Gall Bladder: Another Reason to Eat Fat

Tuesday’s article on vitamin A alluded to it and my New Wise Traditions had a book review for it: today’s post is about the gall bladder. I’m going to take all these references as a sign that a look into the gall bladder is a needed topic. Breezed over in anatomy reviews of the digestive system (covered last week), and for some it is an actual problem child (although not always looked at 750,000 gall stones are removed each year in the U.S.). So what is it, what does it do? Let’s start with fat and fat digestion. Bile is needed to emulsify or break down fats. It is secreted by the liver and stored in today’s topic, the gall bladder. Bile works on fats to increase surface area 10,000 fold so that lipases can liberate fatty acids. The bile is made in the liver out of cholesterol (yes infamous cholesterol that is demonized in this country) before being stored in the gall bladder. It is released in accordance with the hormone cholecystokinin into the small intestine to aid in digestion. When we eat a meal with ample fats, then the gall bladder empties in an hours time, then refills slowly before the next meal. Bile is also used to transport waste away from the liver into the intestines for termination. What happens when we don’t get enough fat or follow the recommended and popular lowfat diet (because fat like cholesterol has been demonized in this country)? The body is resourceful as ever, it worries that cholesterol supplies are getting low, so it saves up for a later date. This increased reservoir of cholesterol can cause stones to form. More problems can occur and in some cases they’ll just cut out the gall bladder. So instead of seeing what is causing the problem (a lack of fat and cholesterol in the diet), we just remove it, which increases chances of cancer. I loved this analogy:

Like going to war, doing violence to an innocent organ leads only to greater suffering (cancer or ‘terrorism’). Modern medicine gets rid of this adaptive strategy without fixing the underlying cause.

So instead of the looking to the root of the problem, the medical profession looks to ‘fix’ the problem, rather than look at what is causing the problem (often poor nutrition and lifestyle choices, yes your daily decisions of what you put in your mouth, the way you handle stress and the sleep you get tonight are making you sick, if not know then later). We suggest statins to control cholesterol instead of looking at what is causing the elevated cholesterol that is really just trying to do its job of repairing (using inflammation is somewhere to blame).  It’s not the doctors fault, it’s what they were taught. But in looking on Sunday’s post, traditionally we did not have these health problems, so maybe we should look at not only at how our lifestyle has changed, but our style of eating and the incorporation of man-made production and increased polyunsaturated fat? The gall bladder and it’s problems are just another example of a change in lifestyle for longevity and health. For more on our fat-burner weight-loss programs check out our website at

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