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Gallstones - what are they and can they be prevented?

Posted on January 27, 2014 by Ruth Buttigieg | 0 comments

Research published in the Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology Journal [1] has shown that individuals who follow a low-fat diet are at a risk of developing gallstones. Following a moderate to high fat diet has been shown to have a preventative effect in the formation of gallstones.


Gallstone formation

The gallbladder is an organ which collects and stores the bile salts produced by the liver. The bile salts are released into the gut to help digest and absorb fat-soluble vitamins, omega-3 fats, CoQ10 and other antioxidants. The amount of bile released depends on the amount of fat consumed in the diet.

When following a low-fat diet, the bile stored in the gallbladder is not used regularly. This leads to the bile salts becoming stagnate and forming crystals and one day gallstones.

Fat & a Healthy Gallbladder

Current dietary guidelines focus on limiting all forms of fat (even the good ones!) from the diet. So following a standard “healthy” meal according to mainstream guidelines may be problematic for your digestive health and gallbladder. The low-fat content of these meals fail to properly activate the gallbladder.

It is important to remember that fat is not the enemy. Fat plays an essential role in a healthy lifestyle as it provides energy, is involved in vitamin A, D, E and K absorption, as well as being involved in hormone production.


1. Caroline S. Stokes, Lise Lotte Gluud, Markus Casper, Frank Lammert. (2013) Ursodeoxycholic Acid and High-fat Diets Prevent Gallbladder Stones During Weight Loss: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. [online] Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cgh.2013.11.031

Available at: http://www.cghjournal.org/article/S1542-3565(13)01837-5/abstract

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