Ask not ‘what does the Gallbladder do for us?’ but ‘what can we do for it?’…..
So where exactly is the Gallbladder, and what does it do?
‘The gallbladder is a small pouch that sits just under the liver. The gallbladder stores bile produced by the liver. In response to signals, the gallbladder squeezes stored bile into the small intestine through a series of tubes called ducts. Bile helps digest fats, but the gallbladder itself is not essential.’
But, if the gallbladder is not essential, then why is it there?
It has fascinated me ever since I got a very painful infection in my Gallbladder years ago, this was the final catalyst of change for me regarding my journey on the path back to health.
I wanted to understand what had caused this infection, and as a precautionary measure the NHS gave me an ultrasound scan to try and detect any gallstones, nothing could be seen. Naturally I wanted to know why then? The infection caused a delirious fever, and I had to take a course of anti-biotics.
Further down the line, when I learned about parasites, it seemed to be common for parasites to be found in the Gallbladder and bilary ducts;
‘The presence of flukes in the bile ducts causes dilatation of the bile ducts, varying degrees of chronic inflammation followed by adenomatous hyperplasia, and bile duct wall thickening. Imaging findings of clonorchiasis and opisthorchiasis include visualization of adult flukes in the bile ducts and gallbladder, diffuse dilatation of the peripheral small intrahepatic bile ducts with no or minimal dilatation of the large bile ducts, and thickening of the bile duct wall. In biliary fascioliasis and ascariasis, adult worms are visualized in the dilated bile ducts and gallbladder’
Was it the PH of the Gallbladder that attracted these parasites? I wondered, and left the GB conundrum on the back burner.
Dr. Stephen Gangemi, DC, DIBAK, DCBCN appears to know a lot about the Gallbladder and talks about why it is so important to us;
“When fats from food enter the digestive tract they stimulate the secretion of a type of hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) in the upper part of the small intestine – the duodenum. This, along with the stomach’s secretion of hydrochloric acid, signals the gallbladder to release some of its approximately 50mL of bile into the gut to help aid in digestion of those fats. Since by most, it’s viewed as a “storage tank” and nothing more, it’s often seen as only a nuisance when it comes to digestive problems and pain – expendable at the first sight of problems and removable with surgical ease. But there’s so much more to it than just storage”
Dr. Gangemi goes on to talk about the role of bile, which is of course stored in the Gallbladder;
“Bile is a lovely dark green/yellow-brown fluid and contains about 10% bile salts. The bile acids (salts) have a strong relationship to hormonal regulation as they share many of the same synthesis pathways as hormones. This is why people with hormonal problems, especially women with estrogen dominance, are more susceptible to gallbladder problems. The more hormonal stress on the body the lower the bile acids which in turn disrupts normal hormonal metabolism. It’s not a coincidence that many women have their gallbladder removed at the same time they have a hysterectomy…..
the gallbladder also plays a role in insulin regulation and that β-like cells that produce insulin in the pancreas also occur in the gallbladder. Insulin is also metabolized by the liver and can therefore have an effect on the bile salts – so diets high in refined carbohydrates and those with insulin resistance will also be more likely to have troubles with their gallbladder.”
Wikipedia makes a very good point about in this article;
‘Since bile increases the absorption of fats, it is an important part of the absorption of the fat-soluble substances, such as the vitamins <strong>A, D, E, and K.’
Besides its digestive function, bile serves also as the route of excretion for bilirubin, a byproduct of red blood cells recycled by the liver. Bilirubin derives from hemoglobin by glucuronidation.’
The role of the Gallbladder was beginning to look more and more important in the grand scheme of things, and it came as no surprise to find that during my year of working with bioresonance testing in America, the Gallbladder always came up as being the most chronic and advanced pathological issue in my body. It consistently showed me that I was suffering from what I later realised to be a common condition known as Cholelithiasis, or Gallstones. Aside from these Gallstones, I could see very clearly that I had a very big problem with Liver Flukes.
Not only that, I had tested very low in all my fat soluble, A, D and K vitamins during my days spent in clinics in Mexico, and had been desperate to understand why this was. Dr. Gangemi knows his stuff and starts to get into the thick of it when he talks about bile being like ‘dirty oil’ that needs changing;
“These bile acids are recycled from the intestines and back to the liver and gallbladder. However if there are problems with digestion, such as an all-too-common poor diet, then the salts can become “dirty” – the bile becomes thick like a vehicle’s oil that is way past the oil change date. Eventually this thick, dirty bile can accumulate and form a gallstone, also known as a cholelithiasis. Usually these stones contain some or a significant amount of cholesterol, so it’s often cholesterol that gets blamed for causing the stones when really it’s an issue with oxidative stress, inflammation, and digestive problems caused by other factors, (discussed in a bit). Gallstones in the gallbladder can lead to cholecystitis, which is an inflammatory condition of the gallbladder. The stones leaving the gallbladder can also obstruct the bile ducts which can be life threatening, especially if a stone blocks the pancreatic duct leading to pancreatitis. Also, low levels of bile salts can be a reason for gallstones; this problem would ultimately fall on a production problem with the liver.”
So why didn’t Gallstones show up in my ultrasound? Well it turns out ultrasound is not such a reliable diagnostic tool as we are lead to believe. Gallstones it seems, are likely to be undetected unless they are very large, and probably by then will have caused some rather problematic health problems.
There was another option for cleaning out the Gallstones, if that was what the issue was, the liver or gallbladder flush. Dr Hulda Clark was an early proponent of the flush.
I had been advised early on that I should do liver flushes, but for some reason it scared me, what if a stone got blocked? quite honestly I think I was just scared of drinking vile things like Epsom salts and olive oil. But gradually the relevance of the Gallbladder problems were starting to sink in, and I embarked upon my first flush in 2015; nothing passed!
Of course I wanted to tell myself then that I did not have any stones, all was well! But alas the bioresonance I had learned in my studies, did not lie. Contrary to some opinions you may read on the internet, my experiences with bioresonance were that it was incredibly reliable, and I will write an in-depth post on this in the near future.
The flush was not pleasant, but like most things in life, it wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated, and so I plucked up the courage to do it again. Making sure I actually finished all the Epsom salts this time. How rewarding it is to see those stones in the toilet and OUT of my body. This gave me the drive to try it again, and to date I have done three successful flushes, although the last one was not as forthcoming as I tried magnesium oxide instead of the very bitter tasting magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts). It didn’t work so well. If you are not of optimum health, and chances are you are not if your considering you may need to flush your Gallbladder, then a flush can sure take it out of you. It is not to be taken lightly, the salts dehydrate the body and proper re-hydration should be considered with the use of electrolytes. A consultation with a practitioner is wise before embarking upon a flush.
I have heard of people doing many many flushes, and passing hundreds and hundreds of stones, so I decided that there was no time like the present, and I will continue flushing for a while though I do leave a few weeks between each flush, and only do the flush if I feel strong enough. I wont do a flush if I am doing other protocols such as the Cutler protocol I am following right now for Heavy Metals, this I will post about also in the near future.
Clearly though, flushing the Gallstones is only part of the solution, it still is not addressing the of this issue, is it parasites? Dr Clark among others, seemed to believe that the stones are formed initially from dead parasites, which become crystallized with fat deposits and/or calcium deposits;
“Gallstones, being sticky, can pick up all the bacteria, viruses and parasite eggs that are passing through the liver. In this way “nests” of infection are formed, forever supplying the body with fresh parasite eggs and bacteria. No stomach infection such as ulcers or intestinal bloating can be cured permanently without removing these gallstones from the liver.”
And she even goes as far as to say that a blocked Gallbladder can slow the flow of lymphatic fluid.
Another well known practitioner in the realms of Biotoxin illness, Dr Richie Shoemaker, understands the implications of a toxic Gallbladder when it comes to treating his patients. He prescribes a ‘bile sequestrant’ known as Cholestyremine (CSM) to bring down toxicity in his patients. I was prescribed CSM and soon began to understand the logic behind this canny tool for detoxing; toxins are re-cycled around the body through our bile, and so by using CSM to bind to this bile, we begin to bring down the toxic burden on our bodies.
More on Biotoxin Illness coming soon….
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has an interesting take on the Gallbladder, typically coming from a more holistic point of view. In TCM the Gallbadder is a ‘Yang’ organ, and is very much related to the courage and bravery;
“The Gall Bladder engenders the capacity for courage and bravery. In the West, we speak of having gall to express this quality. Weakness in Gall Bladder function may manifest with a tendency towards fear and timidity. While the Liver is responsible for planning and organizing, the Gall Bladder is responsible for decisiveness and execution. Inability to act may be tied to a Gall Bladder imbalance.”
Says Robert Kellerka, a classically trained TCM specialist. He goes on to make a very interesting point regarding the Gallbladder and its relationship with the heart:
“The law of midday-midnight asserts that Gall Bladder deficiencies will manifest during the opposite hour, 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, which is the time of its lowest energy. This is also Heart time. The midday-midnight theory illustrates the relationship between the Gall Bladder and the Heart. The right / left tropism described above also reflects this relationship. In addition, the Gall Bladder acts as a protector of the Heart. The Heart is protected by the Gall Bladder, and the Gall Bladder is protected by the appendix. They are affected by excess Heat and Dampness in ascending order of biological importance, with the Heart obviously appearing at the end as it is considered to be the ruler of the body. It is very common clinically to see people who have their appendix out as a teenager, their Gall Bladder out as an adult, and then to suffer from Heart disease and an eventual Heart attack later in life. This illustrates the concept in Chinese medicine that illness occurs as a gradual progression over the course of one’s life. When the symptomatic expression of one illness is removed without properly treating its root, then symptoms will simply manifest elsewhere at a later date. Without a model which connects these events, they are seen as different illnesses. <strong>Symptom chasing occurs, possibly over the course of years, without ever addressing the underlying cause”.
Andreas Moritz really blows the lid off the Gallbladder mystery in his book ‘The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush’, here he pretty much describes the Gallbladder as being the premier organ, with regards to blood flow, stating that,
‘Gallstones in the liver may lead to poor circulation, enlargement of the heart and spleen, varicose veins, congested lymph vessels, and hormone imbalances.’
and explains how this can happen,
“Almost all types of heart disease have one thing in common: blood flow is being obstructed. But blood circulation does not become disrupted easily. It must be preceded by a major congestion of the bile ducts in the liver. Gallstones obstructing the bile ducts dramatically reduce or cut off the blood supply to the liver cells. Reduced blood flow through the liver affects the blood flow in the entire body, which, in turn, has a detrimental effect on the lymphatic system”
He makes some groundbreaking connections but one which I found most intriguing was how he associates swollen abdomens in later life with lymph-edema of the ‘cysterna chyli’
“These toxins, along with fats and proteins, enter the body’s largest lymph vessel, the thoracic duct,at the cysterna chyli. The cysterna chyli are dilated lymph vessels in the shape of sacks, situated in front of the first two lumbar vertebrae at the level of the belly button.When the cysterna chyli(lymph sacks) are overtaxed and congested, the lymphatic system is no longer able to sufficiently remove even the body’s own degenerate proteins (from worn-out cells). This results in lymph edema. While lying on the back, existing lymph edema can be felt as hard knots, sometimes as large as a fist, in the area of the belly button. These ‘rocks’ are a major cause of middle and low back pain and abdominal swelling, and, in fact, of most symptoms of ill health. Many people who have grown a ‘tummy’ consider this abdominal extension to be just a harmless nuisance or a natural part of aging. They don’t realize that they are breeding a living ‘time bomb’ that may go off some day and injure vital parts of the body. Anyone with a bloated abdomen suffers from major lymph congestion.”
I have been dismayed by a fairly recent manifestation of a protruding abdomen and somewhat puzzled by what has been causing it, I had always prided myself on a lovely flat stomach, and began almost obsessively observing how most peoples abdomens seemed to be swollen after a certain age, despite how slim their body type appeared to be. I wonder about the connection with lymph-edema, it would appear to make sense.
Of course the most obvious answer would be diet. Too much fats and the Gallbladder is said to be overworked, too little and it’s under-worked. The website Gallbladder Attack stipulates the importance of balancing fats in the diet,
‘Do not avoid all fats unless you are in attack or close to attack mode. Even then, a small amount of the flax oil in the beet recipe can be helpful. Fat-free and low-fat diets can be a cause for gallbladder problems as well as too much of the wrong fats. The body needs fats. Use omega 3 oils like flax or fish oil. Cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil is also recommended. Use with vinegar or fresh lemon juice.’
Which has inspired another blog post on the good, the bad and the ugly fats, (coming soon).
The bile, the blood and the plot thickens, and I am certainly going to pluck up the courage to do another flush, are you?