The gallbladder is a three- to four-inch long, pear-shaped organ situated beneath the liver. It stores bile, a digestive fluid produced by the liver, until needed by the digestive system.
Before Having the Gallbladder Removed, Read This
According to the National Institutes of Health, pain from gallstones results in 800,000 hospitalizations and at least 500,000 operations every year. It’s important to acknowledge that the gallbladder performs important roles in digestion. And by removing the gallbladder, digestive health is compromised for the rest of a person’s life, which, in turn, compromises other areas of health as well.
The gallbladder is required in order for the body to efficiently digest dietary fats, including essential fatty acids and vitamin A. Generally, doctors fail to inform patients after a gallbladder removal that they need to take supplements of bile salts every time they eat healthy fats, or else their bodies will not be able to absorb important fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy oils. These patients then suffer from EFA deficiency, with symptoms of impaired nervous system function, irritability, learning problems, heart disease, unstable blood sugar levels and many more problems. The gallbladder enables the body to absorb vitamin A, which is needed for vision. Removing the gallbladder may contribute to blindness. Before having a gallbladder removed, a person would be wise to see a naturopathic doctor for other options. There are serious effects of removing this vital organ, and there are probably other options to avoid to doing so.
Bile is made up of bile salts, electrolytes, bilirubin, cholesterol and other fats. Bile makes the cholesterol, fats and vitamins in fatty foods more soluble for better absorption by the body. Bile salts stimulate the large intestine to secrete water and salts, which help move the intestinal contents out of the body. Bilirubin, a waste product consisting of worn-out red blood cells is excreted in bile, as are the breakdown products of drugs and waste products of the liver. The gallbladder stores bile, and sends up to 90 percent of the water in the bile back into the bloodstream. What remains in the gallbladder is a concentrated solution of bile salts, biliary lipids and sodium.
Gallstones Gallstones are collections of crystals that form in the gallbladder or in the bile ducts. They are more common in women than men. Risk factors include old age, obesity, Western diet and genetic predisposition. An estimated 20 million Americans have gallstones, and one in ten people have gallstones without knowing it, according to Dr. James Balch, author of “Prescription For Nutritional Healing.” In the United States, 20 percent of the people over age 65 have gallstones, but most never experience problems as a result. More than a half million people have their gallbladder removed every year due to gallstones.
Gallstones range from the size of a grain of sand to larger than a pea-sized mass. Seventy-five percent are cholesterol stones and 25 percent are pigment stones (made up of calcium salts.) Bile normally contains large amounts of cholesterol that remains liquid. When bile becomes over-saturated with cholesterol, the cholesterol may become insoluble and precipitate out of the bile, resulting in gallstones. Gallstones in the bile ducts can lead to severe, even life-threatening, infections of the bile ducts, the pancreas or the liver.