The Gallbladder and Gallstones

In the United States, gallstones affect at least 20 million people per year. [1] While it’s possible to have gallstones and not know it, severe cases can lead to rupturing of the gallbladder and even death. Understanding your gallbladder and naturally supporting it with the right nutrition is imperative for good health.

Gallbladder: Location, Description, and Function

Located in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen and situated beneath the liver, the gallbladder is a kidney bean-shaped organ connected to the liver by the hepatic duct. The gallbladder works as a storage facility for the pint or so of bile the liver produces every day. The cells of the intestinal walls secrete a hormone called cholecystokinin which causes the gallbladder to contract and send bile into the common bile duct. Global Healing Center ... Buy New $22.00 (as of 03:50 EDT - Details)

What is the Purpose of Digestive Bile?

The gallbladder stores bile until it’s needed, generally after you consume fatty foods. Bile provides a lot of help to the enzyme lipase by breaking down fat into smaller particles and increasing the surface area of the lipids for the lipase to act upon. Bile also breaks down the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K while promoting the assimilation of fatty acids.

After the bile breaks down the fats, toxins, and dead blood cells, the mixture continues to move through the digestive system. Bile actually encourages this peristaltic action that eventually leads to a bowel movement. In this regard, bile production helps prevent constipation and supports the natural elimination of toxins. Some research suggests bile possesses antimicrobial benefits as well. [2]

Another note about bile… although many people believe bowel movement color is caused by the food they eat, processed hemoglobin from the aforementioned blood cells gives bile its yellow-green hue which mixes with food to Dr. Christopheru2019s ... Buy New $11.49 (as of 02:55 EDT - Details) create the distinctive color of human waste.[3]

How Do Gallstones Develop?

Gallstones form when too much cholesterol is stored in the gallbladder. This means that poor diet is a main contributor to gallstones. [4] However, it can be argued that both heredity also plays role in the formation of gallstones as scientists at the University of Bonn in Germany discovered a gene that significantly affects gallstone production. [5]

The Composition of Gallstones

Bile consists primarily of dissolved cholesterol, but an excess of cholesterol can lead to small, hard stones forming within the gallbladder. [6] Stones can also be formed by excessive bilirubin or calcium salt buildup in the Amazing Grass Green Su... Buy New $19.19 (as of 03:35 EDT - Details) gallbladder, but these are commonly referred to as pigment stones. Women (especially if pregnant or elderly), Native Americans, and anyone that is overweight have a higher risk of developing gallstones.

General Statistics About Gallstones

  1. Each year in the United States, approximately 1 million people are diagnosed with gallstones.
  2. Over 500,000 gallbladder removals or related operations occur in the United States each year, making it one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures. The majority of gallbladder removals are related to the onset of stones. [7]
  3. Some 42 million Americans suffer from gallstones; many are unaware they have the condition. [8]

Symptoms Of Gallstones Amazon Gift Card - Pri... Buy New $50.00 (as of 08:30 EDT - Details)

It’s common to live with stones without apparent symptoms. However, when a gallstone attack does surface, the crippling pain can last from a few minutes to a few hours or more. The pain usually starts in the abdomen and radiates to the chest, the back, and between the shoulder blades and may be accompanied by gas, heartburn, and indigestion.

If gallstones block the bile duct, the risk of infection increases. If the pain is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills, then an infection has already started. At that point, if it spreads to the liver, jaundiced skin and yellowing of the eyes are close behind.

Gallstones may also block the cystic duct and inflame the gallbladder. When this, a condition known as cholecystitis, happens, pain in the upper right abdomen and left shoulder occurs and brings on a fever. Another problem, gallstone ileus, is caused by a gallstone slipping into the small intestine and blocking entry to the large intestine. Although gallstone ileus can be corrected only by surgery, nutritional support can promote liver health.

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