The Forgotten Gallbladder

November 17, 2016
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Why you need it and what to do without it.

Americans are finally breaking up with sugar and starting a new love affair with fats. Thankfully a 2014 meta-analysis proved the saturated fat/ heart disease link totally false. Fats are back as a healthy macro nutrient so key for brain health, the elimination of belly fat and the precursor to tissue-like hormones called eicosanoids—which reset hormones, appetite, blood sugar and stress.

So, does this mean you can freely enjoy delicious avocado, extra-virgin olive oil on your salads and veggies, and tons of nuts and seeds with abandon

Not so fast.

You can pack your diet with the right fats, but if your body can’t properly absorb them you simply won’t get their fat blasting, immune boosting, membrane protecting and fuel providing benefits. So, how do you ensure that your system is equipped for such awesome side effects? That responsibility would reside in your body’s fat digesting storage tank—your gallbladder (and more about that in a moment).

You see, your body synthesizes and secretes about 1 ¼ quarts of a thick, greenish-yellow miracle molecule each day and then stores it in your gallbladder. It’s the daily key to absorbing and assimilating fat as well as serving as the toxic waste dump for excess chemicals, hormones, drugs, heavy metals and other toxins that eventually need to be eliminated by the body. And its name is bile.

The Starring Role of Bile

Let’s not forget. Your brain is over 50% fat, your liver is nearly 5 pounds of fat, and your kidneys, retinas and endocrine system are composed of fat. In fact, fat is part of the composition of every cell membrane in your body! Further, aside from nerve cells, every cell in your body uses fat as its primary source of fuel! But, without healthy, unimpeded and free flowing bile your body does not break down the fat-soluble vitamins A, E, D and K to feed every organ, tissue, and cell in your body,

This is where the gallbladder comes in.

Frequently thought of as a needless antiquated organ, gallbladder surgery is not only extremely common, but patients who undergo this removal are all too often unaware of the detrimental consequences this will have on their body. They have lost the main headquarters of bile production, and thus, the ability to properly and efficiently digest and utilize healthy fats or remove toxic hormones and wastes from the system.

Each time you sit down for a meal, you stimulate your gallbladder and prompt it to deliver bile into your small intestine where fat digestion will then take place. With this command center missing, there is nowhere to store the bile and no mechanism to initiate bile flow.

If you’re one of the many without this underappreciated organ, don’t despair. You can successfully utilize fats without a gallbladder, but you must take measures into your own hands. While it is possible to be healthy without a gallbladder, the same can’t be said for living with inadequate bile.

Boost Your Own Production

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who’ve undergone gallbladder removal surgery or have symptoms of poor fat digestion like nausea, bloating, constipation and pale stools, then it’s wise—and might I say even critical—to take supplements that prompt your body to produce bile. To ensure the best quality production you need six specific nutrients: choline, taurine, beet root, pancreatic lipase, ox bile, and collinsonia root.

Here’s what they do:

  • Choline: Assists with fat digestion and is the Rx for fatty liver affecting nearly 50% of us.
  • Taurine: Helps bile to excrete chemicals detoxed by the liver, promotes increased bile acid production and reduces cholesterol levels in the blood and liver.
  • Beet Root: Contains betaine which thins the bile and helps to prevent the formation of gallstones. Betaine is also a rich source of hydrochloric acid which is critical for digestion and triggers the release of bile from the gallbladder.
  • Pancreatic Lipase: Helps breakdown fats as a digestive enzyme.
  • Ox Bile: Provides essential bile salts for those with low bile production or without gallbladders. Bile deficiency is especially common for those over age 60.
  • Collinsonia Root: Removes gallstones and prevents constipation which results from bile salt supplementation. This herb used traditionally for centuries for this purpose.

UNI KEY formulated Bile Builder to contain these six specific bile BFFs and help your body achieve healthy, free-flowing bile.

When it comes to dosage, I always recommend starting small and increasing, if needed. For those with a gallbladder, start with one capsule with each meal. For those without a gallbladder, start with two capsules at each meal.

With or without a gallbladder, do your body a favor and ensure that you’re producing beautiful bile and eating satiating fats that keep you vital. For more info, I would love you to check out my New Fat Flush Plan, which unlike any other diet book takes a missing or malfunctioning gallbladder into consideration in the diet protocols. Do act fast because the 44% off preorder offer ends soon!

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Arielle Hart

    I heard your wonderful interview on the Fat Summit the other day. If I remember correctly, you mentioned that you had a genetic snp that made you less able to digest certain fats. Could you possible share which snp that is. I would like to look it up on my own 23andme report.

    By the way, I do take Bile Builder and think that it’s a great formula.

    Thanks so much!

    • Team ALG

      Arielle, Ann Louise took the test through an Australian company, not with 23andme. She is on the road right now and her report is tucked away. Thank you for your understanding.

  2. Lisa

    Great information. Thank you Ann Louise!

  3. Mariana

    I start taking the Bile Builder 3 weeks ago I feel the difference no more pain after I eat . It’s the only formula works for me and I will be on it from now on because I had my gallbladder removed 7 years ago and the pain and attacs did not go away until now . Love this product Tgank you Ann !

  4. Shasha

    Taurine may dissolve gall stones. No gluten/dairy/soy/sugar/GMO…taking vitamins/good oils/minerals…probiotic…LDN…detoxing may prevent gall and kidney stones and much more. Citrus after eating raw walnuts (open shells to avoid hidden gluten)..may help bile squirt out and help with constipation…help detox. Lecithin may help defat the liver.

  5. Sarah

    If you have your gallbladder, how long should you take bilebuilder? Does it only help your body produce bile as long as you are taking the product?

    • Ann Louise Gittleman

      Hi Sarah : Thank you for your post. Since the product helps in producing or thinning congested bile, the answer to your question really relies on the state of your liver and status of lipotropic nutrients. Most people use a capsule per meal and if diarrhea occurs, it is suggested to cut back to one or two daily, All of this is very individual and you will need to monitor your symptoms and how you react on a daily basis,

  6. Patty

    My understanding is that the Bile Builder is a continuous product and supplies what is missing when you eat fats.

  7. Lissette

    Is this product good to take if you have a low functioning gallbladder. They said mine is functioning at 11% due to a big gallstone. Depending upon what I eat I get pain, otherwise ok. No changes in stool.

  8. Team ALG

    The product should be fine but we would also suggest you pick up a copy of The New Fat Flush Plan which contains a list of the most reactive foods for those with gallstone issues.

    • Linny

      I cannot seem to find the list for the most reactive foods for those with gallstone issues, and would really like to find it. Are you referring to the list of most common food allergens that may have to do with gallbladder issues (on page 60 of The New Fat Flush Plan)? If so, I’ve found that (obviously 🙂 ), but if there is another list someplace in the book, I’d love to know exactly where. I’m slowly reading the whole book myself (I’ve been a “Fat Flusher” for awhile so know the original book well), but am looking to find information specifically related to gallstone issues for a friend of mine.

      • Team ALG

        Linny, you found the best list on page 60, which will be extremely helpful.

      • perla

        Im confused. I want to buy it. Im just 21 years old. I dont have My gallblader anymore can this help me?

        • Team ALG

          Perla, yes the Bile Builder can help you,especially when you don’t have your gallbladder.

  9. Diane

    Thank GOD for your knowledge and work in this area! I had my gallbladder removed about 6 years ago and still have abdominal discomfort (basically the pain I had before my gallbladder was removed still exists and then the GI specialist said “I guess we didn’t need to take out your gallbladder’..oh joy!). I pretty much have extremely loose BMs moments after I eat. I do take some digestive bitters with my meals and the ox bile with some digestive enzymes . I would love to try your product…. please send me the ordering information.

  10. Ann Louise

    Hi There: Thanks for your post and I am confident that Bile Builder will help you . There is a link in the blog near the Uni Key mention. Good luck!

  11. Faye

    I heard you on the Fat Summit and your explanation of Gall Bladder function blew me away. My son had his Gallbladder removed at 18 , badly infected and apparently the effort to remove the gallstones failed.
    He complained about abdominal pain since he was small and no one ever picked up on it, he complained of foot swelling in high school , and says he has had chronic depression since childhood. So he has full blown gout now for years and the alupurines are terrible for his liver.
    These issues all are related according to you to his having no gallbladder.
    I noticed that your supplement says it supplements the gall bladder so does he need all those supplements?
    He already lives dairy free and almost completely legume free.
    Is there anything he needs to be doing along with taking this supplement.
    I always worry about him.

  12. JanP

    Another one here who greatly appreciates your talk on Fat Summit — and a related question: in addition to Bile Builder (which I am now taking), you’d mentioned sunflower lecithin as also helpful in thinning bile — MY QUESTION IS: is there a preference between the liquid lecithin vs granular lecithin for this purpose? (Will be adding it to morning smoothie — granular likely easier to travel with, but if liquid is what makes the magic I’ll find a way if necessary!) Being another without a gallbladder, though functioning generally well (as far as I can tell), I’m hoping this addition will only make things even better when it comes to managing fats (and ridding toxins!) Deeply grateful for any guidance on this issue (liquid vs granular form of lecithin). Thanks for all y’all do!

    • Team ALG

      JanP – lecithin granules work very well, especially in the smoothies. There is not an advantage in using the liquid form.

  13. Eloise Parker

    Will Bile Builder help a person who has no gallbladder for 20 years lose weight?? That is my struggle. I just got over 20 years of diahrrea accidentally because I was having heart palpitations so I started a product called Heart Calm and it happens to have Taurine in it. How many do you take and when?

    • Team ALG

      Eloise, you can start with one Bile Builder with every meal.

  14. Liz

    Hi Ann Louise. I need help. I had my gallbladder removed 25 years ago when I was 21. I knew nothing about it’s purpose. I am trying to incorporate healthy fats in my diet so I’ve been researching a lot. My problem now is diarrhea even though I’ve been taking Bile Builder from Unikey. When I take fiber daily, then the diarrhea is held in check. Anyway, I don’t feel that my body is using the good fats. Do u have any suggestions?

    • Team ALG

      Liz, every body is different. The Bile Builder will help you digest the good fats so your body can use them. If taking fiber is helpful so that you don’t have a problem with diarrhea then you should continue taking it.

  15. Anna Lund

    I am a 42 year old femsle and I had my gallbladder removed a couple of years ago. It runs in my family and my brother even had cancer there before he got his taken out. After the surgery I have trouble with my weight basically it is very hard to lose some pounds and stay there and I now know it i very common for those that lost it. So from what I understand the only solution to solve my continous weight gain is to eat a liver supporting diet for the rest of my life? Also I am worried that I lack d-vitamin. I live in sweden were sunlight is rare during this time of the year. I take extra d-vitamin but since our bodys cant restore it is no meaning?

    • Team ALG

      Anna, your body can use the Vitamin D so it is worth taking it. Be sure it is in a fatty form of drops or capsules to help absorption.

  16. leah davis

    I am 56 I had my gallbladder removed when I was 27. I have never took anything to help digest the good fats. Will it help if I start now?

    • Team ALG

      Leah, yes it will certainly help to take the Bile Builder now.

  17. Annie

    Hi Ann Louise,

    My mother was advised by her doctor to have her gallbladder removed due to stones, she was told that eventually the stone could move and block the passage. I wanted to get information on whether something could be done as far as supplements or diet to help dissolve the stones before it’s too late.
    Thanks you!

    • Team ALG

      Annie, taking Bile Builder will help think the bile and prevent stones including helping to prevent the stones she has from getting bigger.

      • Annie

        Thank you very much for your help. I will let her know so she can get started on the bile builder 🙂

  18. mary

    Hi. I have no gallbladder and i have just started to take ox bile. My reaction if its the bile ox having been having the runs and my poop is greeny black in colour. Is this normal, as i am beginning to worry. Also with doing a high fat low carb diet with a fatty liver. Is that to much fat for the liver to handle.

  19. Jessica

    Hi I am 48 yrs old I just had my gallbladder removed two weeks ago. After researching the web I learned that I may need to take supplements. Now I took it upon myself to search the web and taking the following supplements. Pancreati 350mg, cholin 310mg and enzymedica lypo gold. Will the Bile builder replace all of these? if not, which ones do I still need to continue? Mind you I am eating a low fat diet. T.I.A

  20. Team ALG

    Jessica, the Bile Builder will replace the need for all three of these supplements.

  21. kjlucarelli

    i realize that this is an older post, but I would so love it if y’all could make it easy to print out without all the pictures. I am printing up some information for my Dr, who wants to take my gallbladder out, and you have such great information. On your more recent articles, you have a spot that allows for us to print out without all the “extra”. Anyway you could do same for your older articles?

    • Team ALG

      Thank you for your feedback. We are checking to see what can be done to reformat this.

      • Rand

        I was told that most gallstones can be dissolved naturally with taurine and glycine along with liver herbs. Is this true? Because above you only say the stones won’t grow larger.



  1. The Throwaway Organ You Can’t Live Without – Unusually Healthy - […] Gittleman AL. “The Forgotten Gallbladder,” Ann Louise Gittleman’s official website, November 17, […]
  2. The Throwaway Organ You Can't Live Without – The Natural Health Nut - […] Gittleman AL. “The Forgotten Gallbladder,” Ann Louise Gittleman’s official website, November 17, […]

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