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Some 20 million Americans have gallstones, crystallized pellets in the gallbladder that can suddenly cause painful spasms a few hours after eating a rich meal. A high-fiber diet, along with certain supplements, can help prevent, relieve, or even dissolve these troublesome stones.
Intermittent pain on the right side of the upper abdomen. The pain typically develops after a meal, lasts from 30 minutes to 4 hours, and may move to the back, chest, or right shoulder.
Nausea and vomiting may accompany pain. Heartburn, gas, or bloating may also be present.
When to Call Your Doctor
If you develop severe abdominal pain, or pain with nausea, vomiting, or fever. Either symptom may signal gallbladder inflammation or a blockage of the bile duct. Both are medical emergencies.
If you have upper right abdominal pain and nausea with shortness of breath and sweating — this may be a heart attack. Call an ambulance right away.
Reminder: If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.
What It Is
Gallstones are rocklike clumps of cholesterol or other digestive substances that form in the gallbladder, the pear-shaped organ that sits in the upper right section of the abdomen, just under the liver. The gallbladder stores and concentrates bile — a thick greenish yellow fluid that’s produced by the liver — and eventually releases it through the bile duct into the small intestine to aid in the digestion of fats. Gallstones can develop if the bile contains very high levels of cholesterol, bile acids, pigments, or other substances. Whether they’re really tiny or as big as a golf ball, gallstones often produce no symptoms and need no special care. Sometimes, though, they can block the bile duct or inflame the gallbladder, causing intense abdominal pain and requiring prompt treatment.
What Causes It
Though the exact cause of gallstones is not known, several factors may contribute to their formation, including a low-fiber, high-fat diet; intestinal surgery; inflammatory bowel disease; or other disorders of the digestive tract. Gallstones tend to occur in people over age 40 and are three times more common in women than in men. Obesity is also strongly linked to gallstones, as is rapid weight loss. There may be a genetic component as well: Among Arizona’s Pima Indians, nearly 70% of women over age 30 have gallstones.
How Supplements Can Help
The supplements recommended in the list may all aid in preventing or dissolving gallstones. Three months of treatment may be effective in dissolving small existing stones, though Vitamin C, liotropic combination, lecithin, and flaxseed oil can also be used long term to help prevent gallstone attacks.
What Else You Can Do
Eat a diet high in fiber and low in refined carbohydrates, sugar, and fat. Fruits and vegetables, oat bran, and pectin (found in apples, bananas, cabbage, carrots, oranges, peas, and okra) may be especially important in preventing and dissolving gallstones.
Keep your weight down and drink plenty of water daily.
Dosage: 1,000 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Reduce dose if diarrhea develops.
Dosage: 1 or 2 pills twice a day.
Comments: Need 250 mg milk thistle (take extra if needed); may also include choline, inositol, methionine, and dandelion.
Dosage: 1,000 mg L-taurine twice a day for up to 3 months.
Comments:After 6 weeks, add a mixed amino acid complex.
Dosage: 2 capsules of 19 grains (1,200 mg) each twice a day.
Comments: Or 2 tsp. granular form twice a day before meals.
Dosage: 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day in liquid or pill form.
Comments: Can be mixed with food; take in the morning.
Dosage: 2 capsules (containing 0.2 ml of oil each) twice a day.
Comments: Buy enteric-coated capsules. Take between meals.
Dosage: 1 tbsp. powder dissolved in water or juice twice a day.
Comments: Be sure to drink extra water throughout the day.
Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs (Reader’s Digest)
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.