The key factor in the development of gallstones is the presence of overnutrition. Refined carbohydrates are a prominent culprit. Refined carbohydrates are abundant in semisynthetic diets, a product of civilization, as are gallstones. In countries taking their food in a natural state, people do not produce gallstones. When fibre is removed from food and it is rendered less bulky, less chewy, sweeter, and more fattening, it is prone to cause saturation of the bile. When the bile becomes saturated it may crystallize certain of the solid materials dissolved in the bile, forming a tiny grain on which other crystals develop to form gallstones.
The use of refined fats is as instrumental in the production of gallstones as are refined carbohydrates. The more fat in a meal the more bile is released, and the more concentrated it is with cholesterol and bile salts. Generally, people eat much more fat than can be taken care of by the one to two ounces of bile stored in the gallbladder. Therefore, more bile must be produced in order to emulsify the fats and accompany them through the wall of the intestine into the bloodstream. The liver is overworked, as the operation of this cycle is quite an energy-consuming.
Symptoms of gallstones include belching, regurgitation of food, and finally obstructive symptoms including pain in the right upper abdominal quadrant with nausea and vomiting. The pain is of a colicky nature, and is often intense and accompanied by severe nausea with active vomiting.
When fibre in the diet is low, cholesterol in the bile goes up. Fibre tends to bind bile salts. It decreases the intestinal transit time of food wastes, and interrupts the enterohepatic circulation of bile as it is brought from the intestine to the blood, to the liver, to the gallbladder, and back to the intestine, increasing the excretion of bile acid with cholesterol bound to the bile acids.
The first step to treat gallstones is to reduce the weight and maintain a normal weight. One can calculate normal weight by allowing 100 pounds for the first 5 feet, and 5 pounds per inch of height thereafter for a woman and 6 to 7 pounds for men, depending on how muscular he is. Since losing weight can slightly increase the ratio of cholesterol to lecithin in the bile, the person losing weight must drink quite a lot of water to keep the bile thin to prevent the precipitation of cholesterol in the first few days of beginning a weight-loss program. Especially one should avoid alternately gaining and losing weight as this significantly increases the risk of forming stones. The more meals are eaten per day the greater the likelihood of getting stones in the gallbladder (The New England Journal of Medicine 288:24-27, 1973). Any kind of surgical procedure can also increase one’s likelihood of getting gallstones. Spicy foods irritate the gallbladder and thereby increase the likelihood of gallstones.
It is necessary to have a free fat diet and decrease the number of rich foods served. One may eat freely fruits and vegetables prepared in a simple way without sugar or fat. One should reduce one’s salt intake since salt is dehydrating many body fluids, including bile. All heavy foods such as meat, milk, eggs, cheese, nuts, wheat germ, margarine, cooking oil, sugar, and salt should be removed immediately until symptoms subside. If one is overweight, sugar, oil, and margarine should be permanently omitted.
Avoid gas-forming foods such as radishes, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, dried beans, sauerkraut, and so forth.
Coffee and candy should be avoided.
Use no fresh bread except for quick bread, as they increase the likelihood of forming gas.
Eating between meals should be forbidden, as well as large meals.
Stay away from drugs that are reported to reduce gallstones as they have unwanted side effects. Oral contraceptives have been reported to increase the likelihood of developing gallstones.
Vitamin C has been reported to reduce the incidence of gallstones. To ensure plenty of vitamin C, something raw should be eaten in each meal.
Physical exercise tends to prevent gallstones.
A hot fomentation over the upper abdomen in persons who have symptoms of gallstones can greatly reduce the pain.
An ice rub over the area of pain can be of great relief. Swelling and inflammation around the bile duct may produce a large portion of the pain, and both heat and cold can help to reduce swelling and promote drainage. They both increase the concentration of white blood cells which move into the area to help eliminate products of inflammation.
An enema is sometimes helpful to relieve gallbladder pain.
The use of catnip (Nepeta cataria) tea can quiet the gastrointestinal tract and the gallbladder.
Milk thistle ( Silybum marianum ). For liver and gallbladder detoxification.
Globe artichoke ( Cynara scolymus ) for optimum liver function.
Turmeric ( Curcuma longa ) is anti-inflammatory.
One should bear in mind that a number of other diseases are also associated with gallstones—cancer of the colon, hiatus hernia, angina pectoris, and coronary heart disease, most of which are benefited or prevented by exercise and a proper diet.
“Healthy Lifestyle Matters in Prevention of Diseases”
For more information contact:
Amazing Natural Medicine
Phone: 44- 756 24 25 749
Silvia Rojas Reyes, N.D., Health & Life Couch
(Specialist in Lifestyle Medicine, Harvard)