Your liver is an important organ for hormone regulation and performs over 500 known functions including detoxification, metabolism and producing bile. It filters, regulates and stores blood. The liver is involved with digestion, the hormone system, controlling blood sugar, protein and fat metabolism.
Your gallbladder is a pear shaped organ that is located near the liver. It is one of the most important organs in the body aiding to digest fat by producing and storing bile (a compound of cholesterol). Your gallbladder functions to process cholesterol, clean all tissues, and enhance brain function. The gallbladder's job of storing and emptying bile is dependent on the liver, it's paired organ, ensuring a smooth flow of Qi (energy).
When you eat too many fried foods, sugar, grains and junk food, bile can become saturated with cholesterol, causing the cholesterol to form solid crystals, accumulating into stones. Many doctors recommend gallbladder removal when they find gallstones, however be informed: gallbladder removal comes with consequences and will set you up for lifelong digestive problems and a much higher likelihood of being overweight. Nearly 500,000 gallbaldders are removed annually! Surgery is often not a walk in the park, with 40% of postcholecystectomy patients still having symptoms of nausea, pain, gas, bloating, IBS, scarring and food intolerance.
Gallstones are not the cause of most gallbladder attacks. A sluggish, congested liver is often associated with gallstones. Food allergies cause more than 99.9% of all gallbladder attacks. According to Jonathan Wright, M.D. 93% are allergic to eggs. Identify and avoid foods you’re sensitive/allergic to and keep your gallbladder!
Those who have had their gallbladder removed are 99% of the time intolerant to gluten and must avoid gluten the remainder of their lives. Once the gallbladder is removed, the ability to store and concentrate bile in the gallbladder is lost, and bile continually flows through the bile ducts into the small intestine. In addition, your ability to dissolve, digest and absorb dietary fat is drastically reduced.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), specific organs have a two hour time period when the Qi (energy) is at its peak in that meridian. The gallbladder meridian is most active between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. The liver meridian is most active between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.
Consistently waking up during these hours is an indication that the gallbladder or liver is out of balance. When the energy of a meridian is not flowing well due to a block such as unhealthy eating, toxic overload or stress, you’ll experience a sign or symptom from the meridian(s) involved.
Pre-Disposing factors to consider with gallbladder dysfunction include diets high in processed carbs, hydrogenated & trans fats, fried foods, fructose and dairy; hormonal imbalances (thyroid, ovarian), obesity, hypochlorhydria, insufficient water intake, food sensitivities, genetic pre-disposition and constant runny nose, which often indicates a need for bile salts.
Causes of gallbladder pathology include excessive consumption of greasy and fatty foods, anger, frustration and bottled-up resentment and a damp, hot climate.
Symptoms of Impaired Bile Flow and Gallbladder Dysfunction
|Pain over eyes; Headaches||Gas; Bloating||Bitter taste in mouth|
|Sticky coating on tongue (right side)||Pain along ITBand||Pain between shoulder blades|
|Inability to tolerate fatty foods||Hypochlorhydria||Dizziness; Nervousness|
|Pain in web between right thumb & forefinger when pressure is applied||Cramping at 4th toe, knees and thigh||Blurred vision; Cataracts; Glaucoma|
Pre-Disposing Factors to consider with liver disease include recreational or prescription drug abuse, diabetes, viral infection of the liver, alcoholism, exposure to chemicals and/or heavy metals and malnutrition.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease in the U.S. One-third of the population suffers from NAFLD, and many don't even realize they have it. (Polyzos et al 2010, Schuppan et al 2010, Younossi 2008). It is estimated that 70–80% of obese individuals have NAFLD.
NAFLD is a condition in which fat accumulates in the liver cells in individuals with minimal or zero alcohol intake. It often goes undetected for years, and may eventually progress to liver inflammation, cirrhosis, liver cancer or full-blown liver failure. NAFLD is caused by poor dietary choices (primarily excess fructose), and linked to increasing rates of diabesity and metabolic syndrome.
Causes of liver pathology include overeating, obesity, a diet high in fructose, trans fats and omega-6 fats, excessive use of alcohol, OTC and Rx drugs, exposure to toxins, repressed anger and prolonged stress.
Symptoms and Conditions of a Sluggish, Congested Liver
|Skin problems; rashes; brown skin spots||Difficulty losing body fat||Increased cholesterol|
|Distended stomach on a thin body||Depression; Fatigue||Cellulite|
|Chemical and food sensitivities||Chronic constipation||Alcoholism|
|Gynectomastia – man boobs||Nightmares; Insomnia||Digestive dysfunction|
|Dark tint under eyes; Bags||Hypertension||High Estrogen; PMS|
If you wake up during the night at the same time, or become exhausted at the same time every day in the afternoon, you can look at the meridian that’s active and what may be happening with you.
The emotions that corresponds with the liver and gallbladder meridian include frustration, anger and resentment. The liver is the most emotion sensitive organ and its weakness is often connected to emotional sensitivity.
The key responsibilities associated with the gallbladder and liver are decision making, determination and action. The liver controls ability to plan one’s life, while the gallbladder controls the capacity to make decisions.
Solutions and Tips for a Healthy Liver and Gallbladder
- Consume an organic, whole-food diet.
- Acupuncture and acupressure
- Daily detox powder, my favorite is ProtoClear, to support a healthy liver
- Nourish your liver – Juice or blend beets, apples, lemon, carrots and dandelion greens
- Apply castor oil packs on right side of abdomen
- Gallstones: olive oil with fresh lemon juice before bedtime for 2-3 weeks until stones pass. Fish Oil - According to Dr. Jonathan Wright, M.D., if you have gallstones, 11gm/day of fish oil lowers cholesterol saturation of bile by 25%
- Nutritional Support
- Avoid Rx drugs, antacids, and OTC anti-inflammatory and pain meds.
- Coconut oil is easily digestible and does not require the liver or gallbladder to digest or emulsify it.
- Stress management. Chinese medicine reminds us that the emotions of an unhappy liver/GB are anger, frustration and resentment.
- Deep, slow breathing – Inhale kindness, generosity, forgiveness; Exhale anger, frustration and resentment while making the sound, shhhhhh.
- Consuming of 2 cups caffeinated, organic coffee/day cleans our the liver and may reduce risk of gallstone disease by 30-40 percent
- Liver/Gallbladder flush (depending upon the individual)
- Women who consume at least 5 oz. of raw nuts per week have a 25% lower risk of having a cholecystectomy compared with women who rarely or never ate nuts.
- Saunas, helpful for detoxing.
- Identify food sensitivities (common with gallbladder problems)
- Rule out heavy metal body burdens (I wish this was a standard lab test)
- Eat small meals more frequently and chew your food until it’s liquified
- Exercise stimulates blood circulation and helps all organs function better. According to a study published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, people who get more exercise are much less likely to develop painful and potentially dangerous gallstones.
Do you want a lifestyle plan that guarantees results? How about a healthy way to detox? Make an appointment. Schedule a 15-minute phone call to discuss your goals and needs. I consult with clients locally in the Phoenix area and around the world via telephone or Skype.
Copyright © Paula Owens
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