If you’re managing gallbladder disease or gallstones, there’s actually a lot you can do holistically to help minimize your symptoms.
The gallbladder aids in the digestion of fats through the secretion of a substance called bile. But when you have gallbladder issues, bile flow and fat digestion can be impaired, leading to uncomfortable symptoms.
So, how can you manage these symptoms from home without gallbladder surgery?
A balanced diet and lifestyle are key for optimal gallbladder health. But considering supplementation of key vitamins and minerals can help minimize your symptoms even more.
When you support your gallbladder health through supplements and herbs naturally, you’re giving your body more of what it needs to effectively combat gallbladder issues for good.
As a functional gallbladder nutritionist AND someone with firsthand pain and frustration from my own gallbladder, I’m eager to share with you 8 of my favorite gallbladder support supplements and herbs that have worked great for me.
Let’s first look at some essential nutrients for optimal gallbladder health.
Essential Nutrients for Gallbladder Health
First things first, let’s talk about key vitamins and nutrients that support gallbladder function:
Vitamin C & Vitamin E
Vitamin C and Vitamin E are essential vitamins for your overall health. Vitamin C can help protect your cells, and Vitamin E works as an antioxidant in the body.
Regular Vitamin C intake can decrease the risk of developing gallstones.1 Research also indicates when you have higher circulating levels of Vitamin E in the body, you’re less likely to develop gallbladder disease.2
Magnesium is so good for our bodies. It aids in the reguation of muscle and nerve function, supports our bones, and is essential for so many body processes.
Not only is magnesium a great nutrient for overall well-being, but studies show that an increase in magnesium intake is associated with a decreased risk of symptomatic gallstones.3
Omega-3 fatty acids are “healthy fats”. Omega-3s aren’t produced naturally in the body, but you can get them from a lot of foods like fish, nuts, or flaxseeds. Omega-3s give you energy while supporting multiple body systems.
If you have gallbladder problems, it’s great to add more Omega-3s to your diet and supplement routine because low serum Omega-3 in the body can be linked to an increased risk of gallstones.4
These are just a few key vitamins and nutrients that can improve gallbladder health. And the best part– they’re all available as supplements! However, most of these essential vitamins and nutrients can be found in the food you eat.
Supplementation should always be considered alongside a nutrient-rich and healthy diet– not as a replacement.
Speaking of a healthy diet, another thing I want to stress with gallbladder disease patients is maintaining a fiber-rich diet. Fiber is key for kick-starting your digestive system. And although you can supplement fiber with powder or pills, focusing on a fiber-rich diet first is essential!
Okay… now we’ve learned about essential vitamins and nutrients that you can FIRST get from food, but also from gallbladder support supplements when needed.
Now let’s dive into 8 of my favorite gallbladder support supplements and herbs.
My Top Gallbladder Support Supplements and Herbs
1. Ox Bile or TUDCA Bile Salts
Ox bile or TUDCA (tauroursodeoxycholic acid) are bile salts that aid your body in digestion. They help reduce the amount of cholesterol in the gallbladder, making gallstone formation less likely.They can also be very helpful to reduce intolerance to fats around meals.
Check out my blog all about TUDCA for more tips and recommendations!
2. Artichoke Extract
Artichoke extract provides your body with minerals and antioxidants to help with bile production and flow. Artichoke extract acts as a choleretic and cholagogue, meaning it increases the secretion of bile from the liver and gallbladder contraction.
The increase in bile helps break down more fat, lessening your risk of cholesterol gallstone formation. Since artichoke is a cholagogue, its best to avoid if you have frequent gallbladder attacks, pain or inflammation and focus on more choleretic herbs such as milk thistle or greater celandine.
3. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle is a plant that supports liver and gallbladder detoxification. It’s been used for the treatment of liver and gallbladder problems, and it has an antioxidative effect. 6
Milk thistle can help decrease inflammation of the gallbladder, and it’s generally safe pre- or post-gallbladder removal. It is a gentle liver herb and can be very helpful post gallbladder attack.
Turmeric is a spice or herb that’s often found ground or as a supplement. It has incredible anti-inflammatory benefits, acting also as an antioxidant.
Turmeric is a cholagogue, choleretic and carminative. It also stimulates the release of bile and the gallbladder to release bile into the GI lumen.
Research tells us that turmeric can prevent an oversaturation of cholesterol, lowering the risk of cholesterol gallstone formation.
During breastfeeding or pregnancy, best to consume mostly in food form in minimal amounts. Since turmeric is a cholagogue, its best to avoid if you have frequent gallbladder attacks, pain or inflammation and focus on more choleretic herbs such as milk thistle or greater celandine.
5. Dandelion Root
Dandelion root is mostly a cholagogue and works to support gallbladder contraction and flow of bile. The root has the most benefit for the liver. Leaves have a diuretic action so use with caution. It can help with digestion by stimulating the flow of bile.
Caution if you are taking any other diuretic drugs. If you are experiencing frequent gallbladder attacks its best to support with herbs that mostly target the liver first: milk thistle, greater celandine etc.
Dandelion root can be consumed as a supplement capsule, extract, or even tea!
You know this one! Peppermint is known for soothing digestive discomfort. Peppermint can help relieve you from gallbladder pain and to help empty the gallbladder.
I enjoy peppermint tea, but this comes as an extract or supplement capsule as well.
7. Greater Celandine
Greater celandine is recognized as one of the most potent liver herbs. It is considered a cholagogue and choleretic. It has a bitter component that supports your overall digestion. It can be used for all liver conditions. It is especially helpful for gallbladder infections and inflammation. If you had recent gallbladder attack, infection or inflammation its best to start with a minimal dose for a couple of weeks to bring the infection down and slowly increase after.
Burdock root is an all around supportive liver and gallbladder herb. It can support many types of disorders to the liver function. It is also a cholagogue and can help support gallbladder contraction and bile flow. Burdock root can also be helpful to regulate female hormones- very important for gallbladder issues.
Bile is a soapy substance produced by your liver, stored and concentrated in the gallbladder. Bile is made of cholesterol, phospholipids, minerals, acids, bile acids, bilirubin, and water. Phospholipids make up a large portion of bile. A majority of phospholipids come from choline. Choline should be prioritized in the diet first through chicken, fish, broccoli, and cauliflower.
CDP Choline can be helpful to make cholesterol more soluble, reduce cholesterol, reverse fatty liver and gallstone formation.
Lipotropics often contain b vitamins, herbs and amino acids such as taurine, glycine, and methionine. They are used to target gallbladder, liver health but especially help to normalize bile production and removal of liver fat deposits.
11. Taurine and glycine
Taurine and glycine are amino acids that specifically conjugate bile acids. They can be helpful in shrinking of gallstones, sludge by normalizing bile production.
12. B vitamins
A range of b vitamins can be helpful to assist liver and gallbladder health. Methylated b vitamins specifically help assist many liver functions, detoxification, removal of liver fat depositions and normalizing bile production.
The Bottom Line on Gallbladder Support Supplements
Now, these are just a few of the MANY effective vitamins, nutrients, supplements, and herbs for optimal gallbladder health.
Remember, always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement routine, including these 8 gallbladder support supplements and herbs.
There’s always a risk of possible interaction with other medications, and supplements should only be considered along with lifestyle and dietary adjustments.
As a gallbladder-focused nutritionist and someone who’s benefited from many of these gallbladder support supplements, I can’t wait for you to get started prioritizing your own gallbladder health.
So speak with your healthcare provider today about starting gallbladder support supplements to help get rid of your gallbladder symptoms for good.
Consider Gallbladder Support Supplements for Your Health!
Remember diet and lifestyle adjustments come first when managing your gallbladder disease and symptoms.
But then, consider trying some key gallbladder support supplements and herbs.
Want to know exactly what supplements and herbs have worked for me as a gallbladder patient and functional nutritionist?
The use of gallbladder support supplements aids in the holistic approach to maintaining gallbladder health… and that’s what I’m all about! I want to give you every opportunity to take care of your gallbladder more naturally, and without surgical intervention if able.
A reminder again– this is not medical advice. As always when it comes to trying a new gallbladder support supplement or medication, I encourage you to consult with your healthcare professional for personalized advice.
With dietary recommendations and healthy lifestyle practices, gallbladder support supplements and herbs can help you feel more empowered to take a proactive approach to YOUR gallbladder health.
With any questions, feel free to reach out to me here on my Gallbladder Diet Website or here on Instagram so we can connect further. I’m rooting for you and your health, and I’m always here for you if you’re looking for a detailed and personalized gallbladder health plan!
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