Gallstones are the formation of small hard masses of digestive fluids in gallbladder or the common dile duct which can cause severe pain in addition to complications such as pancreatitis. According to the online medical library Merck Manuals, gallstones are quite common and affect 20 percent of people over the age of 65. To treat painful gallstones, the doctor may advise the removal of gallbladder, a procedure known as a cholecystectomy. Some people use Ayurvedic remedies, an ancient Indian healing system, for treating gallstones.

Gallstones typically are caused from excess amounts of cholesterol or bilirubin in bile. Gallstones that obstruct the gallbladder ducts can cause abrupt, extreme pain which may arise behind the breastbone, in the upper-right portion of abdomen, in right shoulder or in upper back. One may also get nauseated. If someone suffers from jaundice, high fever or abdominal pain that is so intense that he/she can not alleviate it by changing position, then it is advised to seek emergency medical care. Gallstones are more widespread in women than in men. Being over the age of 60, being obese, eating a high-cholesterol diet and losing large amounts of weight very rapidly can augment the risk of gallstones. Certain prescribed drugs can also contribute to formation of gallstone.

Gallbladder Infections

Gallstones can also accommodate infectious organisms such as E Coli and Bacteroids that can cause further inflammatory stress to the liver and gallbladder. These infections can cause life threatening issues and therefore, must be addressed. Fermented foods and probiotics act as both inhibiters of these infectious bacteria and reducers of the severity of any infection.

An anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle is essential to restrain gallstone formation. This diet should consist of phytonutrient rich organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed animal products and healthy fat sources such as avocados, coconut and olive oil. Another important food is raw cheese from grass-fed cows and goats owing to its rich content of omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin K2 and D3. The synergy between vitamin K2 and D3 aids in controlling calcium metabolism and restrain the formation of gallstones.

Foods that are high in organic acids and natural enzymes are mainly vital for the complete digestive system including the liver and gall bladder. These foods are apple cider vinegar (ACV), fresh squeezed lemon, kombucha, kimchi and red cabbage sauerkraut. Probiotic enriched, raw dairy products such as fermented whey, kefir and amasai are enormously valuable.

Nutritional Factors that Increase the Risk of Gallstones

Gallstones in the gallbladder can vary from the size of a pebble to the size of a golf ball. The most ordinary type of gallstone is made of cholesterol. So, a diet high in cholesterol can enhance the risk of gallstones. Symptoms that may be visible are pain in the stomach, fever, jaundice and abdominal fullness.

High Saturated Fat Diets - A diet high in saturated fats can enhance the risk of development of gallstones. A study published in 1999 in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found the link between diet and the formation of gallstones. The research discovered that patients whose diets were high in animal fats had a higher risk of gallstone formation than those with diets high in vegetable fats. Foods that are high in saturated fats are whole milk, cheese, butter, processed meats, poultry skin and normal ice cream.

Carbohydrates and Refined Sugar - A diet high in refined sugars and starches augments the danger of gallstone development by 60 percent. In 2004, a study supporting this statement was published in British Medical Journal “GUT” in which researchers revealed that there is an increased risk of gallstone formation due to intake of a diet high in carbohydrates.

Low Fiber Diets - A diet low in fiber may also enhance the risks of developing gallstones. A study published in 2004 in the “American Journal of Gastroenterology” inspected the correlation between fiber and gallstones. Researchers made use of the dietary information found on the Nurse’s Health Study to evaluate gallbladder disease and fiber intake by collecting data on approximately 17000 women for 16 years. It was found that for each added 5 grams of fiber women consumed, the risk of developing gallstones reduced by 7 percent.

Very Low-Calorie Diets – Speedy weight loss has been linked with an augment in gallstones. Very low-calorie diets are typically managed under medical supervision. Most of the times, they permit even less than 800 calories a day to dieters, leading to rapid weight loss. Though gallstones frequently develop in obese people, they are even more common in those who have rapidly lost extreme weight. Rapid weight loss can raise cholesterol levels in the gallbladder, leading to gallstone formation, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Preventing Gallstones with Everyday Foods

It is vital to regularly feed the body with nutrients it requires to uphold a clean, well-functioning gallbladder. Some useful foods for preventing gallstones are:

Fresh fruits and Vegetables Juices - The gallbladder works in combination with the liver to digest food and remove toxins. But when one or both of these fundamental organs gets congested due to lack of nutrition or toxic upsurge, cholesterol can form hard solid mass with calcium leading to formation of gallstones. At this point, it is very hard to crack these stones down and avert them from further complicating the health.

Taking out juice from fresh, alkalizing fruits and vegetables can help suppress inflammation and enzymatically detoxify both the liver and gallbladder on a regular basis. Raw, unfiltered apple juice, which contains high levels of pectin, will help in softening and breaking up any existing gallstones, as well as preventing the formation of new ones. Lemons, celery, tomatoes, and beets are also helpful in addition to any daily juicing regimen.

Eat sufficient Healthy Fats - Certain fats are essentially helpful in preventing potential and existing gallstones. For instance, olive oil is often a part of many gallbladder detoxification regimens and healthy saturated fats from coconut oil and grass-fed animal products help synergize the absorption of vital nutrients from other foods that aid in maintaining a clean liver and gallbladder.

However, make sure to avoid toxic fats such as soybean and canola oil which hail from a class of fats that are a main cause of disease-causing inflammation. Chronic inflammation causes high cholesterol, as vegetable-based and hydrogenated oils are severely high in omega-6 fatty acids in contrast to omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3-rich fish oils and animal fats that come from hormone-free, pasture-based animals, can help naturally to lower cholesterol and take a considerable toxic burden off the fundamental organs.

Supplement with lecithin (either sunflower or non-GMO soy) - The simplest and quickest way to dissolve gallstones is to supplement with lecithin that comes from either sunflower or non-GMO (genetically-modified organism) soy. Lecithin, a fatty substance made of choline and inositol, is a main component of cell membranes and needs high amounts of bile to digest. After ingestion when lecithin enters the liver, it is dissolved into this bile and in the process gallstones are also dissolved. Studies show that taking 100 mg of lecithin three times a day will enhance the concentration of lecithin in the bile.

Supplement with apple cider vinegar, malic acid - This unique home remedy is a safe and definite way to remove gallstones without the requirement for surgery or drug interventions. Mixing apple cider vinegar (ACV) with malic acid (apples and fresh apple juice are natural sources of malic acid) and other essential softening substances and drinking it as part of a gallbladder flush is greatly suggested for gallbladder health.

Add extra Turmeric to meals - Studies have revealed that turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory food that helps in maintaining a healthy gallbladder. Consequently, turmeric helps in improving the solubility of bile, which means that body will effortlessly break down substances that would otherwise form into gallstones.

Herbal Treatment for Gallstones

There are herbs that stimulate the flow of bile to promote a healthy gallbladder and treat gallstones.

Dandelion – Even though dandelion is mainly considered a troublesome yard weed in the United States, this herb may offer many medicinal advantages. Dandelion is used by ancient Chinese healers to treat cold symptoms, bronchitis, ulcers and obesity. It may also help treat gallstones as it is a mild diuretic that may help flush gallstones from the gallbladder and remove them from body.

Cinnamon - Cinnamon is well known as a culinary spice in the United States than as a medicinal herb. However, its use in herbal medicine started in 2700 BCE, when Chinese healers began using cinnamon to cure fever. Eugenol, the main chemical in cinnamon, may help crack gallstones and swill them out from the body. Eugenol may also offer antibiotic benefits, decreasing the risk of gallbladder infection.

Parsley - Similar to cinnamon, parsley is chiefly considered for its culinary uses; but, ancient Romans thought that parsley could treat epilepsy. Medieval German medical practitioners used it for treatment of arthritis. The parsley also show diuretic properties which may help in flushing gallstones from the body. Also, parsley may reduce potassium reserves in the body.

Milk Thistle - Milk thistle is believed to work by making cholesterol more soluble in bile, thus inhibiting the growth of gallstones or even making it dissolve.

Turmeric - Turmeric also enhances bile flow and clears the bile ducts. Doctors note that turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and relaxes bile ducts, so that it permits for easier flow of bile through the ducts. They also suggest consuming turmeric containing 150 mg of curcumin before every meal.

Peppermint leaf - It can alleviate non-severe distress caused by gallstones. It inhibits spasms in the upper gastrointestinal tract and the bile ducts. Doctors advise of drinking a peppermint tea twice or thrice times per day. To make peppermint tea, immerse one tablespoon of peppermint leaf in one cup of boiling water for ten minutes.

Wild yam root – It has an antispasmodic effect on the bile ducts. Taking a 500 mg capsule of wild yam root can alleviate non-severe gallbladder uneasiness.

Green Tea - Green tea is one of the best remedies for alleviating conditions such as gallbladder pain and gallstones. It contains polyphenols and caffeine in high amounts, which may improve the passage of bile and reduces its cholesterol concentrations, consequently removing or alleviating gallstones.

Globe Artichoke - Globe artichoke is an ancient herb which is extensively used in modern European medicine primarily as a diuretic for encouraging the flow of bile and improving conditions such as gallbladder pain and gallstones. The antioxidant compounds in globe artichoke leaves may offer most of its medicinal properties.