Written by Samantha Mainland, Naturopath, B.Nat, BMedsMgmentProfHonsCM
The gallbladder is often an undervalued or overlooked organ. Did you know that the gallbladder requires cholesterol for healthy function? Did you know that the gallbladder plays a key role in oestrogen dominance, perimenopause and premenstrual syndrome? Has that piqued your interest?
The gallbladder sits tucked in, under your liver. It is heavily involved in the digestion, absorption and the removal of substances in your digestive system. Considering that ‘the gut is the seat of health’, and the small fact that we need to break down our food before it can be absorbed really highlights the often overlooked value of the gallbladder.
The gallbladder itself has one main function – to produce bile salts, and store and appropriately release bile. Due to this seemingly basic function some professionals consider it an accessory organ, and as a result, unfortunately many people have had their gallbladder removed. This simple-minded thought neglects to see the larger picture. A dysfunctional gallbladder has the potential to affect your nutrient, mineral and fatty acid absorption, your detoxification capabilities, your gut microbiome/flora, your cellular function and your oestrogen removal. A simple depletion of vitamin D, for example, or even a deficiency in your magnesium or zinc levels can significantly impact your bone health, muscle strength, energy, moods, weight, allergies, inflammation status and chronic disease development. The simple function of the gallbladder has a much larger impact than merely producing, storing and releasing bile/bile salts.
Poor gallbladder function can be felt or experienced as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatty/greasy stools
- Pain between the shoulder blades
- Abdominal pain
- Itchy skin
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Headaches or migraines
- Bitter taste in the mouth
- Low appetite
And it can be seen in:
- Low thyroid function
- Weight loss resistance
- Oestrogen dominance
- Perimenopause/ PMS
- History or current gallstones
Don’t forget about the little ol’ gallbladder. Read our article ‘Tips to Improve Gallbladder Function’ to see what you can add, do or start, to support your gallbladder function.