Beat Gallstones Naturally
Gallstones are crystalline formations of cholesterol and calcium formed within the gallbladder and biliary tracts. These stones can vary widely in size from as small as a grain of salt to nearly the size of a golf ball. Gallstones are a sign of incomplete liver detoxification and pose a significant threat to the body (1). You can limit the development of gallstones naturally with an anti-inflammatory diet and advanced cleansing strategies (2).
The gallbladder serves as a reservoir for the bile that is produced by the liver. Bile is necessary to digest and metabolize fatty acids. The extra bile storage allows the body to effectively metabolize fat rich foods such as steak and eggs.
How do Gallstones Develop?
Problems occur when the gallbladder doesn’t effectively get the signal to squeeze out bile. This is a condition known as stasis where bile sits in the gallbladder for long periods of time and moves slowly when it finally gets going.
Additionally, if the gallbladder is filled with thick bile that has more cholesterol and less phospholipids and bile salts, it can become a supersaturated sludge. This sludge allows for the development of crystal-like compounds to form that precipitate out of the solution (3).
We call these structures gallstones and they can irritate the gallbladder. If the stones become large enough, they may even lodge into the bile duct and cause a physical obstruction that would be extremely painful and possibly life threatening. Reports show that 25% of women and 20% of men develop problems with an overproduction of gallstones (4).
Gallstones and Gallbladder Surgeries:
Research shows that 42 million Americans suffer from gallstones but most are unaware of it. Gallbladder removals are one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures with over 500,000 being performed every year. A review study in the British Medical Journal found that 50% of patients who had a gallbladder surgery didn’t see improvement in their digestive health complaints (5).
The individual may experience sharp pain in their abdomen, radiating into their back. Sometimes it just feels like right shoulder blade pain. This may be accompanied by gas and indigestion.
If gallstones block the bile duct, the risk of infection go up. If the individual has the pain but is also experiencing fever, chills, nausea and vomiting than an infection has most likely begun. If nothing is done, it can spread to the liver where it can cause jaundice, or a yellowing of the skin and the eyes.
Another condition, called gallbladder ileus happens when a gallstone slips into the small intestine and blocks the entry of bile to the small intestine. This can only be corrected by surgery, but nutritional support should still be used.
11 Major Causes of Gallstones:
1. Blood Sugar Imbalances: When we have poor blood sugar regulation, it causes stress and inflammation in the liver increases the production of cholesterol which concentrates in the bile. This causes a thicker, slower moving bile. Poor blood sugar regulation will lead too higher LDL cholesterol, higher triglyceride levels and lower HDL cholesterol. This triad is not only a risk for heart disease, but also gallstones (6).
2. Estrogen Dominance: When we have an overabundance of natural estrogen production or a buildup of artificial estrogen substances within our body it leads to increases in cholesterol that create thicker, sluggish bile . Women who have used birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or have an IUD are at a higher risk for gallstone formation (7). Several studies have shown that the use of HRT doubles or event triples the risk of developing gallbladder disease (8)
3. Food Allergies and Sensitivities: Food allergies and sensitivities cause a stress response in the body and cause the liver to work harder. Additionally, food sensitivities dehydrate us as our body uses water to deal with increased stress. This hampers proper bile production and leads to the development of a thicker, sluggish bile.
In 1968, Dr J.C. Brenemen published a paper in the Journal Annals of Allergy (9). He was remarkably able to relieve the symptoms associated with gallstones in 100% of the subjects with a one week elimination diet. Once he added the foods back into the diet, the symptoms returned.
The most common foods these individuals were reacting too included eggs (93% of the time), pork (64%) and onion (52%). By removing these foods, people saw relief from their symptoms.
4. Chronic Stress: Chronic stress reduces digestive juice production and dehydrates the body. We also use key electrolytes at a higher rate under stress. This all leads to a thicker, sluggish bile production.
5. Low Fiber Diet: Fiber is critical for the elimination of cholesterol and estrogenic molecules in the body. Additionally, fiber helps to feed good bacteria that enhance the detoxification processes of the body. A low fiber diet has been shown to cause that same thick sluggish bile production.
6. Low Stomach Acid Production: Stomach acid is necessary to sterilize the gut environment, metabolize proteins and stimulating all the digestive juices – including bile production in the liver and its release from the gall bladder.
7. Obesity: Individuals who are overweight or obese produce more cholesterol which thickens the bile and causes sluggish movement through the bile duct. This process increases the production of gallstones.
8. Rapid Weight Loss: Weight loss in one who is overweight or obese is a great thing, however, if it happens too quickly it can increase the risk of gallstone formation. The most common example of this is a bariatric surgery where the individual’s stomach is shortened.
Additionally, yo-yo dieting increases cholesterol production in the liver creating a super saturated, slow moving bile. Healthy weight loss would be no more than 3 lbs per week over a period of time. Getting the weight off is key, but doing it in a gradual way and keeping it off long-term is important.
9. Low Fat Diets: A low-fat diet for a long-period of time reduces the overall secretions of bile, which can cause the bile to become stagnant. The stagnancy of the bile increases the risk of bile stone production.
10. Cholesterol Lowering Medications: Certain types of cholesterol lowering medications increase the amount of cholesterol being bound into the bile. This will cause more concentrated bile that is sluggish and at greater risk for forming stones (10).
11. Leaky Gut Syndrome: When we have damage to the intestinal lining, it reduces CCK and secretin levels. This inhibits the ability of the gall bladder to contract effectively and can lead to biliary stasis.
It is important to remember that the environment (sluggish bile motility) that creates the production of gallstones has been causing issues with poor digestion and sterilization of the small intestine for many years before a stone would develop. It is important to focus on optimizing bile well in advance of developing gallstone like symptoms.
Organic Acids and Natural Enzymes:
An anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle is necessary to inhibit gallstone formation. This diet consists of phytonutrient rich organic fruits & vegetables, grass-fed animal products and healthy fat sources such as avocados, coconut, grass-fed butter & olive oil. Be sure to consume these fats in small quantities at a time with ox bile and a high quality digestive enzyme.
Foods that are rich in organic acids and natural enzymes are especially important for the entire digestive system including the liver and gall bladder. These foods include apple cider vinegar (ACV), fresh squeezed lemon/lime, kombucha, kimchi, & red cabbage sauerkraut.
Liver health is dependent upon a regular fasting cycle to effectively cleans and detoxify. A 12 hour fast between dinner and breakfast is a great daily habit. If one were to finish their final solid food meal at 8pm they should not attempt another solid food meal until at least 8am. This gives the body 4 hours to digest and metabolize the food and then 8 hours for the liver to cleanse.
The Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle:
Once you incorporate the 12 hour daily detox cycle into your lifestyle you can choose to increase this period of time. Two to three 16 hour liquid fasts each week and/or a 24 hour liquid fast will keep the liver well flushed.
These fasting periods are much easier than most people believe. Many individuals will drink fresh vegetable juices and functional beverages such as coconut water kefir made and water with lemon. The fluid and nutrients supplies the body with very clean energy that enhances the liver’s ability to purge toxins and facilities bowel movements.
Anyone with pronounced and symptomatic gall stones should go on a liquid diet with lots of water & lemon, ACV, coconut water kefir and fresh organic vegetable juices. Try to limit solid food to one meal per day with very moderate portions of anti-inflammatory foods.
10 Tips To Help Reduce GallStones
1. Lemon Water: Drink 8-16 oz of clean water with lemon and/or apple cider vinegar (1-2 tbsp per 8oz) each morning upon arrising.
2. Fix the Gut: Find out what is wrong with your digestive system through functional testing and work with a practitioner to fix the dysfunctions. You can follow our 30-day digestive health restoration program to cleanse your system.
3. Super Hydrate: Drink at least 3/4 of your body weight in ounces of clean, purified water. You can add in anti-oxidant extracts and drink fermented beverages like coconut water kefir.
4. Fresh Vegetable Juices: Juicing fresh veggies such as kale, spinach, parsley, cilantro, watercress, bok choy, beets, carrots, mustard greens, cucumbers, celery, etc. is highly advised. The phytonutrients are highly bioavailable in fresh juice and they will help to cleanse the liver and gallbladder. I recommend 16-32 oz daily. No more than 4-8 oz of it should be with beets and carrots due to the sugar. Be sure to get most of it from the greens, using bok choy, celery or cucumber as the main juicing base.
5. Practice Intermittent Fasting: Take stress off your digestive system by doing a water/green juice fast for 16-20 hrs each day. Consume only 2 meals and make one of those a protein shake and one can (dosn’t have to be) a solid food meal such as a homemade chicken soup or high quality meat with steamed veggies and a big salad with good fats.
6. Use Lots of Anti-Inflammatory Herbs: Look for ways to get more ginger, turmeric, oregano, garlic, basil, thyme, milk thistle, stinging nettle, peppermint, etc. into your system. You can add dried or fresh herbs to your meals. You can use organic herbal teas and apply essential oils among other things.
7. Fermented Foods: Consuming small amounts of fermented foods can be very therapeutic for the liver and gall bladder. This includes kimchii, saeurkraut, coconut milk kefir, apple cider vinegar, natural pickles, coconut yogurt and coconut water kefir.
8. Coffee Enemas: This is not the most pleasant but perhaps the most powerful way to help detoxify your liver and gallbladder. Read all about coffee enemas in this article.
9. Use Healthy Fiber Sources: Fiber helps to grab up toxins in the digestive system and feeds the microbiota. Be sure to get over 30 grams of fiber daily through non-starchy veggies and good seeds like chia, flax, pumpkin and hemp seeds. Nuts and fermented vegetables are also a great source of healthy fiber. Be sure to only take in moderate amounts of nuts and seeds (2 oz at a time max – small handful) to reduce stress on the liver and gallbladder.
10. Use a Good Liver Detoxifying Supplement: The Gut Healing Protein is my go to detoxification product for my clients. This is not a harsh colon cleanse that leaves you on the toilet all day, but instead it promotes a gentle and comfortable detoxification process that will not interfere with your daily life.
The nice thing is that it is also a protein powder…simple to add to smoothies and it works! Within days most people notice they have improved energy, less pain, mental clarity, improved complexion and they sleep deeper. I have seen fantastic health results both personally and professionally using this product.
Flushing Out Gallstones
This is a great cleanse and one of the best ways to flush out gallstones. Be sure to get medical help if you are dealing with intense pain and any feverish type of symptoms. If you decide to do this cleanse, be sure to have guidance with a natural health practitioner familiar with the protocol.
I would recommend doing the 7-day liver cleanse beforehand in order to improve all the detoxification pathways and prepare your liver. You want your kidneys, bladder and urinary tract in top working condition so they can efficiently remove any undesirable substances incidentally absorbed from the intestine as the bile is being excreted. This will also soften the bile duct to help it relax, so when we do stimulate contractions it will have the best chance to expel the stones.
Drink as many of these as you can – like 5-6 per day for 3 days and then do Gall Bladder flush. You can add a bit of pink salt to the juice or your water, especially if feeling dehydrated and light headed going through the process.
You can also drink beet-carrot juice (8oz daily) and apple cider vinegar and water – 2 tbsps per 8oz throughout the day.
I also recommend doing Bile Flow Support and Activated Charcoal to help during this process. Do 2 caps with each meal or green juices of the Bile Flow Support and 2 caps – 2x daily (away from meals or green juices) of the Activated Charcoal. I usually recommend the charcoal about 1 hour before meals.
You can do these supplements on the days leading up to the Liver cleanse and while doing the 3-day green juice cleanse.
GallBladder Flush Ingredients:
4 Tbsps. of Epsom Salts
1/2 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 large or 2 small pink grapefruits (enough to squeeze 3/4 cup of juice) or you can do fresh squeezed lemons or an organic lemon juice concentrate to make it easier.
Bile Flow Support: This is optional but can help you get a better bile release, take 4 caps after the olive oil mixture. I also recommend taking it for several weeks after you do this cleanse to support your bile flow. Simply do 1-2 caps after each meal.
Pint Jar with lid
Choose a day like Saturday for the cleanse, since you will be able to rest the next day.
Take no medicines or pills that you can do without; they could prevent success.
2:00 p.m. on the Day of The Cleanse:
Do not eat or drink after 2 o’clock. If you break this rule you could feel quite ill later.
Get your Epsom salts ready. Mix 4 tbs. In 3 cups or 24 oz of water and pour this into a jar. This makes four servings, ¾ cup (6 oz) each. Set the jar in the refrigerator to get ice cold (this is for convenience and taste only).
Drink one serving (3/4 cup or 6 oz) of the ice cold Epsom salts. If you did not prepare this ahead of time, mix 1 tbs. in ¾ cup water now. You can add 1 tsp of fresh or concentrated lemon juice to improve the flavor. You may also drink a few mouthfuls of water afterwards or rinse your mouth.
Get the olive oil and grapefruit out to warm up.
Repeat by drinking another ¾ cup of Epsom salts.
You haven’t eaten since two o’clock, but you won’t feel hungry. Get your bedtime chores done. The timing is critical for success, don’t be more than 10 minutes early or late.
Pour ½ cup (measured) olive oil into the pint jar. Squeeze the grapefruit by hand into the measuring cup. Remove pulp with fork. You should have at least ½ cup, more (up to ¾ cup) is best. You may top it up with lemonade (lemon/water/stevia). Add this to the olive oil. Close the jar tightly with the lid and shake hard until watery (only fresh grapefruit juice does this).
Visit the bathroom one or more times, even if it makes you late for your ten o’clock drink. Don’t be more than 15 minutes late.
Drink the potion you have made and take 4 bile flow support right after finishing the drink if you are using these. The bile flow support are not necessary but can help you get even more stones out.
Lie Down Immediately:
You might fail to get stones out if you don’t. The sooner you lie down, the more stones you will get out. Be ready for bed ahead of time. Don’t clean up the kitchen. As soon as the drink is down, walk to your bed and lie down on your back with your head up high on a pillow.
Try to think about what is happening in the liver. Try to keep perfectly still for at least 20 minutes. You may feel a train of stones traveling along the bile ducts like marbles. There is no pain because the bile ducts valves are open (thank you Epsom salts!). Go to sleep, you may fail to get stones out if you don’t.
Upon awakening, take your third dose of Epsom salts. If you have indigestion or nausea, wait until it is gone before drinking the Epsom salts. You may go back to bed. Don’t take the Epsom salts before 6:00 a.m.
2 Hours Later:
Take your fourth (the last) dose of Epsom salts. Drink ¾ cup of the mixture. You may go back to bed.
After 2 more hours you may eat.
Start with fruit juice. Half an hour later eat fruit. One hour later you may eat regular food, but keep it light. By supper you should feel recovered.
How Well Did You Do?
Expect diarrhea in the morning. Use a flashlight to look for gallstones in the toilet with the bowel movement. Look for the green kind, since this if proof that they are genuine gallstones, not food residue. Only bile from the liver is pea green. The bowel movement sinks, but gallstones float because of the cholesterol inside.
Count them all roughly, whether tan or green. You will need to total 2000 stones before the liver is clean enough to rid you of allergies or bursitis or upper back pains permanently. The first cleanse may rid you of them for a few days, but as the stones from the rear travel forward, they give you the same symptoms again. You may repeat cleanses at two week intervals. Never cleanse when you are ill.
Sometimes the bile ducts are full of cholesterol crystals that did not form into round stones. They appear as a “chaff” floating on top of the toilet bowl water. It may be tan colored, harboring millions of tiny white crystals. Cleansing this chaff is just as important as purging stones.
How safe is the gallbladder cleanse? It is very safe. According to renowned physician, Huda Clark, who has implemented this with over 500 cases, including many persons in their seventies and eighties. None went to the hospital; none even reported pain. However, it can make you feel quite ill for one or two days.