Your liver performs over 500 functions including detoxification, excreting and burning fat, protein synthesis, producing bile to aid in digestion and emulsifying fats. The liver filters, regulates and stores blood. Your liver is an important organ for metabolism and hormone regulation, including thyroid and cortisol breakdown.

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that is located directly beneath the liver. It is one of the most important organs in the body aiding to digest fat by producing and storing bile  (a compound of cholesterol). Your gallbladder functions to process cholesterol, clean all tissues, digest fats, and enhance brain function. The gallbladder’s job of storing and emptying bile is dependent on the liver (it’s paired organ) ensuring a smooth flow of Qi (energy).

When you eat too many fried foods, sugar, grains and processed junk food, bile can become saturated with cholesterol causing the cholesterol to form solid crystals, accumulating into stones. A sluggish, congested liver is often associated with gallstones.

Many doctors recommend gallbladder removal when gallstones are present, however be informed: gallbladder removal comes with consequences and will set you up for lifelong digestive problems and a much higher likelihood of being overweight. Nearly 500,000 gallbladders are removed annually! Surgery is not a walk in the park either with 40 percent of postcholecystectomy patients still having symptoms of nausea, pain, gas, bloating, IBS, scarring andfood intolerance afterwards.

Once the gallbladder is removed, the ability to store bile in the gallbladder is lost, and bile continually flows through the bile ducts into the small intestine. In addition, the ability to dissolve, digest and absorb dietary fat is drastically reduced. When the gallbladder is removed, it can place more stress on the liver.

Food sensitivities cause more than 99.9% of all gallbladder attacks. According to one of my mentors, Jonathan Wright, M.D. 93 percent are allergic, sensitive or intolerant to eggs (specifically the egg white). It’s important to identify and avoid foods you’re sensitive/allergic to and keep your gallbladder! Those with gallbladder dysfunction, including those who have have had their gallbladder removed are almost always intolerant to wheat and gluten and do best avoiding these the remainder of their lives.

Chinese Meridian ClockAccording to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), specific organs have a two hour time period when the Qi (energy) is at its peak in that meridian. The gallbladder meridian is most active between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. The liver meridian is most active between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.  Consistently waking during these hours is an indication that the gallbladder or liver is out of balance. When the energy of a meridian is not flowing well due to a block such as unhealthy eating, toxic overload or stress, you’ll experience a sign or symptom from the meridian(s) involved.

Pre-disposing factors to consider with gallstones and gallbladder dysfunction include diets high in sugar, wheat, processed carbs, hydrogenated & trans fats, fried foods, fructose and dairy; hormonal imbalances (thyroid, ovarian); obesity; hypochlorhydria; insufficient water intake; insufficient fiber; folate and B12 deficiencies; food sensitivities; bottled-up emotions (anger, frustration, resentment), Crohn’s, diabetes, and constant runny nose, which often indicates a need for bile salts.

As you can see from the lengthy list above, the healing protocol will vary depending on each individual’s unique biochemistry.

Symptoms of Impaired Bile Flow and Gallbladder Dysfunction

  * Pain over eyes; Headaches * Gas; Bloating * Bitter taste in mouth
  * Sticky coating on tongue (right side) * Pain along the  ITBand

* Pain between shoulder blades

  * Inability to tolerate fatty foods * Hypochlorhydria * Dizziness; Nervousness

  * Pain in web between right thumb & forefinger when pressure is applied

* Cramping at 4th toe, knees and thighs

* Blurred vision; Cataracts; Glaucoma
  * Wakening between 11pm and 1am

Pre-disposing factors to consider with liver problems include diabetes; viral infection of the liver (hepatitis); alcoholism; overfed and undernourished; malnutrition; exposure to chemicals; heavy metal toxicity; recreational, OTC or prescription drug abuse; excess consumption of fructose, trans fats, repressed anger and prolonged stress.

As you can see from the lengthy list above, the healing protocol will vary depending on each individual’s unique biochemistry.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease in the U.S. One-third of the population suffers from NAFLD, and many don’t even realize they have it. (Polyzos et al 2010, Schuppan et al 2010, Younossi 2008). It is estimated that 70–80 percent of obese individuals have NAFLD.

NAFLD is a condition in which fat accumulates in the liver cells in individuals with minimal or zero alcohol intake. It often goes undetected for years, and may eventually progress to liver inflammation, cirrhosis, liver cancer or full-blown liver failure. NAFLD is caused by poor dietary choices (primarily excess fructose), and linked to increasing rates of diabesity and metabolic syndrome.

The liver is involved with digestion, the hormone system, controlling blood sugar, protein and fat metabolism. Many of our metabolic issues stem from liver dysfunction. When the liver becomes overloaded and damaged, it’s unable to properly detox.

Symptoms and Conditions of a Sluggish, Congested Liver

  * Skin problems; rashes; brown skin spots * Weight loss resistance * Increased cholesterol
  * Distended stomach on a thin body * Depression * Cellulite
  * Chemical and food sensitivities * Chronic constipation * Alcoholism
  * Gynectomastia (man boobs) * Nightmares; Insomnia * Digestive dysfunction
  * Dark tint under eyes; bags under the eyes * Hypertension * High Estrogen; PMS
  * Wakening between 1am and 3am * Candida * Sinusitis
  * Heavy Metal Toxicity * Hypochlorhydria * Gallbladder dysfunction
  * Unexplained fatigue * Diabesity * Hypothyroid 
  * Increased visceral fat * Increased belly fat * Tinnitus

If you wake up during the night at the same time, or become exhausted at the same time every day in the afternoon, you can look at the meridian that’s active and what may be happening with you.

The emotions that corresponds with the liver and gallbladder meridian include frustration, anger and resentment. Anger increases risk of heart attack by 230 percent! (Mittleman et al, Circulation, 1995, vol 2). The liver is the most emotion sensitive organ and its weakness is often connected to emotional sensitivity.

The key responsibilities associated with the gallbladder and liver are decision making, determination and action.  The liver controls ability to plan one’s life, while the gallbladder controls the capacity to make decisions.

Strategies to Optimize Liver & Gallbladder Function

Start with Your Diet. Use Food as Medicine.

  • Nourish your liver with a smoothie: blend beets, apples, lemon, carrots, dandelion greens, ginger and turmeric. Be sure to add fat to increase nutrient absorption.
  • Support your liver with liver cleansing foods: dandelion greens and chlorophyll-rich leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, artichoke, asparagus, apples, beets and beet greens, cilantro, turmeric, garlic, walnuts, olive oil, green tea, avocado, lemons and limes, tart cherries
  • Include more sulfur-rich foods: garlic, onions, egg yolks and cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress)
  • Adequate protein. Amino acids derive from protein-rich foods such as grass-fed meat, free-range pastured poultry and eggs are a primarily fuel source for the liver, which metabolizes the amino acids to encourage detoxification.
  • Start your day with a cup of lemon water. Proper hydration is essential to liver health. The addition of fresh lemon stabilizes blood sugar, creates an alkaline environment and gives your liver a boost.
  • Protect your liver and enjoy your morning cup of coffee, which may help to reduce risk of liver cancer.
  • Sip on some dandelion root tea
  • Identify your personal food sensitivities (very common, especially in those with gallbladder problems)
  • Avoid the typical poisons: HFCS, trans-fats, vegetable oils, alcohol, soda and sugary fruit juices, GMOs, pasteurized dairy, gluten, wheat and grains, processed, fake foods and artificial sweeteners
  • Use a daily detox powder to support a healthy liver…a couple of my favorites are ProtoClear, NutriClear and Mediclear SGS.
  • Coconut oil is easily digestible and does not require the liver or gallbladder to digest or emulsify it.
  • Those who consume at least 5 oz. of raw, organic nuts per week have a 25% lower risk of having a cholecystectomy compared with women who rarely or never ate nuts.

Exercise tips

  • Move your body every day to prevent stagnation.
  • Yoga stimulates, regulates and enhances liver/gallbladder function through its combination of physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation.
  • Practice, deep, slow breathing: inhale kindness, generosity, forgiveness and exhale anger, frustration and resentment while focusing on the color green and making the sound shhhhhh

Lifestyle tips

  • Consider acupuncture and acupressure
  • Apply castor oil packs on right side of abdomen
  • Keep your liver healthy with these smart and simple detox tips safe enough to do every day.
  • Sleep! Sleep deprivation inhibits efficient fat metabolism and causes fat to accumulate; predisposes the liver to oxidative stress, phospholipid damage and increases risk of fatty liver disease. As a society, we’re chronically sleep deprived and many underestimate the value of restful, uninterrupted sleep not only for a healthy functioning liver, but also for fat loss, hormone balance, brain, mood and memory function, and overall health.
  • A healthy liver is responsible for the delicate balance of hormones and is essential for correcting estrogen dominance.
  • Unplug and turn off electronics. Spending a lot of time on the internet, playing video games, texting and constantly checking email via our smartphones and iPads creates an agitation in our bodies that quickly causes liver stagnation.
  • Avoid Rx drugs, antacids, OTC drugs, anti-inflammatory and pain meds, which are toxic to the liver.
  • Use natural skincare products. The average woman puts several hundred chemicals on her body every day, which compromises the lymph and liver.
  • Chinese medicine reminds us that the emotions of an unhappy liver/GB are anger, frustration and resentment. Embrace and engage in a process of emotional healing.
  • The liver performs two phases of detoxification; Phase 1 (oxidation) and Phase 2 (conjugation). Optimize detoxification with these Smart and Simple Detox Tips safe enough to do every day.
  • Rule out heavy metal body burdens and underlying viral infections
  • Annual blood tests to detect elevated values (AST, ALT, GGT, triglycerides, iron, ferritin) and immune values
  • Consider a gentle gallbladder flush: 3-4 tablespoons olive oil with the juice of a fresh squeezed lemon, lime or grapefruit  taken right before bedtime.

Nutrient support

As with all nutritional support, it’s not a one-fits-all approach. Schedule a consultation to determine your personal protocol unique to your biochemistry.

  • Bile Salts: Beta-TCP (a source of certified organic whole beet, taurine, vitamin C and pancrealipase). If the gallbladder has been removed, use Beta-Plus instead.
  • Livotrit Plus, an herbal prep with silymarin (milk thistle), which increases antioxidant status, protects the liver, supports detoxification, chelates excess iron, lowers ferritin and has anticancer potential.
  • Support your liver, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress with vitamins C, D and E, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), alpha lipoic acid (R-ALA), folate and B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, selenium, curcumin
  • Phosphatidylcholine, an important supplement when liver cirrhosis is present
  • Take Digestzymes, Betaine Plus HP or BioGest to support digestion
  • Probiotics at the end of your meal, after coffee or before bedtime
  • Essential Fatty Acids. According to Jonathan Wright, M.D., if you have gallstones, 11gm/day of fish oil lowers cholesterol saturation of bile by 25 percent

Source and Author:

Nutrient and supplemental support. As with all nutritional support, it’s not a one-fits-all approach. Schedule a consultation to determine your personal nutrient protocol unique to your biochemistry.

Schedule a free-15 minute consult. I consult with clients locally in the Phoenix area and with men and women around the world via telephone or Skype. Thank you. Have a Happy, Healthy Day!

Copyright © Paula Owens. All Rights Reserved.

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