Do You Really Need Your Gallbladder?
The order of nature is such that all phenomenon in this universe has a purpose, a place and nothing is wasted. Take the human body for example. All organs, systems and fluids have a particular role to play that is needed, necessary and vital to the functioning of the body. And yet, on occasion, we will be informed by the medical establishment that a certain body part is not necessary, indeed it is actually some quirky oversight of nature, and when removed, said organ will not be missed.
Over the years we have been misinformed that women should not breast feed their babies, that we do not need our tonsils, our spleen, our appendix, or our gallbladders. Ah, yes, the gallbladder, that small, hollow organ attached to the liver and the repository for a powerful digestive acid called bile. During the holidays you don’t want to be without a hefty supply of bile acid, especially when the fat drippings from your brine marinated turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and 4 servings of dessert finally make it to the small intestine. You will need a whole lot of bile acid to help you digest the meal and see you peacefully through the night.
Gallbladder removals amount to half a million each year in the United States. At a cost of $15,000 per surgery that equals a $75,000,000 business for a condition that can often be resolved by a change in diet and a gentle flush of the organ. Typically gallbladders are removed due to gallstones, with cancerous conditions often caused by the offending gallstones. The major foods that trigger a gallstone attack are basically the same foods that can, over time, create gallstones: sugar, eggs, milk, cheese, ice cream, caffeine, chocolate, and fried foods.
Gallstones are the result of a congested liver producing toxic bile. Sediment from the liver settles in the bile and accumulates in the gallbladder, where bile is stored, blocking the bile duct that leads to the duodenum. Eating a whole-foods diet and avoiding foods high in fat is a recommended treatment for first softening gallstones before flushing them from the system. These rubbery, green formations have the appearance of sand, hard pebbles, or a clay consistency. They can stay in your gallbladder for years without you even noticing them; then one day a large stone can become lodged in the bile duct, causing gallstone colic and excruciating pain. Flushing the gallbladder is a simple procedure that leaves the organ intact while washing out the sediment.
Without the gallbladder, there is no longer a holding space to store bile. It continuously runs out of the liver, through the hepatic ducts, into the common bile duct, and directly into the small intestine. Now when a high-fat meal is eaten there is not enough bile available to digest it properly. For some people this can result in chronic diarrhea after eating a fatty meal. Dr. Joseph Mercola M.D. likens the effect to washing greasy dishes without soap and recommends taking a fat digestive enzyme (lipase) to compensate. An important fact is that your small intestine’s ability to absorb essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals is also compromised without the help of the gallbladder.
Interesting to note that Chinese medicine also views the gallbladder as responsible, emotionally, for the ability to make decisions, for wise judgment, as it also helps to moderate reckless behavior. Taken all in all, you may want to take care of your gallbladder and, when considering its removal, first consult a medical practitioner experienced in alternative treatments, one who is not so eager to remove such a necessary and important organ.