Relieve This Terrible Pain Without Surgery.
Considered by many to be more painful than childbirth, gallstones are a common problem in this country. If you experience sudden, intense pain in the upper right abdomen, just under the breastbone, near the right shoulder, or back pain between your shoulder blades, you may have gallstones.
Gallstones can range in size from tiny grains (like sand) to as big as golf balls. Pain can last for several minutes—or up to several hours. Ouch!
While it’s not clear exactly what causes gallstones, doctors think cholesterol is a factor. Normally, bile produced in the liver is able to dissolve the cholesterol this organ excretes. But when bile contains more cholesterol than it can dissolve, this fat can form crystals that eventually form hard stones.
If the gallbladder (a small, pear-shaped organ on the right side of the abdomen) doesn’t empty correctly, bile may also become too concentrated, contributing to the formation of gallstones. And new research links gallstones to food allergies.
The top 3 foods that can cause gallstones? Eggs (a common allergen), pork, and onions lead to gallbladder symptoms, reports researcher Alan R. Gaby, MD. Removing these foods from the diet for just one week can bring relief from gallbladder pain—and prevent unnecessary surgery.
Women, people 60 or over, and anyone who’s pregnant, overweight, or obese are at risk for gallstones. Other contributing factors include diabetes, eating a high-fat (especially a high cholesterol) diet, not getting enough fiber, losing weight very quickly, and certain medications, particularly cholesterol-lowering drugs and hormone (estrogen) replacement therapy.
Dr. Ann Louise’s Take:
As early as 1941, research has linked food allergies to gallbladder problems. The surprising failure of mainstream medicine to recognize the role allergies play in gallstones has led to numerous—and unnecessary surgeries.
Research in Alternative Medicine Review also shows that people with untreated celiac disease have a gallbladder-emptying defect. The good news is that a gluten-free diet can reverse this problem.
Anyone with celiac disease or gluten allergies needs to cut out barley, rye, and wheat, as well as flour or myriad other processed foods that contain these grains. Instead, look for gluten-free flours and products made with almonds, amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, chickpeas and other beans, corn, lentils and other legumes, peanuts, potatoes, quinoa, and rice.
Other allergens implicated in gallbladder disease and gallstones include coffee, milk, poultry, and oranges. And refined sugar—like fructose or sucrose—has been linked to gallstones.
While the cholesterol in gallstones is different from blood cholesterol levels, it’s important to avoid saturated and trans fat. Healthy monounsaturated fat (like olive oil) and polyunsaturated fat (like flaxseed or walnut oil) appear to lower the risk for painful gallstones. The Nurses’ Health Study finds that women who ate five or more ounces of nuts weekly had a lower risk.
Added Gallbladder Support
Safe weight loss plans like Fat Flush (as opposed to crash or yo-yo diets) is a terrific way to “love your liver” and protect your gallbladder—from adolescence on. In addition to eating more fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, the amino acid taurine supports both organs.
Japanese research finds that taurine inhibits gallstone formation, probably due to decreased cholesterol in the liver. And a recent Chinese study shows that this amino acid also protects against liver damage.
That’s why I personally recommend Liver-Lovin’ Formula, a unique blend of taurine, artichoke (a well-known liver healer that boosts bile production), and chlorophyll (rich in magnesium to further enhance detoxification). It’s a cleansing boost that also kick starts metabolism and weight loss.
Several other supplements can help too. The study in Alternative Medicine Review suggests vitamin C, iron, and lecithin to prevent gallstones, for example.
A Real Pain, Even for Kids
Until recently relatively rare in children, gallstones are a new cause of abdominal pain in children and teens, many of whom have undiscovered food allergies and sensitivities. Always try an elimination diet with your child before considering surgery.
Given the increase in overweight and obesity among America’s young people, I’m not surprised that they are also increasingly developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, the most common liver problem in this country.