Could One Nutrient Save Your Gallbladder?

Steve Kroening, ND
September 12, 2018


Has your doctor told you it’s time to remove your gallbladder? More and more people are walking around without a gallbladder because this is conventional medicine’s answer to gallbladder disease. However, you don’t have to lose your gallbladder. But it might surprise you to find out that to keep it, you have to pay more attention to your liver. Here’s why....

As we discussed last week, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can lead to many health problems, including cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke. But it can also lead to high cholesterol, constipation, and severe gallbladder problems.

In fact, letting your liver deteriorate into disease can have a dramatic impact on your gallbladder. People with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease have a much higher prevalence of gallbladder disease.

Not too long ago, Mark showed me some pictures of his gallbladder. It was obvious he had severe gallbladder disease. He had suffered with it for at least a couple years. The pain in his abdomen was tremendous at times. He felt lethargic most of the time. And he was hardly able to function.

I had told him a couple of times to flush his gallbladder, but he never really considered it. Fasting seemed to help, which was indicative of toxic build-up. And it was clear his liver was stressed.

He called me really worried a few weeks ago. He was in the emergency room and the doctor was telling him he needed to have his gallbladder taken out.

Having your gallbladder out can relieve a lot of the problems the infection is causing. This is why so many people opt for the surgery. Mark did just that. It’s effective and it brings fast relief, as it did for Mark. The problem is that there can be complications, and your diet will have to change.

The pictures told the entire story. There were clear pictures of infection. Gray and black tissue was covering the organ. The gallbladder wasn’t the nice pink color of healthy tissue. He said, “There’s no way a flush would have fixed this.” I said, “It depends. If the flush removes the cause of the infection, it could fix the problem and you could have saved your gallbladder. But if it didn’t remove it, then you’re right.”

Oftentimes, a liver and gallbladder flush will remove anything that’s causing the gallbladder to become infected. If there are valve issues, it might not help. But the most common cause of gallbladder infection is gallstones. And a flush can remove these. So in the vast majority of gallbladder cases, surgery is not necessary! You can save your gallbladder and experience rapid relief from the symptoms simply by doing a gallbladder flush.

What’s more, a gallbladder flush can help clean up the liver. While it won’t fix fatty liver disease, it can help remove toxins that are hindering the liver from working efficiently. The book The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse: An All-Natural, At-Home Flush to Purify and Rejuvenate Your Body by Andreas Moritz has a simple flush that really can work miracles.

But here’s what most people don’t realize about gallbladder issues. Once you do the flush or have the gallbladder removed, you have to continue to treat the liver to make sure it’s functioning at its most optimum levels. If you still have your gallbladder, a healthy liver will help keep it clean and free from infection. If you don’t have your gallbladder, you’re far more likely to have issues with your liver. Your risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease goes up significantly. So it’s vital you take care of your liver.

A Powerful Liver Nutrient From the Mediterranean

Last week, I showed you three nutrients that can help your liver stay healthy. Alpha-lipoic acid, milk thistle (silymarin), and selenium are powerful liver nutrients that can help you overcome fatty liver disease. But don’t stop with these. There's another nutrient that’s extremely important for your liver. Like milk thistle, this is an extract from the Mediterranean region. And it can work wonders on your liver – and your gallbladder.

Most people don’t realize the connection between cholesterol and gallbladder disease. Drugs that lower your cholesterol levels can increase the amount of cholesterol secreted into bile. This can dramatically increase the risk of gallstones. And with more gallstones, there’s a higher risk of disease. So if you’re on a statin, be aware of your gallbladder health.

But that’s not all. Bile is made in the liver out of cholesterol. The more bile your liver makes, the more cholesterol it takes out of circulation. If your liver isn’t producing enough bile, it means that your body isn’t removing enough cholesterol. So, if you have cholesterol problems, begin to take steps to ensure better bile production.

When your liver doesn’t produce enough bile, cholesterol remains in the body and becomes rancid. This is what leads to oxidized LDL cholesterol. I’ve told you in the past how dangerous oxidized LDL is. Cholesterol, as you may know, is a fat. And it's a fat that your body requires to function properly. However, your body doesn’t need oxidized fat.

There are many natural extracts that can prevent cholesterol from oxidizing. These include apple peel extract and green tea extract. But now researchers have found another extract that can prevent oxidation like these others.

The study looked at the ability of artichoke extract to prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol. The researchers said the extract “retarded LDL oxidation in a dose-dependent manner.” In other words, the more you take, the better it works. The researchers found that the concentrated extract was more effective than just the artichoke food, which makes sense since the more you get the better it works.

Artichoke leaf extract is a potent “cholagogic” herb, which means it stimulates the production and secretion of bile. This is largely due to the artichoke’s cinarin content. Cinarin is a unique phytochemical that gives artichokes their semi-sweet taste.

But artichokes also contain silymarin, the phenol compound that I told you about last month. This compound is a powerful liver protector. Silymarin is also found in milk thistle, giving it this same characteristic.

However, artichoke leaf extract does a lot more than help control cholesterol levels and prevent oxidized LDL. When you take 400 mg, three times daily in combination with milk thistle extract (400 mg, two times a day), alpha-lipoic acid (200 mg, two times a day), and selenium (200 mcg, two times a day), it can fight the severe liver disease hepatitis C.

Other Symptoms of Low Bile Production

If you’re not producing enough bile, you could have any of these symptoms:

  • Indigestion, irregular bowel movement, bloating, bitter taste in mouth, light colored stools, or Candida symptoms. A good yeast removal program along with artichoke leaf extract can completely wipe out IBS (more on artichoke leaf extract and IBS in a moment).

  • Vitamin deficiency especially vitamin D. Vitamin D is fat soluble, and without bile, which breaks down fat, you cannot absorb this vitamin. Suspect long-term insufficiency if you have osteoporosis.

  • Presence of gallstones. They are nothing else but the end result of super-concentrated bile, which never made it to the intestines.

  • Skin or vaginal itching: bile that did not descend to the gallbladder will irritate skin.

  • Environmental sensitivities. Liver detoxifies chemicals. These end up in the bile. Insufficient bile results in insufficient detoxification and over-sensitivity to the environment.

  • Thick blood and excessive clotting. Vitamin E is a natural blood thinner. Vitamin E requires bile for absorption.

Fortunately, the cynarin in artichoke leaf extract increases the manufacture of bile. If bile amounts increase, the cholesterol within the gallbladder is easily dissolved, completely blocking gallstone formation. The cynarin can also dissolve any current gallstones, relieving stomach pain, heartburn, bloating, nausea, and vomiting associated with the stones. Many of the clinical experiments using artichoke leaf extract found that more than half of the individuals treated with artichoke leaf extract had these symptoms disappear within two weeks.

Since artichoke leaf extract can dissolve and prevent gallstones, the primary cause of gallbladder infection, it can effectively save your gallbladder from surgery! And that’s just the beginning.

Wipe Out Constipation With This Simple Food-Supplement Combination

In addition to fighting liver disease and dissolving gallstones, artichoke leaf extract can also solve chronic constipation. But to do this, you need to take it with a good probiotic.

In a small study, a research group followed eight subjects. They gave each of them six ounces of artichokes enriched with probiotics. They found that the combination “markedly” improved symptoms. This included helping with distention and feelings of incomplete evacuation.

Why do the artichokes work better with probiotics? Artichokes, and other vegetables, might provide a better environment for the beneficial bacteria to help your digestive tract.

Get Rid of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Other Gastrointestinal Problems

As I mentioned earlier, artichoke leaf extract can work wonders for people who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In a rather impressive study, researchers found that artichoke leaf extract can significantly reduce the symptoms of IBS.

In this study, a group of patients with IBS took capsules of artichoke leaf extract for six weeks. It significantly reduced the severity of all of their symptoms. An amazing 96% of the patients rated artichoke leaf as better than or at least equal to the medications their doctor gave them.

Another study looked at the effects of artichoke leaf in 553 people with different kinds of gastrointestinal symptoms. The average age of the patients was 54.7 years. Each person had suffered for about three years prior to taking the artichoke leaf. The average period of use was only 43.5 days.

The researchers found some striking results. They discovered:

  • 71% of those complaining of constipation found relief

  • 68% of those with persistent gas (flatulence) improved

  • 72% of those who regularly experienced loss of appetite found improvement using artichoke leaf extract

  • 76% had their intestinal cramps relieved

  • 88% of those with frequent nausea and vomiting improved

Artichoke leaf was also effective in a double-blind study of people with indigestion from various causes. But it was particularly helpful to those with indigestion caused from insufficient bile.

Since most of us don’t eat an abundance of artichokes – especially not enough to prevent LDL oxidation, liver disease, and gallbladder disease, it’s important to find a good artichoke leaf extract. You can find artichoke extract at most health food stores and online.


J Clin Gastroenterol, 2010 May 20.

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