Today I would like to cover a topic that seems to be widely misinterpreted by the medical community, and thus many of its patients. With no human biology course needed, the importance of how every organ in the body works together, is something that I have learned through my illness. One of these that just so happens to give me (and many others) a lot of trouble is the gallbladder. First, however, I must start with the gallbladder’s closest helper and friend, the liver.
Also known as the key organ for keeping the body running, the liver has hundreds of different jobs that are connected to every part of the body. In its prime state, it is able to filter 3 pints of blood per minute, and make 1 to 1 1/2 quarts of bile per day. Through this large process the liver is able to rid harmful toxins, distribute necessary nutrients, and maintain a state of balance throughout the body. That being said, if the liver is unable to work properly, there is not one area of the body that does not suffer. Because properly digesting foods (plus the fat and calcium from them) is dependent on bile, not producing the right amount leads to GI distress, which then transfers into our blood and bones. Osteoporosis, one of the most commonly diagnosed diseases in men and women over 50, is usually, if not always, actually due to the lack ofbile flow in an individual not simply from not enough dietary calcium.
A key organ supplied with bile from the liver is a small, pear shaped organ known as the gallbladder. These two are connected through ducts in which bile from the liver is able to pass through into the gallbladder. Unlike its provider, the gallbladder’s bile is significantly more concentrated, leaving only 2 ounces of the substance in it at a time. Though this may seem like a small, insignificant amount, a lack of this fluid causes some pretty large, and costly issues. Bile salts, just one aspect of the gallbladder’s bile released when we eat, is the component responsible for digesting foods, and more specifically, the breakdown of fat. Therefore, when there is an insufficiency of bile in general, there is also a lack of bile salts. This then leads to the inability of breaking down foods and absorbing their nutrients, thus leading to damage of the lymphatic, urinary, and circulatory system. Though gallstones are the most commonly known problem, tooth decay, ulcers, acid reflux, pancreatitis, various infections (kidney, liver, etc…), allergies, enlarged heart and spleen, hormonal imbalance, high blood pressure, stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, Rheumatoid arthritis, skin disorders, and much (much) more, can all be led back to both a congested liver and gallbladder. As noted before, this is due to the liver being the second most complex part of the body, thus proving its function truly does effect every single cell throughout the human body. Of course, before any of these disorders are even posed as possible in an individual, there must be an underlying cause for their body to stop functioning properly. Some of the most common reasons why one would develop blocked bile ducts are alcohol, sugar, dyes, artificial and processed foods, refined salt, dehydration, being over weight, rapidly losing weight, prescription drugs, fluoride poisoning (found in soy products, toothpaste, gum, tea, vaccines, anesthetics, antibiotics etc…), stress (internal & external), disrupted sleep cycle, and get this, being on a low-fat diet. Because the gallbladder needs fat to empty itself of stored bile, not providing the body with enough dietary fat gives it no option but to stay put, thus causing stones. In the end, unless your body and the environment you live in is perfect (and no ones is), you probably have some small type of gallstone formation. Of course, in healthy individuals, their bodies are able to combat this obstacle without any noticeable issues. However, if you are like me and suffer from a chronic illness (or any type of inevitable health condition) gallstones can become a serious burden to your everyday life.
Symptoms that follow from lack of bile flow can range from inconspicuous oral problems (white coated tongue, tooth & gum sensitivity, etc…) to frequent unexplained belching, diarrhea and (or) constipation, as well as severe right shoulder pain. Because clogged bile ducts can cause so much pain, the question then becomes how to cope with the ever increasing and disrupting symptoms? I know from personal experience that, not only do gallbladder stones make eating a painful experience, but the attacks that strike out of nowhere in the middle of the night linger for days. There is no way to avoid the burning pain that fills your entire torso, along with the extreme air produced in your intestines, making you feel like your being choked around the neck and repeatedly kicked in the solar plexus. Though not everyone suffers from such severe symptoms, even a slight disturbance in digestion can leave one feeling desperate for an answer on how to rid themselves of the issue. Western medicine says that you don’t need your gallbladder, and thus should simply remove it through surgery in order to make the problem disappear. However, much like many other health conditions, these doctors are not realizing the root of the problem, the liver. Removing the gallbladder may decrease some of the symptoms due to removing the gallstones, however, the blocked bile in the liver is left untouched and stagnant. Other more minor remedies include dissolving gallstones, shock wave therapy, and a vegetarian/vegan diet, all of which do not fully address the cause behind the stone’s formation in the first place.
What is one to do?
Long before I had my diagnosis of chronic, late stage neurological Lyme, my digestion was the first thing to go. Due to the small nerve damage caused by the untreated Lyme bacteria, my intestines became severely paralyzed. As you can imagine, several other complications stemmed from this neuropathy, including the compression of my celiac artery, which then cut off blood flow to all surrounding organs. Between this life threatening condition, and the innumerable other damages caused by the rampant spirochaetes, my liver (and gallbladder) became severely compromised. Weekly attacks were viewed as normal, and there were was a few times during various parasite treatments that I was able to pass some stones. However, it was not until my experienced naturopath mentioned “The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush,” by Andreas Moritz, that I ever found long lasting relief.
At first, the thought of drinking malic acid for six days, fasting on the seventh, drinking four cups of epson salt water, and then chugging a concoction of half lemon juice, half olive oil, seemed a bit crazy. Though there are many group discussion boards and blog posts out there that bash this flush (saying it is complete dogma), there comes a time when you are so desperate to find relief that doing the seemingly “wacky” is the only option left available. So, after getting medical approval from my doctor, that is exactly what I did. The results? Inexplicable. I will not go into full detail on how I prepped and preformed the flush, however, in the end, dozens upon dozens of stones were released. The process was painless, somewhat effortless, and without any sickening side effects, leading me to a result far better than surgery could ever do. Afterwards, it was like a weight was lifted off the entire right side of my torso, my ribs could expand and truly breath, and the pain in my joints and head instantly cleared up. Now, I am not saying it cured me of my illness, as my organs are still incredibly compromised by previous damage. However, preforming the cleanse was just one piece (out of hundreds) to the puzzle that is my health. I cannot promise the same “amazing” results for anyone else, all I can do is tell you my experience in hopes that you too will have the same relief. Though I have touched on only a few of the links between the gallbladder and many other health issues, Andrea writes in detail of all the signs, symptoms, causes, and science inhis book. I believe it truly is an integrative way of approaching health and is worth reading even if it is just for the sake of learning. However, if you are anything like me, I highly encourage you to weigh the pros and cons and decide for yourself if the flush is right for you. After all, you can’t knock something until you have tried it.
Psalm 40:2 “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”