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Gallstones Part 3 - Naturopathic Treatment Options

Winter Chills

Treatment Options - Everyone experiences illnesses differently, and naturopaths take many variables into consideration to tailor the treatments to you. It is not possible to list the "best" treatment plan here, as that is different for every person who suffers from gallstones. Treatment options based on the above goals include supplements (e.g. vitamins, minerals, nutraceuticals, etc), acupuncture, herbal formulas, homeopathy, lifestyle changes, dietary changes, and counseling as support and in attempts to uncover underlying mental/emotional issues that may aggravate or cause physical disturbances.

Remember how we said that most stones (80%) are made of a mixture of cholesterol and other materials in the gall bladder, and some stones are made from minerals like calcium? Our main focus in this article will be on targeting cholesterol stones. To do this, we want to either reduce cholesterol production, or increase the amount it is eliminated from the gallbladder.

Dietary Changes

  1. Foods to Avoid
  2. Foods to Include
  3. Other Dietary Changes 

Foods to Avoid.
Bile is essential in the breakdown of fats. When the fat we eat enters the small intestine, it triggers the gallbladder to contract (squeeze) so that bile can be released into the small intestine. If stones are present in the gallbladder, this event can cause stones to block the duct out of the gallbladder (causing pain). This is why fatty foods should be avoided. That includes fried foods, deep-fried foods, and red meats.

Along the same lines, food allergies can also cause the duct out of the gallbladder to swell and become inflamed, leading to stagnation of bile in the gallbladder; the more bile sits around, the more likely it is that stones & crystals can form. Foods that are common allergens include dairy, soy, wheat, preservatives, and corn. Your naturopathic doctor can help you determine food allergies through different ways, such as elimination diets and food challenges, as well as various other testing methods. The skin-prick type of allergy tests are sometimes helpful, but not always. 

Foods to Include
To avoid fatty foods and still get adequate levels of protein in the diet, eat fish and chicken instead, or switch to vegetarian sources of protein (making sure you do not have allergies/sensitivities to these foods first). For example:

Avoid any refined foods and sugary foods, such as candy, pastries, cookies, chips, etc. And of course, avoid foods that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol, such as seafood, meat, and dairy.  

Other Dietary Changes

Water Consumption - Drink enough water, which includes 8 glasses of water only, not tea, coffee, juice, pop, etc. Drinking enough water will ensure an adequate water content in the bile. If it is less concentrated, stones are less likely to form. Kidneys filter out a minimum amount of water every day, so if you don't drink enough you will just keep losing water and become dehydrated (and the bile will be more concenetrated). But make sure you drink pure water (e.g. filtered water) because tap water has a lot of chemicals that can be harmful to your health. Read more.

There are many herbs and acupuncture protocols that can help dissolve gallstones. Dietary changes are a big step in preventing stone formation/enlargement, and reducing the problems of current stones, but alone, it may not remove stones. Find a naturopathic doctor who can make further recommendations to help you find the best remedies for you.

Remember that these are only introductory recommendations, and do not address the root cause of gallstones. It takes a good history to figure out the root cause of disease; these suggestions will help clean up your system but much more required in order to treat your condition fully.

<< Page 1 - Gallstones Intro << Page 2 - Treatment Goals Page 3 - Treatment Options