By Anni Dahms
Owner of the retail chain
ANNI’s VITAL SHOP.
Nurse- & Health
specialist, Biopath and Nutritional Adviser.
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The gallbladder is a completely unique and important little organ, which we usually only pay attention to if we are being plagued by gallstones. Some people form gallstones which can become wedged in the bile ducts and may give rise to a lot of pain.
Bile is produced in the liver. The bile is transferred from the liver via the bile ducts, into the gallbladder. It consists of bile acids, bile dyes, as well as fatty substances, cholesterol and lecithin, the main component being water which makes up about 95%. The bile is slightly alkaline. The bile dyes are responsible for our stools being brown, so if you suddenly get a bowel movement, which is clay coloured or white, it may be a sign that your bile flow is blocked. The bile dye’s products of decomposition are what we hear referred to as bilirubin. Bilirubin originates from the breakdown of red blood cells. They are excreted via the bile, which colours the stool brown.
The gallbladder is a small, pear-formed bag, which is attached to the underside of the liver. It is about 9 cm long and 4 cm wide, and can hold about 50 ml of bile.
Its task is to store bile that is formed in the liver, and to release the bile in the required amount into the duodenum. It participates in fat digestion and helps to break down fat into smaller pieces, so that the digestive enzyme, lipase, can come and finish the job of digesting.
It’s very important to take good care of your gallbladder and to keep it in good shape. It has, in my opinion, unfortunately become all too common to remove the gallbladder. Man can live without a gallbladder, but often it has shown to cause many problems in the years thereafter. I believe that in many cases, the removal of the gallbladder can be avoided if we change our diet, etc.
The Chinese have divided the body into a number of meridians. These are energy pathways distributed throughout the body, and they have an enormous importance for our well-being and health.
We have 12 meridians in each side of the body. Each meridian is named after the most important organ that it is associated with. If you are in a condition of pain or irritation which you can’t relate to anything in particular, then it may well be interesting to study the meridian that runs through the area. You may be able to do something in that way, either through reflexology, acupuncture, massage, nutritional supplements, dietary changes or a combination of the lot.
The reason for this article was that I began to have pain on the outside of my right knee. I’m a bit panicky about my knees, as a large part of my daily exercise comes from walking. Therefore, I grabbed hold of my book on the study of meridians, and found out that the problem was probably sourced from a disorder in my gallbladder meridian. The gallbladder meridian runs along our right side. It starts at the outer corner of the eye, then runs up over the temple on the side of the head, down the neck, shoulder, chest and down the entire side of the body, including the outside of the knee in order to end on the outside of the 4th toe. Other disorders that may have an impact on a suffering gallbladder could be, for example, shingles, a hemifacial headache, neck pain, hip and knee pain, tinnitus, etc.
In order to get your gallbladder under control, a gallbladder-friendly diet is imminent. All bitter foods are beneficial to bile secretion.
It’s a good idea to start the day by drinking a cup of warm water with lemon. This stimulates both the liver and gallbladder.
Remember to drink enough water throughout the day, about 6-7 glasses of good quality water.
Ensure you are getting oils of good quality throughout the day. The oils should contain a good amount of phospholipids, e.g. olive oil, linseed oil, sesame oil, thistle oil, coconut oil. Some researchers believe that coconut oil can dissolve gallstones, meaning that the coconut oil is absorbed in another way than the normal fatty acids. You can use the oils in your smoothies, on top of your cooked vegetables, in your morning porridge, in salad etc.
If you don’t already have a juicer then you need to get yourself one, preferably of good quality so you can make vegetable juice every day. It’s good to mix celery, parsley, artichoke, beetroot, carrots, apples and any vegetables you may have in the fridge. Especially beetroot has a beneficial effect on fat metabolism. It is good to add 1⁄2 cup of aloe vera juice, wheat grass or something similar. This contributes to the detoxification of your gallbladder and liver.
Eat fresh fruit, grapefruit is especially beneficial for you gallbladder.
Listen to your body, to which vegetables you feel like eating. At the moment my body craves kale, which I have never paid much attention to before. Kale, artichoke, black berries and pears are essentially good for the gallbladder. Other beneficial liver- and gallbladder friendly vegetables are, e.g. artichoke, celery, rucola, beetroot and other bitter vegetables. These are all good to use on a daily basis. Wholegrain, beans and lentils are also supportive of your gallbladder function. Use your imagination and creativity when you are preparing these foods.
Many different plants, e.g. turmeric, dandelion, peppermint should also be used generously in your cooking, as they all support the gallbladder in various ways.
If you know that you have a weak gallbladder, then be careful not to eat too many avocados. They are very healthy, but too many can be a challenge for the gallbladder.
Be aware of not eating too much red meat, fried food and try to avoid whole fat dairy products. Be especially careful of the melting cheeses that are so good on top of our dishes, but are unfortunately not very healthy at all.
Also, be careful not to drink too much alcohol and coffee or other caffeinated drinks. This is a load on the gallbladder. Keep away from candy, cakes, white bread, pasta, as you generally always should if your health is an issue.
Eat small meals at regular intervals. It is better than eating few but large meals, which can cause unnecessary stress on the gallbladder.
• After countless studies, it is concluded that lecithin may be the supplement that is best at preventing gallstones.
• You’re allowed to eat fat, but the fat must not be solid. Researches believe this may help by giving supplements of lecithin. Lecithin is considered to be one of the most important substances for liver bile function.
Lecithin granules taste nice. Sprinkle a tablespoonful into your smoothie or sprinkle it over your breakfast.
• Milk thistle is an ancient medicinal plant, that has been used for more than 2000 years. The plant is particularly friendly to both the liver and bile. Milk thistle contains a number of beneficial substances including silymarin, which rejuvenates both the liver and gallbladder disorders. Milk thistle is available both as tea, and in the form of drops, tablets and capsules.
• Take a vitamin B complex, perhaps with additional B2, which is especially important for fat metabolism. Separate B2 should only be taken over a shorter time.
• Vitamin E can be a good supplement to take, as it has good liver protecting properties.
• Artichoke contains a connection that stimulates and supports the gallbladder. It is a light diuretic and promotes the flow of bile. Artichoke can also be useful in treating gall stones. Artichoke is available as a supplement combined with milk thistle.
• Liquorice root has also been known as a biliary liver stimulant. Available as capsules.
• Schisandra is considered to be one of the most important Chinese medicinal plants. It generates the liver as well as stimulating bile.
• Turmeric, also known as Curcuma, has a protecting affect on the liver and bile, and it acts as a gallbladder stimulator. Its effect on the bile resembles that of the milk thistle and liquorice root.
• Dandelion increases the flow of bile, and makes the liver produce more bile for the gallbladder, as well as helping the gallbladder to contract in order for the stored bile to be released. Dandelion is available as tea and in capsule or tablet form.
• It is estimated that about 25% of us have gallstones, but fortunately only about 15-20% develop conditions which require treatment. It is predominantly women over 40 who suffer from gallstones. Obesity is thought to be a contributing factor.
• Louise Hay writes in her book, “Healthy in mind – healthy in body”, that a probable cause of gallstones could be: bitterness, stubborn thoughts, condemnation and pride, and that it’s good to change this thought pattern out with a new one like this: ”There is a joyful liberation from the past. Life is sweet, and I am too.”
• According to Chinese medicine, a so-called “pair relationship” exists through the internal organs, for example, Kidney/bladder – Heart/small intestines – lungs/large intestines – liver/gall bladder, etc.
• It is good to know that these organs are considered to be dependent on each other. If one organ has a problem, there is a risk that the corresponding organ will also develop a problem. Therefore, it’s good to understand their interaction in order to understand ones disorders. Our various disorders are different than device fault models.
• The gallbladder also has a large influence when it comes to our mental state, e.g. hot-headedness, irritability, aggression. There are old sayings we can think a little about, such as the word choleric, which comes from the Latin name gall ”chole”. Also, we say that irascible(easily-provokable) people let their bile spill out on other people.
• Avoid stress, that way you can better avoid problems with bile.
• If you suffer from problems with bile and liver, then acupuncture and reflexology can be helpful tools. Both forms of treatment are close in relation, but prove very helpful when combined. It may be of great importance for the practitioner to know precisely where the pain is. If the pain is coming from, e.g. the side of the knee, it might be beneficial for the practitioner to work using the 12 meridians, and to treat the gallbladder meridian.