Gallbladder Disease

I have noticed a disturbing trend among our young people. I know many with gall bladder disease and others who have had their gall bladders removed. I am 62 and have all of my original parts with the exception of my tonsils. Discovering that so many very young people are in this predicament is very troubling, so I felt compelled to write this article.

There are many adult maladies that are affecting children now due to bad dietary practices that result in obesity and an avalanche of associated health problems. Discrimination against overweight children leads to psychological problems that in times past, were rare in children. Depression and anxiety are more common in children than ever before. Hyperlipidemia, hypertension and abnormal glucose tolerance occur with increased frequency among obese children and adolescents. (1) Obesity is now the most prevalent nutritional disease in children. Children are now being diagnosed with what was once called “Adult Onset Diabetes” which is caused by obesity, living a sedentary lifestyle, bad diet and at one time, increasing age. Gallbladder disease in children is becoming more common and is associated with obesity.

Bile is made by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. The gall bladder adds bile to food as it enters the small intestine to help break down fats. Keeping the gallbladder healthy is very important for digestion and preventing gallstones and possibly cancer. Up to 4 out of 5 people with gallbladder cancer also have gallstones when they are diagnosed. Gallstones are the most common risk factor for gallbladder cancer. (2)

The health of the gallbladder is directly linked to what we eat. The guidelines for a healthy gallbladder are as follows: (3)

1-High plant intake-Eating a wide variety of plant foods can help to supply a broad range of nutrients for the body.

2-Lean protein-Excessively fatty meats can put added stress on the gallbladder. Make sure that all of your protein sources are lean.

3-Fiber-Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive system. Various types can keep you satiated so you are less likely to over eat. It also feeds healthy bacteria in the gut and adds bulk to the stool to assist the body in toxin removal.

4-Healthful fats-Polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3’s are recommended to help keep the gallbladder healthy and reduce the risk of gallbladder disease. These fats are found in cold water fish, nuts, seeds and fish oil or flax seed oil.

5-Coffee-Drinking coffee appears to help keep the gallbladder healthy.

6-Calcium-Increasing calcium in the diet can help the gallbladder. Calcium is in dark, leafy greens, sardines and broccoli.

Dairy products are a rich source of calcium but some have a lot of saturated fat. Choose some plant milks and lower fat options when choosing dairy.

7-Vitamin C-People with higher Vitamin C levels experience less gallbladder disease. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, potatoes and tomatoes. Eat up.

There are also foods that can contribute to gallbladder disease.

1-Refined carbohydrates-Don’t eat sugar in any form. Refined carbs also include flour, refined grains and simple starches such as those found in baked goods like cookies and cakes. They are also found in candy, chocolate, soft drinks and battered and fried foods.

2-Excessive fats such as trans fats, hydrogenated oils, fried foods and fatty cuts of meat can also be a problem.

To improve gallbladder health:

1-Control obesity

2-Avoid rapid weight loss because it works the liver and gallbladder very hard and can lead to gallstones. Slow weight loss is always best.

3-Avoid food allergens. Get tested if you believe that you have food allergies and avoid the culprits.

4-QUIT SMOKING. Tobacco smoke can contribute to stones and cancer.

We are given one body with one set of the organs we need to live a long, healthy life. Start now and protect your gallbladder. If you notice, these same strategies will protect the rest of your body. We must be accountable to ourselves and be proactive concerning our health. In today’s world people are too quick to accept disease and dysfunction as the norm. Our bodies and all of our parts were meant to last a lifetime. Take care and enjoy the benefits of extreme self care and good health. Your future is in your hands.




9 Comments Add yours

  1. David Yochim says:

    Its truly sad to see so many young people, children, with ailments that are entirely preventable with proper diet and exercise.

    1. Brenda Sue says:

      Yes, David! It really bothers me because a lot of it is avoidable.

  2. Jen Haldeman says:

    I had a suspected gallbladder attack a few months ago, and my doctor said it can be a problem after a large weight loss and eating low fat, which I thought was interesting. I wonder if that’s brought on by the body adjusting after weight loss? Or filtering out all the junk in your system while losing? Great info as always in this post! Thanks!

    1. Brenda Sue says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Jen! I eat full fat foods but don’t eat extremely fatty cuts of meat. I have always lost weight very slowly and have never had gallbladder disease. It’s sometimes associated with fast weight loss.

    2. David Yochim says:

      Hi Jen,
      First, it’s great to hear from you. Thank you so much for still following and for your comment.

      I certainly cannot speak specifically on your gallbladder attack as we do not know all the specifics of your diet. While our bodies require fat for proper absorption of nutrients through our small intestine, a low fat diet is the norm for one with gallbladder issues. A low fat diet essentially gives the gallbladder a break from producing and secreting bile.

      However, one problem during weight loss is the liver secretes excess cholesterol into your bile which along with salts can become concentrated and result in the formation of gallstones. Ironically, while a low fat diet is the norm for gallstones and other issues with the gallbladder, there is also a school of thought that by consuming a very low fat diet, the gallbladder becomes less active and essentially does not cleanse itself often enough by secreting bile that has concentrated.

      This medical issue is truly one for your physician as we are not doctors. The right amount of fats and other macronutrients may need to be exact for you. Also know that while we fully endorse intermittent fasting, some with health issues might want to avoid it as it can slow down the gallbladder. This can especially be an issue for those who have have stomach procedures to facilitate weight loss

      1. Jen Haldeman says:

        Thanks for your knowledge! You explained that in much more detail than my doctor did. (Plus made it easy to understand.) I’ve had tests done and have ruled out any stones, and all of the organs are working how they should. I have heard that gallbladder removal is very common in the WLS community. Currently fighting insurance to get my lap band taken out and my body can stop reacting to having a foreign object in it. Otherwise I’m good!
        Thanks to you both!

      2. David Yochim says:

        I’m glad to have helped Jen. Problems with our internal organs can be complicated issues. Sometimes we can look at an issue and its readily obvious how dietary habits or needs can help. But as with the gallbladder there can be multiple schools of thought on what’s best. Sometimes we can do what appears to be everything right in regards to diet, hydration and exercise just to find ourselves blindsided such I was recently with a huge kidney stone.

      3. Jen Haldeman says:

        Ouch! I hope you’re feeling better after that; how painful!

      4. David Yochim says:

        Much better now, thank you.

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