Surprising Secret, Allergies Are Linked to Gallstones

December 2, 2009
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

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.

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 the combination of Bile Builder and Liver-Lovin’ Formula, which contains 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. This is another concern that supplementing with choline (also found in Bile Builder) can make a huge difference to resolve.



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. Ruth

    My mother recently had gallbladder surgery. Her gallbladder had a lot of stones, I saw the pictures. She is almost 85, takes a few meds, but has been otherwise very healthy all her life. No one gave her any post surgery suggestions. Is there anything that she should be doing to protect or heal at this post surgery point?
    Also, I ordered Fat Flush from Unikey and it never arrived.

  2. Ann

    Can someone who has had their gallbladder removed take the liver-lovin formula?

  3. AnnLouiseGittleman

    Ruth: Call UNI KEY at 1-800-888-4353 to check on your order.
    Ann: Absolutely. I recommend Liver-Lovin all the time for someone who has had their gallbaldder removed. I also think that the Weight Loss Formula (many fat-metabolizing nutrients) is important.

  4. EJ

    I’ve been having GB pain for a few years and after ultrsound and CT scan, they say “no stones”. So what’s causing all this pain? Maybe it’s biliary dyskinesia. Is the treatment for this discorder the same as treating stones? I really don’t want to have it removed. I want to fix the problem. I’m using Dandelion and Peppermint tea and some other natural remedies for liver and GB including Chlorella. Not sure if I’m barking up the wrong tree since I don’t have stones and the only “remedy” I’ve seen for the dyskinesia is removal.

    • Suzanne

      I had biliary dyskinesia and yes they removed my gallbladder last week 😊



  6. Iris

    I’m the example of the opposite. I had acute cholecystitis that caused a severe infection.
    I never liked meat and fat foods. I have always had a healthy, high fibre diet. No processed food, lots of fruits, nuts and vegetables, and have no food allergies. I am young, active, go to the gym 3-4 x a week, ideal weight, no dieting and weight fluctuation, very low cholesterol, no medical problems, no allergies of any kind.


    I have a history of seasonal allergies, allergy asthma, and allergy bronchitis. Then in my forties had my gall bladder removed due to stones. Must be related due to immune system, premenopausal horomones, and endrocrine system.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This