Supporting Your Gallbladder with Supplements

Vitamins A and C are just two of the nutrients your body requires to keep this important organ operating at peak performance.

Whether you are plagued with gallstones or just want to head off any future problems with your gallbladder, a good diet with sufficient healthy fat and protein and reduced carbohydrate is essential, as discussed in Dealing with Gallbladder Disorders. But in addition, you require certain nutrients for your gallbladder to work optimally. Note that dosages given are general ranges. Your health-care provider should recommend specific dosages.

The following supplements aid in gallbladder health:

Fiber
Without enough fiber, the liver won’t synthesize bile acids and the body won’t get rid of excess cholesterol. Fiber protects against stone formation because it reduces the accumulation of cholesterol in the gallbladder. A diet high in sweets is usually almost fiber-free, and even eating a lot of complex carbohydrates and high-fiber foods won’t necessarily give you as much as you need. Your total fiber intake should be about 25 grams, 15 to 20 grams of which should come from foods such as vegetables, berries and other high-fiber foods. Fiber supplements such as psyllium husks, flaxseed meal, pectin, oat bran or guar gum can supplement dietary fiber. 1
Typical dosage: 5 to 10 g. daily

Vitamin A
One of the consequences of a malfunctioning gallbladder is a deficiency of vitamin A. Supplementation can prevent such deficiencies.2
Typical dosage: 10,000 IU daily

Vitamin C
When levels of vitamin C are below par, the gallbladder won’t convert cholesterol into bile acids. Even a borderline deficiency, over the long term, interferes with the conversion of cholesterol into bile acids and allows cholesterol to accumulate in the liver. Increased levels of vitamin C in the blood have linked with a lower rate of gallbladder disease.3
Typical dosage: 1,000 mg. daily

Vitamin E
Consuming insufficient amounts of vitamin E has been linked to gallstones. A dietary analysis revealed that low intakes of vitamin E, linolenic acid and essential amino acids were related to the onset of gallstones.4
Typical dosage: 400 IU daily

Selected References:
1. Moran, S., Uribe, M., Prado, M.E., et al., "Effects of Fiber Administration in the Prevention of Gallstones in Obese Patients on a Reducing Diet: A Clinical Trial," Revista de Gastroenterologia de Mexico, 62(4), 1997, pages 266-272.

2. Tsai, L.Y., Lee, KT, Tsai SM, et al., "Vitamin A Status in Patients with Cholelithiasis," Gaoxiong Yi Xue Ke Xue Za Zhi, 1994, 10(6), pages 301-307.

3. Simon, J.A., Hudes, E.S., "Serum Ascorbic Acid and Gallbladder Disease Prevalence Among US Adults: The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III)," Archives of Internal Medicine, 160(7), 2000, pages 931-936.

4. Worthington, H.V., Hunt, L.P., McCloy, R.F. et al., "A Pilot Study of Antioxidant Intake in Patients With Cholesterol Gallstones," Nutrition 13(2), 1997, pages 118-127.