. This information was then used to demonstrate the cause of the stone formation. This is no longer considered valid. Generally the core of all gallstones contains a mixture of cholesterol, bilirubin, and protein.
It is believed that the mere presence of gallstones may cause more gallstones to develop. However, other factors that contribute to gallstones have been identified, especially for cholesterol stones. A deficiency of the essential fatty acids may contribute to gallstones.
TYPES OF GALLSTONES
Cholesterol Stones: Gallstones are composed mostly of cholesterol, which is discharged by the liver in bile. Normally the bile is able to keep all cholesterol dissolved. Scientists believe cholesterol stones form when bile contains too much cholesterol, too much bilirubin, or not enough bile salts/bile acid, or too little lecithin, or when the gallbladder does not empty as it should for some other reason. The cholesterol may solidify to form gallstones.
Pigment Stones: The cause of pigment stones is uncertain. They tend to develop in people who have cirrhosis, biliary tract infections, and hereditary blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia in which too much bilirubin is formed.
The exact cause of gallstones is unknown, but cholesterol stones are usually associated with an abnormal composition of the bile.
Age, obesity, a high-calorie diet, very rapid weight loss, Crohn's disease, cirrhosis, hemolytic disorders, or intestinal surgery increases the risk of gallstones.
Multiple pregnancies, oral contraceptives, or estrogen therapy may provoke the development of gallstones in women with estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance means estrogen unbalanced by progesterone; an outcome exposure to or ingestion of estrogen mimics or environmental estrogens and consumption of excess amounts of dietary forms of estrogen (soy, or herbal forms of estrogen such as black cohosh and sage). Excess estrogen in the body inhibits liver enzymes needed to convert cholesterol to bile salts.
Obstruction of the cystic duct (usually by gallstones), injury, or bacterial infection (usually in conjunction with bile duct obstruction) may lead to inflammation or abscess of the gallbladder.
Gallstones are associated with a higher risk of gallbladder cancer.
Hereditary factors may play a role; for example, among certain Native American tribes such as the Pima Indians of Arizona, nearly 70 percent of the women have gallstones by age 30.
Prescription Drugs: The greatest drug-related cause of gallstones is estrogen, both natural and synthetic; including that found in birth control pills and estrogen replacement therapy. Additionally, cholesterol-lowering drugs, increase the risk of gallstones by increasing cholesterol secretion in the bile. In one study of 3,800 people, those taking an anti-cholesterol drug had 22 percent more bile diseases and a 45 percent increase in gallstones. (R.L. Smith and E.R. Pinckney, The Cholesterol Conspiracy . Sherman Oaks, CA: Vector Enterprises, 1992).
The Cholesterol Conspiracy - By Russell Smith
The most common causes of gallstone formation may be dietary factors. The best explanation about why gallstones form as a result of dietary factors is written by Dr. Ted Morter's in his book, Fell's Official Know-It-All-Guide: Health & Wellness, in a chapter called, "A Cruise Down The Alimentary Canal," pgs. 69-82.
Fell's Your Health & Wellness - By Dr. Ted Morter, Jr.
Dr. Morter believes that the typical American diet of processed foods and heavy consumption of meat, fat, and refined sugars, with few high-fiber foods, has been correlated with increased incidence of gallstones.
Dr. Morter explains that foods are of two types, acid or alkaline. This refers to the ash value of a food which means the type of residue that remains after the food is digested and processed. Is it acid, or is it alkaline? If there is an acid residue (inorganic acids), the body must neutralize this acid to keep the blood from becoming acidic. The acid is neutralized with alkaline. Ideally there is adequate alkaline in the diet to do this. However, if there is not, the body must extract alkaline from its cells to neutralize the acid. This, of course, causes the cells to become acidic, and thus diseased. The main determining factor of alkaline is organic minerals. One can equate organic minerals with alkaline for better understanding.
The breakdown of foods into acid ash and alkaline ash categories would generally be as follows:
- Meats, poultry, fish = Very acid
- Dairy products, eggs = Acid
- Cereals, grains = Acid
- Some fruits and vegetables (cranberries, blueberries, plums, prunes, squash) = Acid
- Overcooked fruits/vegetables = Acid
- Sugars, refined foods = Acid
- Fruits, vegetables (raw) = Alkaline
- Nuts, seeds (almonds, pecans, cashews, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower) = Alkaline
- Sprouted grains = Alkaline
All chemical processes have an ideal pH at which they are most efficient. Our internal body chemistry functions in an alkaline environment. Our blood for example must maintain a pH of 7.4. If it drops below that to 7.2 we die. The fluids in body cells of healthy people are alkaline. The more acid the cells become, the sicker we become. The cells will not die until their pH gets to about 3.5.
Our bodies produce acid as a by-product of normal metabolism. This is the result of burning or using alkaline to carry out life. Since our bodies do not manufacture alkaline (minerals), we must supply the alkaline from an outside source to keep us from becoming acidic and thus die. Food is the means of replenishing the alkalinity (minerals) to the body.
As a result of the "Typical American Diet" that leaves acid ash residue, the gallbladder bile becomes acidic because its alkaline properties (i.e., sodium) is reabsorbed and put back into the bloodstream. Sodium is a primary contributor to the bicarbonate buffer system which is one of the systems that keeps the body from becoming too acid. If a person eats mostly acid foods (meats, dairy, grains... etc.) and does not eat much fruits and vegetables to provide organic sodium to work the bicarbonate buffer system, the body will take the sodium from gallbladder bile. With the sodium gone, cholesterol is left high and dry in the gallbladder to turn into stones. It is far more important for the body to be able to remain slightly alkaline than it is for it to prevent cholesterol from solidifying in the gallbladder (cholesterol in the gallbladder stays in liquid form when bile salts are present - when the salts are gone, cholesterol will solidify into stones).
Eating too much acid producing foods every day (Typical American Diet), means the body needs the sodium from the gallbladder to neutralize the daily excess acid that is affecting body cells.
Other dietary factors that contribute to gallstones formation are related to nutritional deficiencies, again, as a result of refined foods. Deficiencies in either vitamin C or vitamin E have been shown to promote gallstones in test subjects, while control groups eating a diet with foods high in vitamin C and E remained free of stones. (Melvin R. Werbach, M.D. Nutritional Influences on Illness. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1988).
Nutritional Influences On Illness - By Melvyn R. Werbach, M.D.
Some risk factors contribute to the formation of gallstones:
GALLSTONE FORMATION RISK FACTORS Ethnicity. A tendency toward gallstones may be inherited. When other people in your immediate blood line have had or exhibit having gall stones, this increases the likelihood of your devolving gall stones as well. Native Americans and Mexican Americans have a high incidence of gallbladder disorders. Native Americans have a genetic predisposition to secrete high levels of cholesterol in bile. In fact, they have the highest rate of gallstones in the United States. A majority of Native American men have gallstones by age 60. Among the Pima Indians of Arizona, 70 percent of women have gallstones by age 30. Mexican American men and women of all ages also have high rates of gallstones. Gender. Women between 20 and 60 years of age are twice as likely to develop gallstones as men. Age. People over age 60 are more likely to develop gallstones than younger people. As you get older, more cholesterol accumulates in your system, increasing your chances of developing gall stones. Obesity. Obesity is a major risk factor for gallstones, especially in women. A large clinical study showed that being even moderately overweight increases one's risk for developing gallstones. The most likely reason is that obesity tends to reduce the amount of bile salts in bile, resulting in more cholesterol. Being overweight increases your chances of developing gallstones, due to the increase of fat deposits and possible increase in the level of cholesterol in your body. Obesity also decreases gallbladder emptying. Rapid weight loss. Quick weight loss can change the chemical components in the body and thus cholesterol crystals have a higher likelihood to form. As the body metabolizes fat during rapid weight loss, it causes the liver to secrete extra cholesterol into bile, which can cause gallstones. A drug that has been proven helpful in losing weight and not developing gallstones is called Ursidioxiacid. Fasting. Fasting decreases gallbladder movement, causing the bile to become over-concentrated with cholesterol, which can lead to gallstones. If you follow a fasting program, be sure to consume plenty of fluids. Estrogen. Pregnancy changes in the body's chemistry, and the increase of weight or other contributing factors also contribute as described above. Excess estrogen from pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy, or birth control pills appears to increase cholesterol levels in bile and decrease gallbladder movement, both of which can lead to gallstones. This "estrogen" factor, of course, decreases with the onset of menopause. Drugs. Cholesterol-lowering drugs. Drugs that lower cholesterol levels in blood actually increase the amount of cholesterol secreted in bile. This in turn can increase the risk of gallstones. Diabetes.People with diabetes generally have high levels of fatty acids called triglycerides. These fatty acids increase the risk of gallstones.
Maintain ideal body weight.
Check with your health care provider before pursuing any diet for rapid weight loss.
Do not use antacids. Use of antacids can cause bowel irregularities including constipation, nausea and diarrhea with occasional vomiting. They can lead to kidney stones, demineralization of bones, bone pain and muscle weakness with cramping. They can be counted on to produce malabsorption of nutrients. The list of diseases that have been associated with low gastric acidity include, but are not limited to: Anemia, arthritis, asthma, autoimmune diseases, celiac disease, dermatitis, diabetes, eczema, gallbladder problems, hepatitis, lupus, osteoporosis, psoriasis and problems with both hyperthyroid and hypothyroid glandular function. Lack of stomach acid can also result in food allergies, nausea after taking supplements and rectal itching. It can be indicated by weak fingernails, anemia, chronic parasites, fungal infections, and acne.
For elimination and prevention of gallbladder disorders, nutritional and medical experts recommend certain supplements while adhering to a strict diet to solve gallbladder conditions. See below under Diet & Nutrition.
Stones that remain lodged in the bile ducts block the drainage of bile. This can cause severe inflammation or infection of the gallbladder and bile ducts. Blocked bile ducts may also cause jaundice, in which the skin and whites of the eyes become yellow. In addition to jaundice, blockage of the common bile duct may cause inflammation of the pancreas. Symptomatic gallbladder disorders can become life-threatening if left untreated.
DIAGNOSTIC EXAMINATION & TESTS
Physical examination is needed. Examination of the abdomen by touch (palpation) may reveal tenderness. Your health care provider may press on the upper abdomen to feel for an enlarged or tender gallbladder.
A gallbladder full of gallstones is visible in this color-enhanced X-ray. In some people, gallstones are detected only when an X-ray is taken for another purpose.
Tests that detect the presence of gallstones or inflammation include:
- Abdominal ultrasound scan may be performed.
Many gallstones, especially silent stones, are discovered by accident during tests for other problems. But when gallstones are suspected to be the cause of symptoms, the health care provider is likely to do an ultrasound exam. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of organs. Sound waves are sent toward the gallbladder through a handheld device that a technician glides over the abdomen. The sound waves bounce off the gallbladder, liver, and other organs such as a pregnant uterus, and their echoes make electrical impulses that create a picture of the organ on a video monitor. If stones are present, the sound waves will bounce off them, too, showing their location. Ultrasound is the most sensitive and specific test for gallstones.
- Abdominal CT scan. Computed tomography (CT) can may show the gallstones or complications.
- Abdominal X-ray / Gallbladder radionuclide scan.
- MR cholangiogram may diagnose blocked bile ducts.
- Cholescintigraphy (HIDA scan) is used to diagnose abnormal contraction of the gallbladder or obstruction. The patient is injected with a radioactive material that is taken up in the gallbladder, which is then stimulated to contract.
- ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram) may be done using a thin, long, flexible, lighted viewing tube (endoscope) connected to a computer and a TV monitor. The health care provider has the patient swallow the endoscope, which is guided by the health care provider and passed down the throat, through the stomach and into the small intestine. The health care provider then injects a special contrast dye material into the bile duct, temporarily staining the ducts in the biliary system and x-rays are taken. ERCP is used to locate and remove stones in the ducts.
- Blood tests. Blood tests may be used to look for signs of infection, obstruction, pancreatitis, or jaundice. A CBC shows infection by an elevated white blood cell count.
This disease may also alter the results of the following tests:
- Amylase, urine
- Chemistry panel (chem-20)
Gallstone symptoms are similar to those of heart attack, appendicitis, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, hiatal hernia, pancreatitis, and hepatitis. So accurate diagnosis is important.
STANDARD MEDICAL TREATMENT
Surgery to remove the gallbladder is the most common way to treat symptomatic gallstones. (Asymptomatic gallstones usually do not need treatment.) Each year more than 500,000 Americans have gallbladder surgery. Treatment for most gallbladder disorders involves surgical removal of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy). Cholecystectomy is the treatment of choice for most gallbladder disorders and virtually prevents further attacks of gallstones by eliminating their source. Conventional abdominal surgery may be used, although increasingly, a newer procedure called laparoscopic cholecystectomy is preferred. The technique dramatically reduces postoperative pain and recovery time.
LAPAROSCOPIC & OPEN SURGERY CHOLECYSTECTOMY
If symptoms are not too severe and the gallbladder is not too inflamed and enlarged, this is usually first approached through laparoscopic surgery, a one day procedure where four small incisions are placed in the abdomen. A carbon-dioxide inflation is placed into the area to allow it to expand and a small tube with a camera at the end is inserted which sends a magnified image transmission back to a television monitor so that your health care provider can view the area. This gives the surgeon a close-up view of the organs and tissues. While watching the monitor, the surgeon uses to carefully separate the gallbladder from the liver, ducts, and other structures. A clamp is placed on the cystic duct and the gall bladder is removed through one of the small incisions. Because the abdominal muscles are not cut during laparoscopic surgery, patients have less pain and fewer complications than they would have had after surgery using a large incision across the abdomen. After the procedure, you may go home the same day or spend one night in the hospital, followed by several days of restricted activity at home. You should return to normal activity within a week or two.
If the surgeon discovers any obstacles to the laparoscopic procedure, such as infection or scarring from other operations or if there is a need to remove the gallbladder immediately, the operating team may have to switch to open surgery called a cholecystectomy. In some cases the obstacles are known before surgery, a cholecystectomy may be required. In these cases an open surgery is planned. It is called "open" surgery because the surgeon has to make a 5- to 8-inch incision at the area of the liver and gallbladder in the abdomen to remove the gallbladder. The organ is clamped cut and removed. This is a major abdominal surgery and may require about a 2- to 7-day stay (average is about 5 days) in the hospital and several more weeks at home to recover. Allow yourself 3 to 6 weeks of home recovery before returning to normal activities. Open surgery is required in about 5 percent of gallbladder operations.
Sometimes, while performing laparoscopic surgery, your health care provider will assess what needs to be done and switch to performing a cholecystectomy. Both these procedures take about an hour and general anesthesia is administered prior to any surgery. Tell your health care provider if you know you have any sensitively to any form of anesthesia. Sometimes after the operations you may experience some gas and/or flatulence along with diarrhea while the body is seeking to normalize itself. You will have an abdominal drainage tube inserted through your abdominal wall for fluid drainage. Even after the tube is removed before being released from the hospital, you will continue to have some drainage through the abdominal drainage hole for several days while recuperating at home until the hole heals itself. You will have to keep sterile gauze over this drainage hole until it no longer seeps fluid.
The most common complication in gallbladder surgery is injury to the bile ducts. An injured common bile duct can leak bile and cause a painful and potentially dangerous infection. Mild injuries can sometimes be treated non-surgically. Major injury, however, is more serious and requires additional surgery.
If gallstones are in the bile ducts, the health care practitioner (usually a gastroenterologist) may use endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) to locate and remove them before or during the gallbladder surgery. In ERCP, the patient swallows an endoscope - a long, flexible, lighted tube connected to a computer and TV monitor. The practitioner guides the endoscope through the stomach and into the small intestine. The practitioner then injects a special dye that temporarily stains the ducts in the biliary system. Then the affected bile duct is located and an instrument on the endoscope is used to cut the duct. The stone is captured in a tiny basket and removed with the endoscope.
Occasionally, a person who has had a cholecystectomy is diagnosed with a gallstone in the bile ducts weeks, months, or even years after the surgery. The two-step ERCP procedure is usually successful in removing the stone.
AFTER GALLBLADDER SURGERY
Some people wonder if they need their gallbladder and if it will have effect on their lifestyles. Fortunately, the gallbladder is an organ that people can live without. Losing it won't even require a change in diet. Once the gallbladder is removed, bile flows out of the liver through the hepatic ducts into the common bile duct and goes directly into the small intestine, instead of being stored in the gallbladder. However, because the bile is not stored in the gallbladder, it flows into the small intestine more frequently, causing diarrhea in about 1 percent of people.
SURGERY OR NO-SURGERY DECISIONS
Surgery is now frequently used to remove the gallbladder. Laparoscopic removal of the gallbladder is the most frequently performed procedure. However, stones may recur in the remaining ducts.
If gallstones show up on an x-ray or ultrasound, but do not cause symptoms, there is no need for surgery. A gallstone may slip into a common bile duct. If this occurs, extraction or surgical removal may be necessary. If the stone is large enough, it can be removed. This works in single occurrences and with medications to prevent others from forming. Sometimes stones in the gallbladder can be fragmented or dissolved without surgery, using drugs. Sound waves were thought to be useful but they are no longer considered helpful since many surgeons cannot pinpoint the stones as accurately as needed in these cases. Bile acid preparations used to dissolve stones work very slowly and can be used only on small stones.
Gallstones may be dissolved with chemical agents or sound waves, but tend to recur if the gallbladder is not removed. The absence of the gallbladder does not inhibit digestion; bile simply passes directly from the liver into the small intestine.
Alternative surgical treatment-Lithotripsy is a treatment infrequently done in certain cases, in which sound waves are used to smash the gallstones, while the patient is under anesthesia, similar to the procedure for kidney stones.
The disadvantages to removing the gallbladder are that bile salts are no longer concentrated in the gallbladder so they can cause a bile diarrhea. When bile comes directly out of the liver, the small intestine must adapt, which it eventually does. Post syndrome diarrhea can last from six to twelve months after surgery.
In general, when the gallbladder is surgically removed, fat digestion is greatly hindered. The tiny amount of bile that drains directly from the liver into the intestine is not enough to function adequately in fat digestion when even moderate amount of fat are consumed. This, of course, leads to malabsorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and to digestive problems. Bile must be present in the intestine to properly absorb fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and beta carotene). The consequence of not getting enough of these vitamins may not be immediately noticeable, but over time will manifest itself in a variety of ways.
The best advice for anyone suffering from gallbladder disorders is to change ones lifestyle and work with natural remedies to reverse the condition without surgery. However, there is a point of no return after which gallbladder surgery is necessary to save a life.
TREATMENTS IN PLACE OF OR PRIOR TO SURGERY
Prior to surgery, meperidine or pentazocine is given to relieve pain. Intravenous feeding and fluids are also initiated, and antibiotics may be administered to prevent or treat an associated bacterial infection.
In patients who have acute gallbladder inflammation but are too weak for cholecystectomy, a surgical opening in the gallbladder (cholecystostomy) may be created and a tube inserted to drain the gallbladder's contents. Complete removal of the gallbladder may be performed after the patient's condition has improved sufficiently.
Oral ursodeoxycholic acid or chenodeoxycholic acid - bile acids that dissolve cholesterol gallstones over a period of months or years - may be prescribed. However, such therapy is effective only for small stones composed entirely of cholesterol. It is expensive and is successful less than 50 percent of the time. Even when it does work, there is a 30 to 50 percent chance that stones will recur.
A long, thin needle may be used to infuse the solvent methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) directly into the gallbladder via a catheter. This method dissolves cholesterol gallstones within one or two days. Again, recurrence is a possibility.
Sound-wave therapy (extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy) has been used with limited success to shatter some types of gallstones and avoid surgery.
Radiation or chemotherapy may be used to treat cancer of the gallbladder.
POSTSURGICAL CONCERNS & PROBLEMS
I have had my gallbladder out so why am I still having gallbladder pain?
symptoms of recurrent pain after gallbladder-removal surgery (cholecystectomy) are not uncommon. This has been termed "post-cholecystectomy syndrome," and it occurs in 5-40 percent of cases in various studies.
The most common reason for removal of the gallbladder is pain, known as biliary colic. This pain, usually the result of gallstones, occurs intermittently in the upper abdomen (often on the right side) and lasts from several minutes to hours, sometimes with nausea and vomiting. Generally, removal of the gallbladder (and thus the stones) results in resolution of the pain.
There are several possible causes of recurrent pain after gallbladder-removal surgery.
1. The first is that the symptoms were not related to the gallbladder. Many upper GI problems, such as ulcers or reflux, can cause symptoms mimicking gallbladder disease. If these symptoms are not carefully evaluated before the operation, then the gallbladder may be removed unnecessarily.
2. Another possible reason for recurrent pain is that another disease is present in the bile ducts that causes pain identical to that caused by gallstones. One such condition, called "sphincter of Oddi dysfunction," is an abnormality in the sphincter that allows bile to enter the intestine from the bile ducts. The sphincter is too tight, leading to painful, excess pressure in the ducts. This is a common disorder in young women with typical symptoms of biliary colic. Often their gallbladders are removed, sometimes even if no stones are found, and the diagnosis is only made later when further investigations reveal the high pressure in the sphincter.
3. Another explanation for recurrent pain after a cholecystectomy, especially if it appeared only after five years, is that more stones are present. Although stones usually form in the gallbladder, they can also form in the bile ducts, producing to the same symptoms. It may also be that a very tiny stone was left in the bile ducts at the time of surgery, and this stone has been slowly enlarging since. In rare cases, the duct leading into the gallbladder (the cystic duct) is not clamped and cut close to its base during the surgery. This can lead to an enlargement of the remaining part of the duct, which can also lead to more stone formation.
The bottom line is that many possibilities exist to explain recurrent pain after gallbladder surgery. Appropriate testing will usually lead to the answer. Your health care provider can guide you through the appropriate tests.
How to control your Sphincter of Oddi or bile duct spasms.
(Post-Cholecystectomy, Post-Gallbladder, Papillary Stenosis or Biliary Dyskinesia Syndrome)
Biliary spasms affect from 2 to 10 percent of people who have had their gallbladders removed. A few people have it with intact gallbladders. It is more common among women then men. However, the causes of this syndrome are still unclear. It is generally considered a functional disorder that has a psychological component (somatization) and may increase under stress. The condition has symptoms of gallbladder disease pain and can start from a few weeks to years after the gallbladder has been removed. Burning pain in the epigastric (upper stomach) area radiates around to the back or under right shoulder blade. It often begins about a half hour after eating and can last for several hours. There can also be cramping under the shoulder blade or back and the stool (bowel movement) can be light tan if the normal amount of bile is not going into the intestine.
These spasms and burning sensations are thought to be caused by contractions of the common bile duct (the duct that allows bile from the liver into the small intestine) or a tightening of the Sphincter of Oddi (the muscle opening that controls the flow of bile and pancreatic enzymes into the small intestine). Sometimes "gallstones" can form in the duct that may not be visible on Ultra Sound that will produce these symptoms.
What is the medical treatment for this syndrome?
Although this syndrome is likely related to stress, surgery is often recommended to eliminate the spasms if anti-spasmotics, nitrates, and calcium channel blockers are not effective. The procedure to diagnose and to treat this condition is called ERCP. In this medical procedure, a flexible endoscopic tube is gently inserted down the esophagus, through the stomach and into the small intestine. A small plastic tube from an opening in the end of the scope, is then placed in the Sphincter of Oddi and a solution is injected into the duct to measure the pressure (billiary manometry). If the pressure in this sphincter is high (above 40 mm Hg) and/or "gallstones" are found in the duct, a surgical procedure sphincterotomy (cutting into the sphincter) to allow fluid and stones to flow out may be made. Stones can sometimes just be scooped out.
However, ERCP sphincterotomy surgery can have acute and long term effects. In women who do not have stones in the common bile duct or high pressure, the surgery is less likely to be effective in reducing pain and spasms. From 20 to 40 percent of women who do not have bile stones, but have biliary pain symptoms, have acute pancreatitis following the cutting of the sphincter; up to 20 percent can have pancreatitis just from the procedure. There can be long term effects also. The common bile duct may become chronically inflamed due to reflux of small intestinal fluid into the duct. From 14-36 percent may have some long term complications which may result in chronic pain.
If the common bile duct becomes plugged with stones or if the sphincter does not open to release the bile and pancreatic enzymes into the small intestine, serious medical problems can result. This includes jaundice from the back up of bile and pancreatitis from the back up of pancreatic enzymes. When this happens emergency ERCP or other surgery often needs to be done.
What are the types of this dysfunction?
Based on biliary manometry the dysfunction has been classified into three types. Type I and Type II have a combination of high pressure in the common bile duct, abnormal liver and/or pancreatic function tests, stones or "sludge" in the duct, recurring pancreatitis, or other physical and chemical changes along with pain. Type I has high pressure and many of these other problems; Type II has several of these problems. Type III typically has pain only, without any of the other problems. ERCP is most generally effective when the pressure in the duct is high. ERCP is generally not very effective for Type III, so learning to manage it and knowing what triggers it is important.
If I change my lifestyle can I reduce these spasms and pain?
If ERCP and possible surgery have been suggested and it is considered elective, and not emergency, there are some lifestyle changes that may help to reduce and control the pain, burning, and spasms from this syndrome. Surgery should not be rushed into until all else fails. Please remember, however, you first need to go to a health care provider to determine the cause of these symptoms. The following lifestyle changes may be helpful in reducing the symptoms. Keep in mind that there are only limited references for some of the dietary remedies in the medical literature related to this syndrome.
Reducing fat in the diet and other dietary changes are needed. Some research suggests that a diet high in fat and/or cholesterol may result in the formation of "gallstones" in the gallbladder or common bile duct. Measures to reduce dietary fat, triglycerides, and total cholesterol levels may be helpful in preventing stone formation. Several methods to accomplish this follow:
- Drink a tablespoon of bran mixed with a teaspoon of psyllium in a glass of water or juice upon arising (This mixture may help to absorb bile and prevent cholesterol and triglycerides from being re-absorbed back into the body thus lowering the cholesterol level).
- Eat a very low fat diet such as the Dean Ornish diet. This is primarily a vegitarian diet that has been successful in reversing heart disease.
- Eat and cook with foods that contain very little fat and eliminate fatty foods from the diet. Enjoy no-fat sour cream, yogurt, cream and cottage cheese, milk, "egg beaters," or soy products.
- Eliminate all visible fat including butter, table spreads, etc. Eliminate chocolate, peanut butter, nuts, etc.
- To obtain some fat-soluble vitamins in the diet take 200 units vitamin E, an omega-3 fish oil capsule, and in cooking use a small amount of olive or canola oil.
- Trim the skin and fat off of all poultry and meat.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Some research suggests that drinking lots of fluids may help dilute the bile and prevent the formation of stones. Drink at least 8 glasses of fluid a day. Drink a half glass of soda-water (club soda) three times a day (a few research reports show this may be helpful in preventing stone formation). Drink one or two cups of green tea (acts as an antioxident) or herbal tea or aloe vera (may sooth the GI tract).
Foods and Drinks to Avoid: Experience will often show what foods need to be avoided to help prevent attacks. Experiment with different fruits and vegetables. There are some general rules of foods to eliminate from the diet because they contain a high amount fat or because they may cause irritation resulting in the contraction of the sphincter or duct.
- Avoid spicy foods, onions, garlic and cucumbers.
- Avoid red wine, other alcoholic beverages, coffee, strong black tea and soda pop with caffeine.
- Avoid very cold drinks and foods. Lots of ice water, juice, soda pop and ice cream can sometimes cause spasms.
Foods to eat - Eat a well balanced diet containing the following:
- Four(4) servings of fruits (apples and pears may be less likely to cause problems than some other fruits).
- Four (4) servings of veggies (have yellow and green at least once a day).
- Four (4) servings of protein (no-fat dairy, poultry, fish, meat or legumes).
- Eight (8) servings of grains (cereal, rice, bread, etc.).
Eat small meals. The first meal of the day sometimes does not cause as many problems as meals eaten later in the day. Experiment and adjust your eating schedule to produce the least amount of symptoms. Some people have found that oatmeal relieves their symptoms.
Reduce stress in your life - Engage in pleasant pastimes and activities. After work, or a stressful day, do something nice for yourself or something you find relaxing and fun. Stay out of stressful situations. If you are involved in family, job, or other situations that are causing you stress try to see how you can minimize them (leaving the house to take a walk). Do self hypnosis, meditation, prayer, and stress reduction techniques. See MoonDragon's Stress Information. Go on a retreat at a religious community or a health spa. Do an evaluation of your work and family situation. Determine what changes to get your life in balance. Remember good health is a balance of social, mental, physical, spiritual, recreational and vocational aspects of life.
Physical Exercise - Get some exercise every day. Regular exercise reduces weight and lowers the level of cholesterol in the blood. Aerobic exercise, such as jogging, biking, or swimming, should be done 3 to 4 times a week. Even walking briskly about ten minutes three times a day can be helpful to overall health. Attempt to spend a half hour a day for at least three days a week in some form of physical activity.
Lose weight if overweight. Exercise can help you with this and also curb your appetite.
Find a supportive health care provider. Your health care provider will need to spend time to be supportive, will encourage lifestyle change efforts and is accepting of dietary and alternative health prevention regimens. Discuss with your health care provider the possibility of massage therapy or acupuncture. Take the medication prescribed by your health care provider such as anti-spasmotics, nitrates and calcium channel blockers that may help with the pain as an adjunct to changing diet, stress reduction and exercise.
Nonsurgical approaches are used only in special situations--such as when a patient has a serious medical condition preventing surgery--and only for cholesterol stones. Stones usually recur after nonsurgical treatment.
Oral dissolution therapy. Drugs made from bile acid are used to dissolve the stones. The drugs, ursodiol (Actigall) and chenodiol (Chenix), work best for small cholesterol stones. Months or years of treatment may be necessary before all the stones dissolve. Both drugs cause mild diarrhea, and chenodiol may temporarily raise levels of blood cholesterol and the liver enzyme transaminase.
Contact dissolution therapy. This experimental procedure involves injecting a drug directly into the gallbladder to dissolve stones. The drug - methyl tertbutyl ether - can dissolve some stones in 1 to 3 days, but it must be used very carefully because it is a flammable anesthetic that can be toxic. The procedure is being tested in patients with symptomatic, non-calcified cholesterol stones.
Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL). This treatment uses shock waves to break up stones into tiny pieces that can pass through the bile ducts without causing blockages. Attacks of biliary colic (intense pain) are common after treatment, and ESWL's success rate is not known. This approach is usually combined with therapeutic ERCP.
HOLISTIC & ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS
Before using any herbal, dietary, or alternative treatment, check with your health care provider. Some herbs, nutritional supplements, and herbal formulas should not be used if you have pre-existing health issues, allergies, or if you are pregnant or nursing.
Diet and weight are the most important risk factors you can control. Eat a high-fiber diet to improve digestion and promote bile flow. Limit caffeine, animal fats and dairy products, which can increase fats in the bile. Drink a lot of water to flush the liver and dilute bile. Lose weight, if necessary. Use vegetable juices, herbal remedies and nutritional supplements to cleanse the digestive system, prevent stones and relieve symptoms. If you have severe, see a health care provider right away as you may require surgery.
Some herbs recommended by various herbal publications for digestive complaints, liver and gallbladder disorders are: Allspice Carolina, Aloes, Anise, Baldo leaves, Balsam Fir, Barberry Root Bark, Birch Leaves, Bitterroot, Bittersweet, Boneset, Buckthorn Bark, Prickly-Pear Cactus, Calamint, Capsicum, Wild Carrot, Cascara Sagrada, Castor Bean, Catnip, Celandine, Centaury, Chamomile, Cheese plant, Chicory, Cleavers, Red Clover, Comfrey, Corn silk, Cramp bark, Dandelion Roots (Note: Dandelion should not be used with inflammation or blockage of the common bile ducts!), Yellow Dock, Elm Bark, Eyebright, Fennel Seed, Flaxseed, Fringe Tree, Gentian, Ginger Root, Goldenseal, Goose Grass, Hops, Horsetail, Indian Sage, Indigo wild, Lavender, Russian Licorice, Liverwort, Lobelia, Mayflower, Milk Thistle Fruits, Milkweed, Marshmallow, Milfoil, Mugwort, Stinging Nettle Leaves, Olive Oil, Onion, Parsley, Peppermint, Queen of the Meadow, Black or Spanish Radish, Rosemary, Rhubarb, St. Benedict's Thistle, St. John's Wort, Sassafras Bark, Shepherd's Heart, Shepherd's Purse, Smartweed, Speedwell, Toadflax, Turmeric, Twitch, Violet, Wafer Ash, Wahoo, Wallwort, Witch Grass, Wild Yam.
TEA TO PROTECT AGAINST GALLSTONES
When consumed over many years, the following special tea blend helps to promote bile flow. It flushes the gallbladder of tiny particles and decreases the risk of stone formation. Combine 1 ounce each of Oregon Grape Root, Milk Thistle Seeds, Yarrow Flowers, Licorice Root, Ginger Root, and Dandelion Root. Add 1 cup of hot water to 1 teaspoon of the blend. Gently simmer for 10 minutes, let stand for 10 minutes more; strain. Sweeten with honey. Drink 3-4 cups of this tea every day.
Alfalfa cleanses the liver and supplies necessary vitamins and minerals. Twice a day for two days, take 1,000 milligrams in tablet or capsule form with a glass of warm water.
Herbal Remedies: Alfalfa Products & Supplements
Fumitory (Fumaria Officinalis) has long been used in traditional medicine to treat liver disorders. Research has shown that it does stimulate the flow of bile. However, this antispasmodic contains many alkaloids and is toxic in large doses. Dry extracts found as capsules, tablets, or drops are available, especially in Europe. It is recommended that these be taken before meals. If the dried leaves are available, a tea can be made by pouring 1/2 cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of Fumitory. Steep for 10 minutes, strain, and drink at least 1/2 hour before meals. Caution: Consult your health care provider before using this herb and o so under his or her supervision.
Mint Oil, when taken on a regular basis for several years, is noted to dissolve gallstones and help relieve gallbladder spasms. It is best to use the enteric coated capsules that will resist stomach acid and act in the bowels only.
Peppermint oil capsules are used in Europe to cleanse the gallbladder. 1-2 capsules enteric-coated peppermint oil, three times daily between meals or a terpene mixture like Rowachol as prescribed by a health care provider.
If you have gallstones, or are prone to developing them, Turmeric can reduce your risk of further problems.
Other beneficial herbs include Barberry Root Bark, Catnip, Cramp Bark, Dandelion, Fennel, Ginger Root, Horsetail, Parsley, and Wild Yam. Caution: Do not use barberry or horsetail during pregnancy.
Cholagogue/choleretic herbal combination (e.g., Dandelion Root, Burdock) tincture: 30-45 drops three times/day; tea: 1-3 teaspoons dried Dandelion or Burdock herb per cup boiling water (simmer root herbs or steep leafy herbs for 10-15 minutes), 2-3 cups/day.
Steep 1 teaspoon in 1/2 cup boiling water. Take 1 to 1-1/2 cups a day, in mouthful doses.
- Alder Buckthorn Bark (1 part)
- Restharrow Root (5 parts)
- Yellow Gentian Root (5 parts)
- Peppermint Leaves (10 parts)
GALLSTONE TEA (Used to assist in passing small stones and gravel):
- Blessed Thistle (St. Benedict's Thistle)
- Birch Leaves
- Witch grass (Unable to find an Online Resource for this herb)
Mix in equal parts. Steep 1 teaspoon in 1/2 cup boiling water. Take 1 to 1-1/2 cups per day, unsweetened, in mouthful doses.
HERBAL TEA FOR ABDOMINAL CRAMPS
This blend of anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic digestive herbs relieves the painful abdominal cramps that are associated with gallbladder problems.
- Chamomile Flowers
- Valerian Root
- Wild Yam Root
- Peppermint Leaves
Combine 1 ounce of each of the first 3 herbs along with 3 ounces of Peppermint Leaves. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 tablespoons of the blend. Steep for 10 minutes and then strain. Drink 2-3 cups daily.
Gallbladder flushes in which people consume large amounts of olive oil, have become a popular home remedy in recent years. Many medical experts believe this procedure to be dangerous, especially for someone who has large gallstones, because heavy consumption of oil can cause gallbladder contraction. The contractions increase the chances of biliary obstructions, that is, a stone stuck in the bile duct, which requires immediate surgery.
If you decide to embark on a kidney and gallbladder flushes, there are many books that can give you details on how to do that. However, such flushes should be used on the advice of an experienced and well-trained health care professional. Refer to the list of books at the end of this article to learn more about kidney and gallbladder flushes.
However, here is a gentle gallbladder flush that can help greatly without any side-effects. An old oriental folk remedy used for emulsifying gallbladder stones is a plant called Hydrangea. The part of the plant that is used medicinally is the root. Hydrangea root is one of the, if not the most, powerful herbs known for dissolving calculus deposits in the kidneys and gallbladder. The following formula is one recommended by Dr. Edward Shook in his classic herbal textbook, Advanced Treatis in Herbology, and has been proven to be safe and effective:
- One Quart pure Apple Juice (organic).
- 2 ounces Hydrangea Root (chopped).
Soak hydrangea root in the juice for 12 hours. Put the juice and root on the stove and bring to a boil. Slowly simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool, strain out hydrangea root, and bottle. Keep juice in the refrigerator. Drink a cupful three to four times a day. There are no side effects or danger of overdose as this formula is completely harmless.
Hydrangea root can be purchased whole at good health food stores. It can also be obtained as a tincture. In tincture form it is most convenient. To prepare a dose, simply fill a cup with apple juice and add 20-30 drops of hydrangea tincture. Drink it warm or cold. This way you avoid the trouble of heating the juice/hydrangea mixture and straining out the root afterwards.
Please note: It has come to my attention that some resources state that hydrangea root should not be used for an extended period of time. However, I have no information as to how long or how much is recommended or how accurate this information may be. If you have any doubts about this or any other supplement, follow the advice on the product label and/or consult with your herbalist or health care provider about usage, particularly for your specific situation.
You can prevent gallstones by cleansing the liver with fresh vegetable juices, which can also support cholesterol metabolism. Apple, pear, beet, radish, cabbage, artichoke, and dandelion juices can all promote liver function. You can go on a brief 3-day juice cleansing diet, or you can drink the fresh juices regularly to support liver cleansing. If you prefer, these juices can be diluted down with water or herbal teas. Tinctures of these vegetables, available at many health food stores, may be more practical for those who don't own a juicer (a blender can be used to make some juices).
LIVER-STIMULATING HERBS: GALLBLADDER CLEANSE
Stimulating the liver to produce more bile will help reduce the concentration of cholesterol in bile to keep the contents of the gallbladder fluid. Bitter herbs are often chologogues which serve this purpose. Chologogues often have a mild, temporary laxative effect for 2-3 days for some people.
Lipotrophic formulas help the liver metabolize fats and lipids, which reduces the risk of gallstones. These formulas, found at health food stores, contain nutrients such as omega-3 essential fatty acids; herbs, such as dandelion, chelidonium and milk thistle; and antioxidants, such as glutathione, methionine, cysteine and choline. Many people with gallstones are deficient in hydrochloric acid, the primary stomach acid, and may need supplements of this, also available at health food stores. In addition, vitamin C helps the liver digest fats.
Milk Thistle Extract. Use 600 mg per day of Milk Thistle Extract standardized to 70-80% (420 mg) Silymarin. Silymarin is the active component of milk thistle and it reduces cholesterol levels in bile.
Dandelion Root & Leaf. Dandelion [Urinary, Digestive] is a member of the sunflower family. Its name is a corruption of the French dents de lion, meaning "teeth of the lion." Herbalists consider this plant one of the most nutrient-rich in the plant kingdom. The whole plant is edible - the flowers, the leaves and the roots. Dandelion supports digestion and nourishes the liver. The herb is a source of potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, silicon, phosphorus and sodium. The leaves are a richer source of vitamin A than carrots and contain some vitamins B, C and D. If you take Dandelion Capsules, use one that contains at least 460 mg of Dandelion. Take 2 capsules with a meal twice daily.
Cascara Sagrada. Cascara Sagrada [Intestinal], known as sacred bark. As a nutritional support for proper waste elimination, the bark has been used by cultures around the world. Its popularity is no accident. As a nutritional support for the eliminative function, the bark has been used by cultures around the world, including the Native North Americans and American settlers. Spanish missionaries noticed its use among the natives and called it sacred; hence, the Spanish name. It was first marketed in 1877, and was later acknowledged and used by the medical profession. Cascara Sagrada influences intestinal contraction and supports a clean, healthy colon. The herb is offered individually or in many combinations. If you used capsules, look for a product where each capsule contains at least 390 mg Cascara Sagrada (Vegitabs 410 mg). Take 2 capsules/tablets with a meal twice daily.
Gentian. Gentiana lutea is a bitter digestive tonic. Gentian root may well be the most bitter substance on the planet! Found in the mountains of Europe, Gentian root was popular for centuries as a midday tea. Gentian berries were dried and ground to make a popular beverage by early Pennsylvanian Germans. Gentian has been used in various medicines since 1200 BC. Historically, the Greeks, Egyptians and Romans used it to increase appetite, cleanse sores, and treat certain types of liver disease and stomach disorders. It has also been used by Chinese doctors as a treatment for arthritis, sore throats and headaches. Today, due to gentianine (a chemical found in the herb), Gentian may be used as a digestive aid. In addition, it has been found to have anti-inflammatory qualities which indicate that it may be useful in relieving certain inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis and rheumatism. It is rich in the B-complex nutrients, vitamin F, niacin, inositol, and many trace elements. Bitters are known to increase appetite and help the digestion process. This herb is known to have a harsh taste and is therefore usually mixed with other ingredients. It is a powerful digestive stimulant used for improving appetite, absorption of nutrients, promoting secretion of digestive juices and alleviating bloating and wind. It is particularly useful for older people. Avoid in acid indigestion, gastritis or peptic ulceration. Suggested Gentian Tincture use: (Shake well before using) Mix 15-30 drops in warm water and take this tea 1-3 times daily. Discontinue use if unusual symptoms occur. Do not exceed dosage. Avoid in pregnancy and breast feeding. Can be obtained in tincture form.
Nature's Sunshine LIV-C. Chinese Liver Balance (formerly LIV-C) [Digestive, Nervous] is a Chinese combination of 12 herbs designed to support the needs of a stressed wood constitution The Chinese call this formula tiao he, which means "harmonizing." This formula supports both the digestive and nervous systems, optimizing liver health and reducing stress. Its primary herbs - scute, peony, bupleurum and atractylodes - help normalize the nervous system during mental agitation and normalize the upper digestive system during tension and distress. It contains: Bupleurum root, Peony root, Pinellia rhizome, Cinnamon twig, Dang gui root, Fushen plant, Scute root, Zhishi fruit, Atractylodes rhizome, Panax ginseng root, Ginger rhizome, Licorice root. Take 4 capsules with a meal twice daily.
Nature's Sunshine BLG-X. Gallbladder Formula (formerly BLG-X) [Digestive] contains herbs traditionally used to provide nutrients that support the proper function of the digestive system, particularly the liver and gallbladder. Gallbladder Formula provides soothing action. It contains: Oregon grape root, Ginger root, Cramp bark, Fennel seeds, Peppermint leaves, Wild yam root, Catnip herb. Take 2 capsules with a meal three times daily.
Gaia Dandelion/Fennel Supreme. This formula contains bitter principles that activate digestive secretions and enrich enzymatic activity upon food metabolism. Also, some herbs in this formula provide a soothing influence that dispels gas accumulated in the stomach and intestines. This formula may also be used as a tonic for restoring digestive functions. Suggested Use: Take 30 - 40 drops of extract in a small amount of warm water 3 - 4 times daily between meals. Shake well before using. Not to be used during pregnancy or lactation. Keep away from children. Use only as directed on label. Contains extracts from fresh Dandelion Root & Leaf, Fennel Seed, fresh Gentian Root, fresh Peppermint Leaf, Licorice Root. and fresh Ginger Root in 45 - 55% Pure Grain Alcohol USP and Spring Water. Available in tea form as Diet Support Tea with Fennel & Dandelion, NOW Foods, Caffeine Free, 30 Tea Bags
Bladderwrack. Bladderwrack is also known by the names Black Tang, Rockweed, Bladder Fucus, Seawrack, Sea Oak, Black Tany, Cut Weed, and Rockwrack. Bladderwrack is a type of seaweed found on the coasts of the North Sea, the western Baltic Sea, and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. A common food in Japan, it is used as an additive and flavoring in various food products in Europe. Bladderwrack is commonly found as a component of Kelp tablets or powders used as nutritional supplements. It is sometimes loosely called Kelp, but that term technically refers to a different seaweed. Primary chemical constituents of this plant include mucilage, algin, mannitol, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, iodine, bromine, potassium, volatile oils, and many other minerals. The main use of Bladderwrack (and other types of seaweed) in herbal medicine is as a source of iodine, an essential nutrient for the thyroid gland. Bladderwrack has proved most useful in the treatment of underactive thyroid glands (hypothyroidism) and goiter. Through the regulation of thyroid function, there is an improvement in all the associated symptoms. Where obesity is associated with thyroid trouble, this herb may be very helpful in reducing the excess weight. It has a reputation in helping the relief of rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis, both used internally and as an external application upon inflamed joints. A chemical constituent of Bladderwrack called alginic acid swells upon contact with water; when taken orally, it forms a type of "seal" at the top of the stomach, and for this reason is used in several over-the-counter preparations for heartburn. The same constituent gives Bladderwrack laxative properties as well. Other proposed uses of Bladderwrack include treating atherosclerosis and strengthening immunity, although there is no scientific evidence at present that it works for these purposes. Recommended Dosage: Take one (1) capsule, one (1) to two (2) times each day with water at mealtimes. Bladderwrack should not be used in cases of hyperthyroidism or cardiac problems, or during pregnancy and lactation. Excessive dosage (many times the recommended dosage) may lead to hyperthyroidism, tremor, increased pulse rate and elevated blood pressure.
Gravel Root. Useful for kidney problems, urinary difficulties and gravel, dropsy, rheumatism and neuralgia. Used primarily for kidney stones or gravel, it is also of benefit in the treatment of cystitis, dysuria and urethritis. It is also used in pelvic inflammatory disease. It can play a useful role in a systemic treatment of rheumatism and gout as it encourages excretion of excess uric acid. It tones the reproductive tract and is used to treat inflammation of the prostate, spasmodic dysmenorrhea with scanty menstruation; and to ease childbirth. Recommended use is three times daily. It comes as Dried Gravel Root rhizome and root: 2-4 g or by decoction, Gravel Root Liquid Extract: 1:1 in 25% alcohol, and Gravel Root Tincture: 1:5 in 40% alcohol.
Gaia Fennel/Wild Yam Supreme. Maintains Healthy Gall Bladder Function. This is a fluid Extract in an alcohol base containing Fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare), Wild Yam root (Dioscorea villosa), Mayapple root (Podophyllum peltatum), Dandelion root & leaf (Taraxacum officinalis), Celandine root (Chelidonium majus), California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), Peppermint oil (Mentha piperita), USP Pure Grain Alcohol (40-50%), and Spring Water. Recommended dose is 30-40 drops, 3-4 times daily for a duration of 3-4 months. Best taken between meals, in a small amount of warm water. Do not use during pregnancy and lactation. Please Note: This specific product has been discontinued.
Here are some interesting Liver-Gallbladder Cleansing Recipes for removing stones from the liver and gallbladder:
CureZone.com: Dr. Hulda's Liver-Gallbladder Cleanse - Flush Recipe
CureZone.com: Kelley's Liver-Gallbladder Cleanse - Flush Recipe
CureZone.com: Are You Stoned? Liver-Gallbladder Cleanse - Flush Recipe
CureZone.com: Orthophosphoric Acid/Apple Juice Liver Flush Recipe
CureZone.com: Classic Coke Liver-Gallbladder Cleanse - Flush Recipe
CureZone.com: Cleansing or Surgery Liver-Gallbladder Cleanse
CureZone.com: Olive Oil Liver-Gallbladder Cleanse Flush Recipe
CureZone.com: 7 Day Program Liver-Gallbladder Cleanse - Flush Recipe
CureZone.com: Dushans' Grandma Liver-Gallbladder Cleanse Flush Recipe
CureZone.com: Olive Oil Liver-Gallbladder Cleanse Flush Recipe
EMULSIFIERS & ENZYMES
Lecithin and Phosphatidyl Choline. Lecithin is an effective fat emulsifier. Phosphatidyl choline is a purified extract from lecithin and is one of the components of bile. Phosphatidyl Choline helps protect against gallstone formation. Phosphatidyl choline, used alone, may not be adequate to protect against gallstone formation. Consider using 300-2,000 mg/day of Phosphatidyl Choline as part of a more comprehensive supplement program.
Herbal Remedies: Lecithin Concentrate, Nature's Way, 400 mg, 100 Softgels
Herbal Remedies: Lecithin Supplement, Nature's Way, 1200 mg, 100 Softgels
Herbal Remedies: Lecithin Vegetarian Granules, NOW Foods, 97% Phosphatides, Identity Preserved, Non-FE, 1 lb.
Herbal Remedies: Phosphatidyl Choline (Derived From Soy), Allergy Research Group / Nutricology, 100 Softgels
Nature's Sunshine Hi Lipase. This formula contains fat-digesting enzymes. Hi Lipase [Digestive] is designed for individuals who have difficulty digesting lipids (fats). Lipase is any one of a class of enzymes that assist in the breakdown of dietary fats. Lipases are produced by the liver, pancreas and other digestive organs. They are also manufactured by certain plants. Hi Lipase provides more complete digestion of high-fat foods, including nuts. This enzyme combination targets fats (lipase), proteins (protease), carbohydrates (amylase) and cellulose (cellulase). It helps soothe the stomach, and it buffers and stabilizes the enzymes from stomach acids. Take 1-2 capsules before consuming foods high in fat.
Chickweed (Stellaria Media). Chickweed contains saponins that also act as emulsifying agents and is used to emulsify fat. Chickweed is useful for gout, joint stiffness, tuberculosis, and blood diseases. It is considered to be effective as a tonic and for respiratory problems. Chickweed is a long, heavily branched, creeping weed found worldwide. Its popularity with birds probably accounts for its name. The above-ground portions of the plant are used medicinally, either fresh or dried. Chickweed is also known as Adder's Mouth, Passerina, Satin Flower, Starweed, Stitchwort, Tongue-grass, Winterweed. Take 1-3 400 mg capsules daily with a glass of water.
Herbal Remedies: Chickweed Supplement, NOW Foods, 400 mg, 100 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Chickweed Herb Tincture Supplement, 1005 Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Enzymes, besides being a great digestive aid, are anti-inflammatory agents and aid in clearing and cleaning the lymphatic system. Enzyme therapy is a systematic approach to using different types of enzymes in large amounts to help the body clean and clear itself of toxins.
Three types of enzymes when used in combination have the best synergistic effect on reducing inflammation: papain, bromelain and plant base enzymes. The new formula in the Blue Green Super Foods line of products have all three types of enzymes and is ideal for use in enzyme therapy. In addition, this formula is micro-blended with foods high in minerals such as wild blue green algae.
Herbal Remedies: Spirulina Blue Green Algae Powder (Aphanizomenon Flos Aquae), 4 oz. Bulk
Continue to take two enzymes before each meal for proper digestion. In addition, start using enzymes on an empty stomach before meals. Start by taking one capsule between meals and one capsule before bed time. i.e., Between breakfast and lunch take one capsule, repeat between lunch and dinner and at bed time. Increase after a few days and take two each of the enzymes, then three and then four. You can continue to increase beyond these amounts depending on the progress taking place. It is common to take up to 30 enzyme capsules a day. There are absolutely no side effects from such high usage of enzymes, only good results. Results are felt, but usually take place very slowly.
Always remember you are not working with drugs. You are working with plant and fruit base enzymes to heal your body. So, please be patient and allow a little extra time for these enzymes to work. Enzymes taken long enough (the length of time depends on the severity of the gallbladder condition) will help maintain or decrease the size of gallstones. There is no standard length of time because each case is individual and depends upon the causative factors.
Herbal Remedies: Enzymes, All Complete, 250 mg, 90 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Digestion Enzymes, Liquid Gel, Nature's Secret, 60 Softgels
Herbal Remedies: Plant Enzymes, NOW Foods, Vegetarian, 120 VCaps
Dr. Trent Nichols, M.D., believes that one of the factors for developing gallstones is bacteria. He believes that they apparently can initiate the core formation of the stone, called the nidus.
Friendly bacteria such as acidophilus, bifidus, L. bulgaricus, L. plantarum, L. salivarius.... etc., will create an intestinal environment that is inhospitable to harmful bacteria.
One of the best friendly bacteria products in the market today is a wide-spectrum friendly bacteria supplement, called Spectra Pro Biotic, micro-blended with fructo-oligosaccharides. Following are its ingredients:
Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus salivarius, Streptococcus foecium, Streptococcus thermophilus, Acerola and Rose Hips blend, wild blue green algae, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lipase, Amylase, Protease, and Cellulase.
Consult with a homeopath or naturopathic practitioner for correct dosage recommendations for your particular situation. A few selected dosages available online will be included below.
CHELADONIUM (Greater Celandine) for cramping pain that radiates up to the right shoulder blade, and for light-colored stools.
CHICHONA (Quinine Bark) for a feeling of fullness after eating, gas and symptoms worsened by eating fruit, cabbage, and legumes.
BERBERIS (Barberry) for pain worsened by pressure, standing or exertion, constipation, heartburn and hemorrhoids.
DIOSCOREA (Wild Yam) for cramping pain, burping, flatulence, hiccuping, and pain that radiates to the chest, back and arms.
CALC CARB (Calcarea Carbonica / Calcium Carbonate) for swollen glands, sweating, burping, cramps and hunger pangs.
One very large assistance that can help prevent or alleviate this condition is proper diet. Nutrition is a key component in the possible arrest of the contributing factors. The dosages recommended here are for adults.
NUTRIENTS Supplement Suggested Dosage Comments Alfalfa 10 tablets 3 times per day. Alfalfa is a liver cleanser, rich in vitamins and minerals.
Alfalfa, NOW Foods, 650 mg, 500 Tabs,
Alfalfa Powder, Whole Food supplement, NOW Foods, 1 lb.
Essential Fatty Acids As directed on label. Important constituents of every living cell. Needed for repair and prevention of gallstones.
Ultimate Oil, Essential Fatty Acids Supplement, Nature's Secret, 90 Softgels,
Omega 3-6-9, Organic, NOW Foods, 16 fl. oz.,
DHA Omega Supreme, Vegetarian Liquid, NOW Foods, 12 oz.,
Omega 3-6-9 Oil, Mega EFA Blend, Lime-Flavored, Nature's Way, 16 fl. oz.
As directed on label. Supplies essential fatty acids. Important constituents of every living cell. Needed for repair and prevention of gallstones. Lecithin Granules
1 Tablespoon 3 times daily, before meals.
1,200 mg 3 times daily, before meals.
A fat emulsifier; aids digestion of fats.
Lecithin Vegetarian Granules, NOW Foods, 97% Phosphatides, Identity Preserved Non-GE, 1 lb,
Lecithin Liquid, NOW Foods, Vegetarian, 16 fl. oz.,
Lecithin Concentrate, Nature's Way, 400 mg, 100 SoftGels
L-Glycine 500 mg daily, on an empty stomach. Take with water or juice. Do not take with milk. Take with 50 mg vitamin B-6 and 100 mg vitamin C for better absorption. Essential for the biosynthesis of nucleic and bile acids. See Amino Acids for more information.
L-Glycine Powder, Free Form, Vegetarian, 1 lb.
Multi-Enzyme Complex With Ox Bile As directed on label. Take before meals. Aids in digestion if too little bile is secreted from the gallbladder. Ox bile is needed especially if you have had gallbladder removal surgery. Caution: Do not give this supplement to a child. If you have a history of ulcers, do not use a formula containing HCl. See Amino Acids for more information.
Super Digestive Enzymes, Complete Formula With Ox Bile, 90 Caps
500 mg daily, on an empty stomach. Take with 50 mg vitamin B-6 and 100 mg vitamin C for better absorption. Necessary for the formation of an important bile acid and may prevent the formation of gallstones. Use the liquid form. Vitamin A 25,000 IU daily. If you are pregnant, do not exceed 10,000 IU daily. Needed for repair of tissues. Use emulsion form for easier assimilation.
Vitamin A, 10,000 IU, 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 100 Softgels
Mixed Carotenoid Complex
As directed on label. Needed for repair of tissues. Powerful free radical scavengers that protect cells and enhance immune function.
Beta Carotene (Natural Dunaliella Salina), Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 25,000 IU, 100 Softgels,
Multi-Carotene Antioxidant, Nature's Way, 60 Softgels
Vitamin B Complex 50 mg of each B vitamin daily, with meals 3 times daily (amounts of individual vitamins in a complex will vary). B vitamins work best when taken together.
Ultimate B (Vitamin B Complex), Nature's Secret, 60 Tabs,
Vitamin B-100 Complex, w/ Coenzyme B-2, Nature's Way, 631 mg, 100 Caps
2,000 mcg twice daily. All B vitamins work together. Use a lozenge or sublingual form.
Vitamin B-12 Complex Liquid, NOW Foods, 2 fl. oz.,
Vitamin B-12, Nature's Way, 2000 mcg, 100 Sublingual Lozenges,
Vitamin B-12 Liquid Supplement, 50 mcg, With Vitamin B-9 (Folic Acid), 400 mcg, 1 oz.
Vitamin B-12, California Natural, 1000 mcg, 60 Tabs,
Vitamin B-12 LipoSpray, NOW Foods, 2 fl. oz.
500 mg daily. Important in cholesterol metabolism and liver and gallbladder function.
Choline Supplement, 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 500 mg, 100 Tabs,
Choline & Inositol, 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 250 mg / 250 mg, 100 Caps
500 mg daily. Important in cholesterol metabolism and liver and gallbladder function.
Inositol (Vitamin B-8), 100% Natural, Pure Crystalline, Nature's Way, 500 mg, 100 Caps,
Choline & Inositol, 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 250 mg / 250 mg, 100 Caps
Vitamin C With Bioflavonoids 3,000 mg daily. Deficiency can lead to gallstones.
Vitamin C Liquid w/ Rose Hips & Bioflavonoids, Kosher, Natural Citrus Flavor, Dynamic Health, 1000 mg, 16 fl. oz.,
Ester C With Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 1000 mg, 90 Tabs,
Vitamin C 1000 With Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 1000 mg, 250 VCaps,
The Right C, Nature's Way, 1000 mg, 120 Tabs
Vitamin D-3 400 IU daily. Gallbladder malfunction interferes with vitamin D absorption.
Vitamin D, Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 400 IU, 100 Caps
Vitamin E 200 to 600 IU daily. Prevents fats from becoming rancid. Use D-Alpha-Tocopherol form.
Ester E Natural Vitamin E, California Natural, 400 IU, 60 Softgels,
Vitamin E, 400 IU, 100% Natural, NOW Foods, 100 Gels,
Vitamin E-1000, NOW Foods, 1000 IU, 100 Gels,
Vitamin E, d-alpha-tocopherol, 400 IU, 100 Softgels
OTHER RECOMMENDED SUPPLEMENTS:
1-3 teaspoons psyllium husk, freshly ground flaxseeds or other fiber product (Take with plenty of water and increase intake of water throughout the day.) It is important to prevent or relieve constipation as this may contribute to gallbladder problems.
Psyllium Husk Powder, NOW Foods, 100% Pure Bulk Fiber, Orange Flavor, Vegetarian, 12 oz.
Ultimate Fiber Powder For Digestive & Gastrointestinal Cleansing, Sweet Citrus Burst, Nature's Secret, 7.9 oz.
Ultimate Fiber Powder For Digestive & Gastrointestinal Cleansing, Nature's Secret, 7.9 oz.
Forti-Flax, 100% Certified Organic Ground Flaxseed, Barlean's, 16 oz.
A broad spectrum antioxidant supplement or:
- Beta-carotene with mixed carotenoids 15,000 IU*
- Copper 2-3 mg*
- Vitamin A 10,000-15,000 IU*#
- Manganese 5 mg*
- N-acetylcysteine (NAC) 100-300 mg twice/day*
- Selenium 200 mcg*
- Vitamin E 400-800 IU*
- Vitamin C 300 mg three times/day*
- Zinc 15-25 mg*
* These doses can be doubled for the first month and then reduced to the listed doses.
# A mixed carotenoid supplement is safer than vitamin A, particularly for women of childbearing age because of the risk of birth defects caused by excess vitamin A.
Multi-Carotene Antioxidant, Carotene Supplement, Nature's Way, 60 Softgels
Miracle Reds Antioxidant Supplement, 30 Day Supply, 10 oz.
Miracle Reds is an advanced, non-allergenic blend of nutrient-rich, anti-aging anti-oxidants, polyphenols and heart-friendly plant sterols. Miracle Reds contains an abundant source of hand-selected anti-oxidants which support cell activity and fight free radical damage in the body.
Mangoni SuperFruit Antioxidant Juice Cocktail, NOW Foods, 32 fl. oz.
NOW Foods Mangoni offers a superior antioxidant profile in one convenient, great tasting juice. Each delicious serving contains strong concentrations of naturally occurring polyphenols, catechins, polysaccharides, vitamins, amino acids, essential trace minerals and other beneficial compounds.
Antioxidant Formula Supplement, All Natural, Nature's Way, 100 Tabs
Nature's Way Antioxidant Formula Antioxidant Supplement is 100% natural. Antioxidants provides protection for many of the body's important systems by combating free radicals and oxidants, molecules which damage cells, DNA, fats and cholesterol. Contains Vitamin A (100% as beta carotene) 25,000 IU, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 500 mg, Vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopheryl succinate) 400 IU, Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2) 350 mcg, Zinc (as zinc chelate) 15 mg, Selenium (as selenium monomethionine) 200 mcg, Copper (as copper chelate) 2 mg, L-cysteine HCI 100 mg, Quercetin 100 mg, Grape skin dried extract 14 mg, Green tea polyphenol catechin dried extract (leaf) 10 mg, and Coenzyme Q-10 (ubiquinone) 4 mg. Recommended dosage is 2 tablets daily with a meal or water.
Eat a diet consisting of 75 percent raw foods. Include in the diet applesauce, yogurt, cottage cheese, broiled fish, fresh apples, and beets. The juice of apples, pears, figs and beets (including the tops) promote healing. In general, increase your intake of vegetables, fruits, and high-fiber foods, especially those containing soluble fiber. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts/seeds are low saturated fat and high fiber foods that are needed in the diet for healing gallbladder disorders. Eat a diet of whole grains. Eat "liver" foods, such as beets, leafy green vegetables, artichokes and asparagus.
To cleanse the system, consume as much pure apple juice as possible for 5 days. Add pear juice occasionally. Beet juice also cleanses the liver.
Gallbladder disease may be prevented by increased intake of Vitamin C. (Medical Hypotheses, 40(2), February 1993, p. 81-84.) Drink plenty of fresh "live" juices. See Juicing For Nutrition for more information about making fresh juice drinks.
A high fiber diet protects from gallbladder disease by binding cholesterol and bile salts, and decreasing intestinal transit time. A high fiber diet can only be achieved with unprocessed, unrefined foods. Unfortunately, the typical American diet provides very little of the needed foods daily. Raw vegetables are good sources of fiber because they contain the cellulose the body needs to break down the fiber. The best source is raw carrots, their fiber binds many colon toxins.
Specific foods and their benefits for liver and gallbladder:
- APPLE: Apples cleanse the liver and gallbladder (especially green apples).
- BLUEBERRY: Has medicinal properties for liver and blood.
- CARROTS: Excellent for liver rejuvenation and cleansing.
- CHICORY: Both the root and the greens, is an excellent tonic that cleanses and helps regulate the liver and gallbladder.
- KALE: It can ease liver congestion.
- LEMON: It benefits bile formation and therefore supports liver function.
- OLIVE OIL: In the Middle East, extra virgin olive oil is highly regarded for its ability to support liver and gallbladder functions.
- ORANGE: Used in ancient times for its medicinal properties for those with liver weakness because it is a liver cleanser.
- BLUE GREEN ALGAE (Wild Crafted): It helps lower cholesterol and suppresses fatty accumulations in the liver.
- TURMERIC: Helps tone the liver and is known as a liver regenerator.
Red beet is one of the best foods to support the liver and gallbladder. This can be taken in a supplement that can give you organically grown beet leaves and beet roots powder. The therapeutic part of the beet is its naturally occurring betaine which comes from the leaf and root of the plant. Betaine has long been shown to be an effective agent promoting the transportation of fats and helping to prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver.
Beet Root, Nature's Way, 500 mg, 100 Caps
Red Beet Root (Beta Vulgaris Rubra) Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Wild blue green algae taken as a supplement helps lower cholesterol and suppresses fatty accumulations in the liver. Take up to 3 grams a day (10 to 15 capsules). What is remarkable about wild blue green algae is its minerals content. Ounce for ounce, wild blue green algae is higher in minerals than any other class of foods. Sodium, boron, chromium, zinc, copper, .....you name it, is in wild blue green algae. All the minerals in wild blue green algae are held tightly and deeply within the very core of hundreds of transformative enzyme systems. Minerals in wild blue green algae are naturally-chelated and are directly assimilated and more easily put to work within our own similar, but vastly more complex system of enzymes. As a result, each of our cells function more smoothly, especially the cells in our largest detoxifying organ, the liver.
Spirulina Blue Green Algae (Aphanizomenon Flos Aquae) Powder, 4 oz. Bulk
Wheat grass is a good source of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. It can nourish the blood and aid the liver in detoxification. It is easy and inexpensive to grow if you want to use it fresh (best nutrition).
Wheat Grass Powder, Organic, 10 oz.
Wheat Grass, Organic, 1000 mg, 200 Tabs
Ultimate Green Superfood Supplement, Nature's Secret, 300 Tabs
Vital Greens, Vital Earth, 180 Caps
Wheat Sprouts are good to promote liver cell regeneration. Use wheat sprouts micro-blended with blue green algae and red marine algae. Wheat sprouts are easy to grow for the freshest and most nutritious quality.
Mountain Rose Herbs: Sprouting Seeds
All natural edible sprouts from organic sprouting seeds offer both flavor and nutrients for most dishes throughout the world, and have become a staple for many worldwide diets. They are easy to grow, economical, and 1 pound of sprouting seed can usually generate about 5 pounds worth of sprouts! All of the sprouting seeds offered by Mountain Rose Herbs are certified organic and Kosher certified.
Coconut Oil is used by those suffering from gallbladder disorders or for anyone who has had their gallbladder removed, using coconut oil in place of other oils will greatly benefit them. Because coconut oil is made of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA), the metabolism of these fatty acids do not require bile or pancreatic enzymes. Therefore, the fats from coconut oil are easily digested with or without a gallbladder.
Mountain Rose Herbs: Bulk Oils - Coconut Oil
This is a truly spectacular oil with a deep, and mildly intoxicating scent of pure Coconut pulp. 100% virgin cold pressed and unrefined. Same benefits as their refined coconut oil, but more suitable for food use because of its nutritional value, and containing a higher fatty acid content.
Flaxseed oil is needed for repair and prevention of gallstones as it contains essential fatty acids.
Barlean's Flax Oil, 100% Highest Lignan Content, Organic, Pesticide & Herbicide Free, 16 fl. oz.
Barlean's Flax Oil, Highest Lignan, 1000 mg, 250 Caps
FOODS TO AVOID
Avoid All Animal Foods: Dairy foods (milk, cheese, butter, cream, ice cream), fish, meat, chicken, turkey, eggs, and all other processed foods and animal derived products from your diet. These foods are laced with chemicals, pesticides, and toxins as well as high levels of saturated fats which cause gallstones and inflammation. Meat eaters have twice the risk of forming gallstones as vegetarians.
Avoid Salt, tobacco, caffeine, sodas, coffee, and refined white flour (breads, pastas, cereals - replace with whole wheat pastas, breads, and cereals). These products are extraordinarily destructive to the body.
Avoid sugar and products containing sugar. Avoid all spicy foods, soft drinks, coffee, chocolate, and refined carbohydrates.
The following foods were found to cause negative symptoms (in descending order of occurrence): eggs, pork, onions, fowl, milk, coffee, citrus, corn, beans, and nuts. Eggs caused gallbladder attacks in 93 percent of the patients, pork in 64 percent, and onions in 52 percent. (J.C. Breneman, "Elimination Diet as the Most Effective Gallbladder Diet." Annals of Allergy 26 (1968), 83.)
Other foods that should be avoided are cucumbers, radishes, cabbage, and tomatoes. Check to see if any of the above foods, especially eggs, give you symptoms of gallbladder stress such as burping or nausea after meals, a pain between the shoulder blades, or clay-colored stools (from lack of bile), among other indications.
Avoid consumption of fatty foods, all fried and greasy foods, all commercial oils, margarine and other hydrogenated oils, unsaturated oils with the exception of extra virgin olive oil and virgin coconut oil.
OBTAINING GALLBLADDER RELIEF FROM YOUR DIET
The key to correcting gallbladder disorders is to stop overloading the liver with toxins, cholesterols, and saturated fats. Keep in mind, by far the highest source of saturated fats are animal foods! The vegetable kingdom has absolutely NO cholesterol. Since the vegetable kingdom has absolutely NO cholesterol, it is understandable that "Vegetarian diets offer protection against gallstones." (Medical Hypotheses, 40(2), February 1993, p. 81-84)
Researcher J.C. Breneman reports that 100% of his patients found relief of gallbladder symptoms while on an elimination diet of rye, brown rice, cherries, peaches, apricots, beets and spinach. Other foods that supports gallbladder health are apples, artichoke, parsley, pears, carrots, turmeric, wild blue green algae, wheat grass juice, olive oil, celery, and watercress.
Kombucha tea may be beneficial for gallstones.
MoonDragon's Nutrition Therapy: Kombucha Tea
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 processor. Apple juice aids in softening gallstones.
For gallstones and liver detoxification, consume no solid food for two to three days. Consume only distilled water, vegetable broth, and fresh "live" juices.
In the morning, drink the gallstone flush; 8 oz. Apple juice (or dilute with water), 3 tablespoons. Olive oil, 3-6 cloves of raw organic garlic, 1-2 inches of raw organic ginger root, mix well in blender. This drink will help dissolve gallstones and flush the liver of toxins. The fast will give your liver and gallbladder a rest and allow them to detoxify the fatty deposits, gallstones, and toxins. This will also give your body the concentrated nutrients that are necessary to detoxify and heal.
Vegetable broth is also very beneficial for those who still cook their meals or enjoy warm liquids. Fill a large pot with 2 to 3 cups of distilled water, chop all these ingredients and add them to the pot; 1 potato, 1 carrot, 1/4 head of green cabbage, and a 1/2 an onion or leek. (Eliminate cabbage if it causes gastric problems.) Use as low of a temperature as possible and allow these vegetables to simmer between 1-2 hours. Strain off the solid vegetable fiber and throw away, then drink the remaining liquid throughout the day. If you would like it saltier add Bragg's Liquid amino acids or Nama Shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce.) Adjust this basic recipe and make more or less depending on how much you will drink. It is best to consume the vegetable broth the same day to assure freshness. See 3 Day Liver Support/Cleanse Instructions for more in depth information.
For gallstones, take 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the juice of a lemon before bed and upon awakening. Olive oil with lemon juice before and after sleeping at night is cleansing. Stones are often passed and eliminated in the stool with this technique. Look for them. You can use grapefruit juice instead.
If you have an attack, drink 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of apple juice. This should help relieve the pain quickly. If the pain does not subside, go to the emergency room to rule out other disorders such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heart problems.
To relieve acute pain, try using hot castor oil packs on the gall bladder area. Place castor oil in a pan and heat, but do not boil it. Dip a piece of cheesecloth or other white cotton material into the oil until the cloth is saturated. Apply the cloth to the affected area and cover it with a piece of plastic that is larger in size than the cotton cloth. Place a heating pad over the plastic and use it to keep the pack warm. Keep the pack in place for one-half to two hours, as needed. Apply pack twice a day or more if desired.
To cleanse the system, consume as much pure apple juice as possible for five days. Add pear juice occasionally. Beet juice also cleanses the liver.
While you have pain, nausea and/or vomiting, and fever, follow a fasting program and use coffee enemas for a few days. The coffee enema is important. You can also use garlic in the enema.
MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Enemas
MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Coffee Enema
MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Fasting
A detoxification program for the liver and colon is important for improved gallbladder function. Use cleansing enemas if you have chronic problems. See Liver-Stimulating Herbs: Gallbladder Cleanse above for herbal recommendations.
A liver cleansing program is highly recommended.
Herbal Remedies: Liver Cleanse, Liver Detox, Liver Rejuvenation Supplements & Products.
A selection of various products to choose from for your specific needs.
The Five Day Liver Cleanse Program may be one suggestion. If this is too much for you to handle to start with then consider trying at least consider trying these products:
Organic Health & Beauty: Liver-Gallbladder Formula or Organic Health & Beauty: Liver Rescue
Supplements to help with a cleanse. Since it is the liver's impairment (because of toxic and fatty overload) that leads to excess cholesterol in the bile which then leads to gall bladder problems, you must cleanse the liver. The Liver Program will clean out thousands of toxins, poisons, and fatty deposits (including gall stones) in your liver and gall bladder while also removing old fecal waste and obstruction from your digestive tract. This program is absolutely essential for healing and reversing Gall Bladder disorders.
Organic Health & Beauty: Nutritional Supplement Program
This program is also recommended. These products contain only 100% absorbable and concentrated, organic whole food nutrients. These aren't synthetic supplements. This provides concentrated nutrients essential for the repair of tissues, proper digestion, and liver and gallbladder function. Blend with some fresh juice and fruit for a delicious shake in the morning and/or afternoon!!
Herbal Remedies: Dr. Clark Liver & Gallbladder Cleanse Kit
Dr. Clark Liver & Gallbladder Cleanse Kit includes: Liver Support Tea, Bags 6 x 1/2 Cup: Epsom Salt, 10 oz.; Ornithine, 500 mg, 50 ct; Freeze Dried Black Walnut Hull, 360 mg, 10 ct; Citric Acid, 2 tablespoons; and Vitamin C, 1 tablespoon. Directions: Adults 16 years and over mix 4 tablespoons (60grams) and 1/2 teaspoon of Vitamin C in 3 cups of water and pour into a jar. This makes four servings, 3/4 cup each. with 15 grams of Epsom Salt each. The Vitamin C Powder improves the taste. Other Information: Magnesium content 1,485 mg per teaspoon (15 grams).
Note: The use of any of these herbal supplements is a traditional use that is not intended to be prescribed for, treat or claim to cure any disease, including diseases involving gallstones. Initially you may repeat the liver cleanse at two week intervals. After your initial string of cleanses, a quarterly or semi-annual liver cleanse may be enough. Traditional use and common sense tell you that liver cleanses may be beneficial until no stones come out! You be the detective. These programs are for adults 16 years and over only. Never do this cleanse when ill. Never cleanse when having pain in your stomach, liver, or gallbladder. Should you have a medical concern, consult with your health care professional.
The cleansing protocols are provided for educational purposes only and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own health care provider. MoonDragon and the manufacturer of these products are not responsible or liable for any actions or diagnosis made by a user based on the content of the educational directions enclosed. As always, you are encouraged to consult with your health care professional, do personal research and check all our ingredients against a reference book before consuming these products.
Warnings: Do not do the liver flush when constipated. Get the bowels moving regularly first. Should you be occasionally constipated you can perform a bowel Cleanse. Should you be chronically constipated please consult with your health care professional. Once your bowels are moving regularly, proceed carefully with a bowel cleanse, then kidney cleanse and finally a liver cleanse. Do not take or use these products during pregnancy or lactation. Keep away from children.
Do not overeat. Obesity and gallbladder disease are related. Females over the age of 40 and who are overweight and who have had children are more likely than most people to suffer from disorders of the gallbladder.
WEIGHT CHANGES & DIETING
Rapid weight changes can cause gallbladder problems. A study published in the Annuls of Internal Medicine revealed that "yo-yo" dieting - repeatedly losing and gaining weight due to dieting - increases the risk of gallstones and the necessity of surgery by as much as 70 percent.
Losing weight may help resolve long-term gallstone problems. Since rapid weight changes can cause or may contribute to gallbladder and gallstone problems so it is important to loose excess weight gradually. People with gallstones often consume excessive calories and are often overweight. Obese women have 7 times the risk of developing gallstones as other women. Even slightly overweight women have significantly higher risk of developing gallstones.
Physical activity can reduce the risk of gallstones by 20 to 40 percent.
The recommended treatment for gallstones used to be surgical removal of the gallbladder (and still is in many cases when symptoms are present). However, if gallstones show up on an x-ray or ultrasound but do not cause symptoms, there is usually no need for surgery.
A gallstone may slip into a bile duct, one of the structures that drain the gallbladder and the liver. If this occurs, extraction or surgical removal by a technique called laparoscopic cholecystectomy may be necessary. This is also known as keyhole surgery and is now the most common method of removing the gallbladder. The surgeon uses a trocar (a hollow tube) and enters the abdomen through the navel. Three more of these tubes are inserted into the abdomen so that instruments can be inserted through them. The surgeon inserts a laparoscope (a small camera) through one of these tubes, so that he or she can see inside the patient without the large incision normally required to remove a gallbladder. The procedure requires 4 small incisions in total, instead of a single 6 to 9 inch incision, and recovery time is greatly reduced. However, research from Washington University suggests that people with a history of gallbladder inflammation or 10 or more gallbladder attacks, or who are over 65 years of age, may be more likely to have complications with this type of surgery. If complications do arise after surgery, this may be because the gallbladder was not in fact the source of the initial problem, or because of a bile leak.
Sometimes stones in the gallbladder can be fragmented or dissolved without surgery, using the drug deoxycholic acid or lithotripsy (the use of sound waves to break up stones). Bile acid preparations used to dissolve stones work very slowly and can be used only on small stones.
Eighty percent of gallstones produce no symptoms and require no treatment. Discuss any recommended treatment with your health care provider and surgeon and make sure an operation is absolutely necessary before proceeding.
CONSTIPATION & GALLSTONES
Treat constipation when present. Constipation is associated with gallstones. When restoring transit time (resolving constipation) is successful, it appears to reduce the risk of gallstone formation.
DIET, FOOD ALLERGIES & GALLBLADDER ATTACKS
Eliminate food allergies. Food allergies can trigger gallbladder attacks where gallstones are already present. In one study, all subjects got relief from gallbladder pain when food sensitivities were identified and eliminated. Pain returned when they resumed eating problem foods. See Allergies for more information.
A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that drinking 3 cups of coffee a day might lower men's (and possibly women's) risk of developing gallstones. However, it is not recommended that you start drinking more coffee due to the results of the study.
Assure adequate stomach acid. Insufficient stomach acid is associated with the presence of gallstones. Stomach acid can be supplemented with betaine HCl.
People with pigment stones, which consist of calcium salts, should probably avoid using calcium supplements, although some researchers believe it is all right for them to continue taking calcium supplements.
GENETICS & GALLBLADDER DISEASE
Gallstones run in families, and women are twice as likely to form gallstones than men.
FOLLOW A HEALTHFUL LIFESTYLE:
It is never too late to begin a healing way of life. Pain from gallstones are symptoms indicating that there is an abnormal condition within the body which is producing a state of "dis-ease." You can surgically remove the diseased organ, but you have not addressed the cause of such symptoms.
To address the causes of gallbladder disorders, you need to start incorporating healthful living habits. You may slowly change your way of living to that which is health producing. When you do, aches or pains will disappear and you will be on your way to being genuinely healthy.
Include foods containing saponins in your diet. Saponins bind cholesterol. The Maasai Paradox: Scientists were once perplexed by the diet of the Maasai tribe in African. Maasai obtain 66 percent of calories from fat yet they do not suffer from hypercholesterolemia, atherosclerosis, gallbladder disease, or coronary heart disease. The paradox is that in western cultures high-fat diets have been positively correlated to these diseases. Typically, the high-fat Maasai foods are prepared as soups and routinely have 25 different herbs, usually roots and bark, added. Some of these herbs contain high levels of saponins which bind cholesterol.
SAPONINS FOR HEALTH
First it was fiber. Then it was antioxidants. Now it is saponins, a wide variety of phytochemicals naturally present in plant foods. These components, many sweet-tasting and some health-promoting, are under close scrutiny by nutrition researchers on how they prevent and treat disease.
Saponins-found in grains such as oats and many vegetables from legumes and potatoes to spinach, tomatoes and alfalfa sprouts have long been known to have strong biological activity. Many of these compounds serve as "natural antibiotics" for the plant but now scientists are looking at how they can help humans fight fungal infections, combat microbes and viruses, boost the effectiveness of certain vaccine and knock out some kinds of tumor cells particularly lung and blood cancers. They can also lower blood cholesterol thereby reducing heart disease. Their natural tendency to ward off microbes may prove to be especially useful for treating those difficult to control fungal and yeast infections.
One of the most exciting prospects for saponins are how they appear to inhibit or kill cancer cells. They may also be able to do it without killing normal cells in the process as is the mode of present cancer-fighting drugs. Cancer cells have more cholesterol-type compounds in their membranes than normal cells. Saponins can bind cholesterol and thus interfere with cell growth and division. While drugs have side effects, many of them serious, saponins are safe. There is little possibility that a person can overdose on saponins from eating vegetables. They are broken down in the digestive tract into cholesterol-like compounds and sugars. Researchers are now looking at their possible risks if taken in larger doses like drugs.
An added saponin bonus is their taste. Many of them are sweet-as much as 200 times the potency of table sugar (sucrose). Used as a sweetener in such small amounts, they would not promote tooth decay, our most prevalent chronic disease. So, why limit your vegetables to three-a-day? Besides being low-calorie, vegetables have all sorts of compounds besides nutrients and water to help you stay healthy. Vegetables look so good and taste so much better than pills. Load up your shopping cart now with vegetables rather than pay the pharmacist later.
If you have trouble using up vegetables before they spoil, buy them frozen or select a variety from the salad bar. Or, arrange with a friend to share your surpluses if the cauliflower or leaf lettuce is too big. He or she may split a bag of potatoes or a bunch of fresh spinach in return. And always keep cans of different kinds of beans on your shelves. What could be faster than canned kidney beans on a bed of greens, whole wheat bread, a glass of skim milk and a piece of fruit for that "sweet-something" at the end of the meal?
By: Mary Clarke, Ph.D.
Extension Specialist, Nutrition Education
3/96 File: NUTRITION, NORMAL/General
It is well-known that certain psychological profiles favor certain diseases and conditions. According to Louise L. Hay's book, You Can Heal Your Life, the attitudes that promote gallstones are bitterness, hard thoughts, condemnation and pride. She recommends this daily affirmation:
"There is joyous release of the past. Life is sweet and so am I."
GALLBLADDER/GALLSTONE SUPPLEMENTAL PRODUCTS
Information, supplements and products for gall stones, hard crystals made up of cholesterol and other substances that form in the gallbladder or the bile duct.
Beneficial Dietary Supplements:
- Alfalfa cleanses the liver and supplies necessary vitamins and minerals.
- Essential Fatty Acid Complex is needed for repair and prevention of gallstones.
- Lecithin Granules aids digestion of fats.
- Vitamin A is needed for repair of tissues.
- Vitamin B Complex is necessary for proper digestion.
- Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids helps avoid gallstones.
- Peppermint cleanses the gallbladder.
- Barberry Root Bark, Catnip, Dandelion, Fennel and Horsetail are good for treating gallstones.
Alfa Max, Alfalfa Extract, Nature's Way, 525 mg, 100 Caps
Nature's Way Alfa-Max is much more digestible than raw alfalfa because the plant cellulose has been removed. Eight Alfa-Max capsules contain approximately 43% protein (by weight) and 2,600 IU of Vitamin A (as natural beta-carotene). Alfa-Max delivers 52% of the USRDA for vitamin A.
Artichoke Extract, Standardized, Nature's Way, 300 mg, 60 Caps
Nature's Way Artichoke Extract has been standardized to 5% caffeoylquinic acid.
Blood Cleanse Detoxification & Support for Healthy Blood, Banyon Botanicals, 90 Tabs
Blood Cleanse is a blend of five powerful blood purifiers that remove toxins from the blood, lymphatics and liver, leading to vibrant, healthy skin. According to Ayurveda, most inflammatory skin conditions are a result of high pitta in the blood. Blood cleanse is formulated to remove this excess pitta, thus relieving skin irritations. It increases circulation and promotes healing as it clears out foreign tissues, obstructions and stagnant blood. Blood Cleanse also helps calm pitta emotions such as anger and aggression.
Calcium Ionic Mineral Supplement, Fully Absorbable, 700 +/- ppm, 16 fl. oz.
WaterOz Ionic Calcium is a pure liquid Calcium supplement. Calcium is one of the most essential of the major biochemical elements needed in human nutrition. It is needed in every organ of the body, including the brain. Calcium is called the "knitter" because it promotes healing or knitting everywhere in the body. It is valuable for tone, power, strength, longevity, vitality, and endurance, healing of wounds, counter-acting acids, and helping regulate metabolism.
Cascara Sagrada (Rhamnus Purshiana) Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
One of the best herbs for the entire digestive tract. It tones and increases peristaltic action without being habit forming. It promotes secretions of the stomach, liver, pancreas and gallbladder ducts.
Catnip Herb Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Catnip herb has also been used to treat anxiety, colds, flu, fever, inflammation, and general aches and pains.
Cayenne & Goldenseal Supplement, Nature's Way, 100 Caps
Cayenne & Goldenseal Supplement is a proprietary blend of Certi-FIERY Cayenne and five other synergistic herbals.
Dandelion Root Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Dandelion root is a natural diuretic and improves appetite and minor digestive problems. Dandelion leaves are commonly recommended as a food supplement for pregnant and post menopausal women.
Dr. Clark Liver & Gallbladder Cleanse Kit
Dr. Clark Liver & Gallbladder Cleanse Kit includes: Liver Support Tea, Bags 6 x 1/2 Cup; Epsom Salt 10 oz.; Ornithine, 500 mg, 50 ct.; Freeze Dried Black Walnut Hull, 360 mg, 10 ct.; Citric Acid 2 tablespoons; and Vitamin C, 1 tablespoon.
Gall Bladder Formula Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Used for the Gall Bladder and Gall Stones and To help stimulate bile stored and released by the gallbladder.
Gall Bladder Tea, Loose Leaf, 8 oz.
Helps eliminate gallstones, soothes an irritated and cramping gallbladder. Tones the digestive tract.
Hydrangea Root, Nature's Way, 415 mg, 100 Caps
Hydrangea root has traditionally been used to strengthen the urinary tract and help regulate its function. This plant contains alkaloids which help soothe the body, especially in the bladder and kidney areas. Hydrangea root also works like a natural inflammation reliever and cleanses the joint areas.
Hydrangea Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Hydrangea is used in the treatment of kidney and bladder stones. It is thought both to encourage the expulsion of stones and to help dissolve those that remain.
Lecithin Concentrate, Nature's Way, 400 mg, 100 Softgels
Lecithin is the most abundant phospholipid serving as a structural material for every cell in the body and is an essential constituent of the brain and nervous system responsible for breaking down cholesterol, transporting fats, rebuilding organs, maintaining organ, cardiovascular, and endocrine health, fights infections, lowers blood pressure, restores sexual energy, eases PMS and menopausal tension, promotes energy and benefits nervous and mental disorders.
Liver Formula Supports Proper Liver Function, Banyan Botanicals, 90 Tabs
Liver Formula is an excellent detoxifier and rejuvenative for the liver. Cooling herbs such as guduchi, musta and coriander pacify pitta in the liver, reducing the production of bile and acid in the body, and thereby reducing the risk of many associated liver disorders. Healthy digestion is also promoted, aiding in conditions of a sluggish or congested liver. Liver Formula may be beneficial for all individuals, as it helps reduce the toxic effects from food, alcohol, drugs, and environmental pollution.
Milk Thistle Seed (Silybum Marianum) Powder, 4 oz.
Milk thistle extract is most commonly recommended to counteract the harmful actions of alcohol on the liver.
Pepogest Peppermint Oil, Enteric Coated, Nature's Way, 0.2 ml, 60 Softgels
Pepogest peppermint oil is a targeted release peppermint oil supplement that provides natural gastrointestinal comfort.
Peppermint Leaf (Mentha X Piperita) Powder, 4 oz. Bulk
Peppermint leaf calms the muscles of the stomach and improves the flow of bile, which the body uses to digest fats. As a result, food passes through the stomach more quickly.
Queen of the Meadow Root (Eupatorium Purpureum) Powder, 4 oz. Bulk
Queen of the Meadow (Eupatorium purpureum), also called Gravel root, Kidney root, Purple boneset and Joe Pye Weed after the Native American herbalist Joe Pye, has an apple scent. Infuse the dried root and flowers for a diuretic tea to relieve kidney and urinary problems. The tea is also used to induce sweating and break a high fever. Also useful for rheumatism, gravel (gallstones), and dropsy (fluid retention).
Super Thisilyn Advanced Detox Formula, Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 60 VCaps
Nature's Way Thisilyn is uniquely formulated to support liver functions and exert a protective effect against substances harmful to the liver.
Turmeric Extract (Curcuma Longa) Standardized to 95% Curcuminoids, Nature's Way, 500 mg, 120 Tabs
Nature's Way standardized Turmeric extract is a technically advanced herbal extract standardized to 95% curcuminoids. This is the highest concentration of curcuminoids available.
Vitamin A, 10,000 IU, 100% Natural, 100 Softgels
Nature's Way Vitamin A is an important nutrient in maintaining cell membrane integrity. It also plays an important role in proper bone formation, reproduction and vision.
Vitamin C 1000 with Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 1000 mg, 250 Vcaps
Nature's Way Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids provides antioxidant protection for many of the body's important enzyme systems.
Wild Yam Tincture, Liquid Wild Yam Supplement, 2 oz.
Alternative Health & Herbs Remedies Wild Yam Supplement relaxes muscles, soothes nerves, and relieves pain and is good as a uterine tonic.
Zinc Ionic Mineral Supplement, Fully Absorbable, 100 +/- ppm, 16 fl. oz.
WaterOz Ionic Zinc is a pure liquid Zinc supplement. Zinc moves through all the fluids in the body, it creates a defense against infection-causing bacteria and viruses trying to enter the body and stops bacterial and viral replication.
Herbal Remedies: Gallstone Information
Herbal Remedies: Gallstone Supplements & Products
NOTIFY YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER IF...
Emergency: Call an ambulance if you experience upper-right abdominal pain and nausea accompanied by shortness of breath and sweating. Such symptoms may also signal a heart attack. If any of these ducts remain blocked for a significant period of time, there is a severe, if not possibly fatal, damage or infections can occur, affecting the gallbladder, liver, or pancreas. Warning signs of a serious problem are fever, jaundice, and persistent pain.
People who also have the above and any of following symptoms should see a their health care provider right away:
- Low-grade fever.
- Yellowish color of the skin or whites of the eyes.
- Clay-colored stools.
Many people with gallstones have no symptoms. These people are said to be asymptomatic, and these stones are called "silent stones." They do not interfere in gallbladder, liver, or pancreas function and do not need treatment.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
2 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892-3570
The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Established in 1980, the clearinghouse provides information about digestive diseases to people with digestive disorders and to their families, health care professionals, and the public. NDDIC answers inquiries, develops and distributes publications, and works closely with professional and patient organizations and Government agencies to coordinate resources about digestive diseases.
Publications produced by the clearinghouse are carefully reviewed by both NIDDK scientists and outside experts.
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HELPFUL PRODUCTS & FURTHER EDUCATION
Prescription for Nutritional Healing: The A-To-Z Guide To Supplements
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-- by Phyllis A. Balch, James F. Balch - 4th Edition
Prescription for Herbal Healing: The A-To-Z Reference To Common Disorders
-- by Phyllis A. Balch
The Complete Guide to Natural Healing
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