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Hello all

Have you listened to any of the presentations?  There is one all about the gallbladder and bile health, which I would urge you to read.  Many of us have a sluggish bile flow and either have had our gallbladder removed, or don´t realise how “stagnant” it may become, both of which can impact our elimination of toxins.

The gallbladder may be the linchpin to many persistent health issues as your gallbladder impacts your wellbeing more than you probably imagined.  The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped pouch located below the liver on the right side of the abdomen. Its main function is to store and concentrate bile, a yellowish-brown digestive enzyme synthesised by the liver, which aids in smooth digestion.

Many have a low bile production due to sluggish and weakened livers. With this the liver has to curb bile acid production because it has so many other critical functions to perform, so it will provide just enough, but almost operate at 50% capacity. A healthier liver produces stronger bile and more of it which supports effective toxin elimination.

After a meal, bile is released from the gallbladder into the intestine. Bile acids contained in bile are critical for fat digestion. They break down fats into smaller constituents so it can be absorbed. After that job is completed, bile is recycled through the blood back to storage in the gallbladder. Our body recovers ninety-five percent of bile acids from the bowel content.

WEIGHT STAGNATION: Bile salts break down fats, so adequate bile is required for processing fats and, as such, are essential for weight loss.

DRY HAIR; SKIN & NAILS: Bile helps the intestines absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Fat soluble vitamins, like vitamins A, D, E and K can only be broken down in the body if there is adequate bile.

STONE FORMATION: If bile is not continually being produced and flowing, cholesterol stones can result.

Unfortunately, one of the most common ailments affecting this organ is gallstones, also known as cholelithiasis. Gallstones are hardened lumps of bile that form in the gall bladder, primarily caused by high cholesterol levels in bile or other factors such as excess bilirubin or improper bile drainage.

The gallbladder can be linked to exhaustion, persistant gut and skin issues, food and chemical sensitivities, too much oestrogen, thyroid malfunction.

The gallbladder has the following jobs:

Stores bile produced by the liver

Condenses the bile for effective use in digestion (the longer it sits in the gallbladder the more concentrated it becomes)

Adjust pH for bile as needed

Releases pH specific bile to assist in neutralizing stomach acid whtn food passes into the small intestine.

Sends bile to breakdown fat and proteins so the digestive enzymes can go to work.

Maintains bile composition for effective vitamin absorption.

Gallstone formation can be attributed to several factors, especially prevalent in women. These include:

  1. Hormonal Changes: The use of contraceptive pills, hormone replacement therapy for menopause symptoms, or pregnancy can contribute to gallstone formation.
  2. Fasting: Irregular fasting or skipping meals can cause bile to stagnate and crystallize in the gallbladder.
  3. Gall Bladder Malfunction: If the gallbladder fails to drain out bile into the intestines correctly, it can lead to stone formation.
  4. High Cholesterol Levels: Excess cholesterol in the bile released by the liver can promote the development of gallstones, as bile usually separates and helps in the proper functioning of the liver and other digestive organs.
  5. Bilirubin Imbalance: Conditions like cirrhosis of the liver and certain blood disorders can cause the liver to produce more bilirubin than necessary, leading to gallstone formation.
  6. Thickened Bile: In case the gallbladder releases excessively thick bile, it can contribute to the formation of stones.
  7. Weight Imbalance: Both being overweight or underweight can lead to gallbladder malfunctions and the appearance of gallstones.

Symptoms of Gallbladder Stones

Gallstones can cause various symptoms, with pain being the most common one. Pain typically occurs in the upper right abdomen, back, and shoulder and may intensify after consuming fatty or deep-fried foods. Other symptoms include:

  1. Dark Urine
  2. Clay-colored Stools
  3. Abdominal Pain
  4. Burping
  5. Diarrhea
  6. Jaundice (Yellowish tint in the skin or eyes)
  7. Nausea or Vomiting
  8. Recurring Pain below the Right Rib Cage after eating.
  9. Ache between the shoulder blades
  10. High Fever with Chills
  11. Indigestion, Heartburn, and Gas

When bile slows down, stomach acid lowers and food is not processed properly.  This also means that pathogens (virus/bacteria) can more easily enter the body which would usually not bypass the stomach acidity.

The likelihood of acid reflux increased because there is NOT ENOUGH stomach acid to trigger the oesophagel sphincter to close.  You are also more likely to experience an increase in dysbiosis of bacteria in the small intestine.

Furthermore, fats, calcium and fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) are less effectively absorbed leading to a wide range of symptoms such as brain fog and even osteoporosis.

The following environmental factors contribute to gallbladder congestion:

  • Herbicides & pesticides
  • Prescription drug use
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Synthetic personal care products
  • Industrial toxins
  • Rancid oils
  • Processed foods
  • Mould

How to help your gallbladder and bile flow:

Eating bitters first (rocket leaves, lemon juice and radish) or apple cider vinegar in water, eating mindfully and chewing food well, giving time to relax with your meal will all help with digestive capabilities.

The use of bitter herbs such as choleretics and cholagogues, may help to increase both the production and flow of bile, and also support the healthy resorption of bile.

Drinking plenty of water helps flush out toxins and maintains the bile fluid. At least 8 glasses of warm or lukewarm water daily.

Eating light and easily digestible foods, rich in fibre, vitamin C, calcium, and B vitamins, is advised (AKE Cleanse protocol 😊 ).

Avoid high fat foods.

Exercise regularly

You can avoid gallstones by stimulating bile production, dissolving stones, improving digestion, reducing inflammation, and detoxifying the liver and gallbladder. Some of the effective herbs include:

  1. Turmeric: This choleretic herb increases bile secretion, prevents cholesterol stone formation, and protects the liver and gallbladder from damage.
  2. Ginger: Another choleretic herb that stimulates the gallbladder and liver functions, improves digestion, and reduces nausea and vomiting.
  3. Garlic: A cholagogue herb that contracts the gallbladder to expel excess bile and stones into the intestines, while also possessing antibacterial and antiviral properties.
  4. Dandelion: Acts as both a cholagogue and choleretic herb, cleansing the liver and gallbladder, stimulating bile flow, and dissolving stones.
  5. Milk thistle: A choleretic herb that protects your liver and gallbladder from oxidative stress and inflammation, and helps to lower cholesterol levels in bile.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is cholagogue, which means it stimulates bile production in the liver.  Be careful with amounts if you do not have a gallbladder.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) is a knobby root native to Southeast Asia, and it has a spicy, earthy taste. It’s well-known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities.  Ginger is also shown to possess antimicrobial, anticancer, anti-hyperlipidemic, analgesic, and anti-allergic effects.  It can also help increase bowel movement.

How to Use Ginger

Ginger can be purchased as both a fresh root and ground spice. Most recipes measure the fresh root in terms of inches, and though the papery, brown skin can be consumed, it can be peeled for a better texture. One of the easiest ways to peel ginger is with a spoon, which removes only the outermost layer and may be safer than using a peeler on small roots. Dry, ground ginger can be swapped for fresh, though the dry form tends to be more potent and spicier.

Ginger pairs well with other pungent herbs and spices like garlic and black pepper, as well as herbs with a refreshing aroma like lemongrass and kefir lime. This spice is versatile and pairs well with sweet or savory dishes.

Here are some suggestions for incorporating ginger into your diet:

  • Make ginger tea to ease stomach aches, gas, nausea, and congestion
  • Incorporate ginger powder into turmeric milk
  • Add peeled, fresh ginger to smoothies or juice it with fruits and vegetables
  • Use fresh ginger in stir fries, curries, and marinades
  • Make a spicy salad dressing or carrot soup with fresh ginger
  • Include powdered ginger in baked goods like banana bread and blueberry muffins (outside of the cleanse 😉 )
  • Use fresh ginger in a facial steam for coughs and congestion

Ginger has a wide variety of uses, but its antioxidant activity can be affected by cooking method. While cooking sometimes decreases the antioxidant activity of ginger, methods like stir frying, blanching, and stewing may retain or even increase antioxidant activity. Dried ginger may have increased antioxidant activity.

Fresh ginger should be firm to the touch and can be stored at room temperature before peeling. After cutting or peeling, store ginger in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Discard fresh ginger that is wrinkled, feels soft, or has a blue-grey discoloration. Be sure to check the cut ends of fresh ginger for any discoloration, which could be mold. Fresh ginger becomes less pungent over time, and it may be best to use it within 3 weeks of purchase.

To maintain the highest quality ground ginger, it may be best to use it within 6 months. If ground ginger becomes clumped or caked, it should be replaced as moisture has likely been introduced to the product and can contribute to harmful mycotoxins. Always portion ground ginger to a separate container before using it with steaming dishes to minimize exposure to moisture. Preferably, choose glass jars rather than plastic as these are a non-toxic alternative and more airtight compared to plastic. Store the spice in a cool and dark place.

Safety Concerns and Final Words

Consuming more than 6g of ginger can cause digestive issues like reflux, heartburn, and diarrhoea, and high doses of ginger may interact with warfarin.

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