Gall Bladder Disease

What is Gall Bladder Disease?

The gall bladder is nothing more than a storage bag for the bile (also called gall) that you produce in your liver. When a meal you've eaten, containing some fat, enters the small intestine, the gall bladder springs into action, squirting some bile down the bile duct and into the intestine where it combines with the dietary fat, making it easier for you to absorb. Without the bile, much of the fat would pass through and cause a fatty diarrhea. When the gall bladder functions normally, your digestion proceeds happily.

Gall Bladder DiseaseProblems occur, because sometimes the bile becomes very thick, like sludge, and won't pass down the duct as it should. Because bile contains a high amount of cholesterol, when it sits and thickens, or when the cholesterol content becomes too high in the bile, some of the cholesterol "crystals" can fall out of the solution. As these "crystals" group together, they form "stones" of cholesterol and bile salts. The stones fill up the gall bladder and impair its function. Now when the call comes for the gall bladder to spring into action, it squeezes down on a bunch of rocks and it hurts—this is gall bladder colic or a gall bladder attack. Once these stones have formed, and the gall bladder no longer can work properly, surgery usually is the only reliable cure. Fortunately, nowadays surgery can often be done using a laparoscope (a lighted flexible magnifying periscope), allowing the surgeon to operate through a tiny incision. You recover, following this kind of gall bladder surgery, in terms of days, not weeks.

But what if you just have sludge and poor gall bladder function, or if gall bladder disease runs in your family, or you are a member of the group most likely to develop gall bladder problems: overweight, female, over 40, multiple children or have taken birth control pills? Can nutrition, vitamins, or minerals help you before you develop stones? Let's see in Gall Bladder Disease diet.

What makes Gall Bladder Disease worse?

• The people of Chile and the North American Indians suffer gall stones more often than any other people. These two populations also rely on legumes as a major source of food. Studies conducted to try to find a connection indeed proved that a diet high in legumes may reduce the ability of the bile to hold the cholesterol in solution, allowing it to fall out as crystals that lead to stone formation. Recommendation: If you are at risk for gall bladder disease, limit your intake of legumes (dried beans, field peas, and lentils), eating them only occasionally and in small amounts.

•  High intake of sugar causes the development of gall stones, probably because it leads to an increase in the body's production of cholesterol. Recommendation: Sharply reduce or totally eliminate your intake of sugar and all foods and beverages prepared with it.

• Gall Bladder DiseaseDevelopment of gall stones occurs more readily on a diet too rich in polyunsaturated fats than one of saturated (animal) fat, although you would be best served to limit intake of all kinds of fat to no more than 35% of calories. For reasons that are unclear to us, in testing, fats that are solids at room temperature (butter, lard, margarine) provoke less spasm of the gall bladder caused by sludge (or stones) than fats that are liquid at room temperature. Recommendation: Try not to overeat fats of any kind, and try to eat foods that provide a mixture of fats and oils: butter, margarine, olive oil, canola oil, fish oil.

• When you have gall stones, drinking coffee can trigger a gall bladder attack. Recommendation: Don't drink more than a single cup of coffee per day if you know you have stones.

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