Q: I’ve had trouble with gallstones for a while now. Is there anything that can help treat or prevent them?
A: It has been estimated that over 25 million Americans have gallstones, and almost 1 million new cases are diagnosed each year. As many as one in ten people may have gallstones and not know it. It’s when a stone is pushes out of the gallbladder and lodges itself in a bile duct that a person will have an attack which can include nausea, vomiting, and pain in the upper right abdominal region. These symptoms often arise after a person has eaten fried or fatty foods.
There are quite a few supplements that can help with gallstones. Adding lecithin to the diet, either in the form of granules or softgels can be beneficial. Lecithin is a component in the production of bile, and also helps to emulsify and digest fats. Extra vitamin C with bioflavanoids can also be helpful, since deficiencies in vitamin C can lead to gallstones.
If you are prone to gallstones, supplementing with turmeric extract may help to reduce the incidence of gallstone attacks (and the active ingredient of turmeric, curcumin, also helps with reducing inflammation in the body). Another great supplement for helping to prevent gallstones is called Stone Free by Planetary Herbals. It combines turmeric with several other herbs that help with gallbladder health and aid in stimulating bile flow.
If you have an attack, drinking 1 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar in a glass of apple juice can reduce pain. Also, drinking the juice of 1 lemon mixed with 3 tablespoons of olive oil before bed and upon awakening can help gallstones to pass.
Increasing the amount of raw foods eaten and reducing animal protein can aid in preventing gallstones, as well as avoiding fried foods and foods with a lot of sugar. Maintaining a healthy weight also reduces the incidence of gallstones, since obesity increases the risk of stone formation.