The Energy of the Gallbladder
Numbers of people deal with the painful condition of a dysfunctional gallbladder, resulting in gallbladder attacks and in many cases, surgical removal of the gallbladder. Unfortunately, removal of the gallbladder doesn't always resolve those painful issues, and the body is left to compensate for loss of its functions. The two greatest stressors on gallbladder function are poor dietary habits and internal stress. The energy of the gallbladder in Eastern traditions is connected with passion, inspiration, action, assertiveness, and dreams. It is the Yang energy partner to the liver, whose energy is Yin. The two organs have a very direct relationship with one another, both in physical function and energy expressions.
What is the Role of the Gallbladder?
The gallbladder is a small egg-shaped organ located right beneath the liver. It is connected to the liver via the cystic duct. The liver produces bile from bile acids, and passes it through the duct for storage in the gall bladder. Bile is necessary for the emulsification of fats in the diet. (This is similar to the effect of soap on greasy substances.) When you begin to eat a meal, a compound called cholecystokinin (CCK) in the upper intestine triggers the gallbladder to release bile. While many people feel fat is "bad", fat is simply a fuel - it is required by each of us individually in our own unique blend along with proteins and carbohydrates (in whole food forms, of course). Because of this belief and any associated gallbladder dysfunction, fat is often removed from the diet of those who have gallbladder attacks or have had surgical removal of the organ. Your eyes are largely fat, as is your central nervous system. Are these "bad"?! Certainly not. A number of our essential vitamins are fat also - vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin D - essential in their roles in digestive health and antioxidant protection, among other things. Without healthy bile production, these vitamins do not become water soluble and therefore complete their physiological function.
The Liver/Gallbladder Relationship
Your liver is truly a critical organ. It is responsible for countless physiological tasks, not the least of which are digestive support and detoxification. In order to produce bile salts from bile acids, the liver needs amino acids which come from protein (namely glycine and taurine). A healthy liver will conjugate 8 different acids to form bile salts, which produce the water soluble quality of bile mentioned above. The liver must be healthy to support a healthy gallbladder. Conditions such as fatty liver, or liver cell damage, stemming from malnutrition, excess weight, excess alcohol consumption, medications/toxicity, etc., can encourage gallbladder stones to develop - a very painful condition often leading to surgical removal. It is possible live without a gallbladder, but we cannot live without a liver. Consider the liver to be the chicken and the gallbladder to be the egg!
The Fundamentals of Liver Health
Your liver needs a few things to maintain health...it needs good, clean food, the least amount of exposure to toxins possible (plus help with outside sources when overburdened), and it needs to rest. Sounds a bit like what we know we need for our whole being, right? Indeed. When your personal food fuel mix is wrong, it's like putting leaded gasoline in a high-performance engine...it isn't going to run as it should and it isn't going to continue to function properly for you. On the other hand, give it high performance fuel and it hums along with satisfaction. As it relates to detoxifying your body, the liver has 3 phases of detoxification, and its main job is to methylate toxic materials, or in plain English, make them water soluble for exiting the body. If we overload this requirement, we can liken this to an air filter in the car or the air conditioner that can't filter anything anymore. The liver becomes stressed and overwhelmed, toxic materials begin to pile up, and bile production can be compromised. To give the liver rest and "fasting" time is critical also - especially in relationship to the gallbladder. It is during this time that the bile is stored in the gall bladder. If we eat according to many current diet dogma recommendations, we'll eat something small every couple of hours. The problem here is that the liver requires about 3 hours to get through all of its tasks after food is consumed...if we repeat this over and over without any fasting time, when will it rest? Overnight, and that is it - and in some cases, nighttime liver functions are impaired due to imbalances in methylation capacity. These are things which can be investigated and dealt with via careful, scientific protocols, fortunately, but we must know our overall liver health to properly address such imbalances.
Are You At Risk When Your Gallbladder is Removed?
Following gallbladder removal, the cystic duct expands and grows the body works to compensate and replicate the organ. (This invites inquiry, doesn't it, into whether we can actually live without a gallbladder?! Nature appears to understand that we do have a need for something that functions similarly.) Most surgeries are done because of the painful condition of having gall stones. While we don't know exactly why stones form in the gallbladder, bilirubin does play a role. Bilirubin is a substance produced from the breakdown of red blood cells in the liver. Stones consist of bile pigments, cholesterol, and calcium salts. They most often get stuck in the "neck" of the gallbladder, which is a very small passageway. Passing a stone through this tight space can be excruciating. The use of a specific flushing process can help immensely with dissolving and passing stones. Some studies indicate that removal of the gallbladder may result in a decreased plasma "clearance" of CCK, forcing the body to produce more of it for digestion. This may also be associated with reduced appetite coupled with weight gain. To prevent such problems, I believe in supporting the compromised gallbladder function with supplements geared for improved bile production. As discussed previously, I also condone supporting liver health on a daily basis.
Case Studies and Solutions
Let's look at a couple of case studies in which clients have been able to effectively cleanse the liver and support the gallbladder to remain intact when stones had developed: Client #1: A 38-year-old woman with a history of painkiller use. This woman had experienced intense chronic pain for a sustained period of time. She had very low energy, a very poor diet, and multiple medications in her system. Blood tests revealed highly elevated liver enzymes and the client was told she needed to have her gallbladder removed due to constant pain from the stones. We initiated a protocol using her Metabolic Type® and liver support supplements, proteolytic enzymes for pain, and daily coffee enemas. Within days, the gallbladder attacks were subsiding, and she was gaining energy. This client also used the gallbladder flush to remove stones, and within months she returned to her doctor to be told the stones were completely gone. She was able to stop taking prescription medications and continues to thrive with her gallbladder still in place! Client #2: A 32-year-old woman with a relatively "healthy" diet and lifestyle. This woman was experiencing sharp pains in the right quadrant of her abdomen where the liver and gallbladder sit, but had not yet been diagnosed with gall stones. Her wish was to investigate and increase health before going through that diagnostic process. The client experienced abdominal pain with virtually every meal. She was B vitamin deficient and anemic, and experienced numerous food sensitivities. A number of heavy metal toxicities were discovered through Hair & Tissue Mineral Analysis. This client also began to eat according to her Metabolic Type® and built up gradually with the practice of the coffee enemas. Over a number of weeks, the pain with eating as well as the sensitivities with foods were gone.
Both of these clients also added some powerful foods and herbs which help support and lift liver/gallbladder function. These include teas, dandelion root, beets and beet greens, carrots and celery, cardamom and basil, to name a few.
Fear Not the Enema!
The coffee enema is an amazingly powerful remedy for stimulating bile production and excretion of toxins (which is phase III detoxification). Don't be afraid to investigate this practice - it's much easier to implement and use than most people think! I hear this almost daily - "Once I did it for the first time, I laughed at my resistance to doing it at all!" The benefits and the renewed energy provided by the coffee enema far outweigh any awkwardness we feel about doing it.