Gallbladder surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries today. Did you know simply going gluten-free may lower the risk of needing gallbladder surgery?
For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, gluten triggers a wide range of adverse reactions, from joint pain to poor brain function. In the last several years, research has also linked gluten with gallbladder disease in gluten-sensitive individuals.
Gluten sensitivity largely undiagnosed
An astonishing number of people are gluten intolerant but do not know it. Undiagnosed gluten sensitivity can cause leaky gut, chronic pain, inflammation, neurological damage, and autoimmunity (when the immune system attacks and destroys body tissue). Gluten sensitivity is estimated to affect between 20 and 40 percent of the general population, and is less frequently identified than celiac disease, though this is changing.
How gluten can raise the risk of needing gallbladder surgery
So how can gluten raise the risk of requiring gallbladder surgery? The process begins with damage to the small intestine. This damage inhibits its ability to properly secrete a hormone called cholecystokinin. Cholecystokinin is the hormone that signals the gallbladder when it’s time to release bile, which aids in the digestion and absorption of fat. As a result, bile builds up in the gallbladder, causing inflammation and raising the risk of gallbladder disease and subsequent gallbladder surgery.
Approximately 60 percent of people with celiac disease — an autoimmune reaction to gluten — also have gallbladder, liver, or pancreatic conditions, and this is apparently one reason why.
Why you need a gallbladder
Although you can live without your gallbladder, it is essential to overall health. The bile stored and secreted by the gallbladder enables you to digest fats. Without a gallbladder, your liver still produces bile, but the bile just “leaks” continually into the small intestine. This means there are no adequate reserves of bile to break down fats when needed.
These fats then become rancid and inflame the digestive tract while fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids are not properly absorbed. Ultimately, this compromises the function of your entire digestive tract. In fact, studies have linked gallbladder removal with an elevated risk of colon cancer.
Also, if the gallbladder is not removed but isn’t doing its job well, this can be detrimental to liver function.
It is worth caring for your gallbladder to preserve the health of your digestive system, and hence your immune system. If you are sensitive to gluten, it’s important to go gluten-free to maintain gallbladder health and lower your risk of needing gallbladder surgery.
Additionally, your gallbladder appreciates a diet high in omega 3 essential fatty acids, and free of processed oils and hydrogenated fats. And in general, it is safest to keep starchy carbs (cake, potatoes, white flour, refined sugar, etc.) to a minimum.
Various botanicals and nutrients can support liver and gallbladder health. They include milk thistle seed extract, dandelion root, ginger root, and phosphatidyl choline.
If you have already had your gallbladder removed, don’t despair. Taking ox bile with your meals can help you emulsify and absorb your fats, which are vital for many aspects of health including brain function. For more information, contact my office.
If you have succumbed to mysterious and debilitating symptoms after breast implant surgery, or if you are considering breast implants, take note that both silicone and saline can make you sick.
Not only can breast implants break down, leak, or burst, but the body’s immune system may simply reject them. This rejection may lead to autoimmune reactions to other tissues in the body, meaning the immune system attacks and destroys these tissues.
Symptoms vary widely but often include fatigue, muscle and joint pain, brain fog, memory loss, depression, hair loss, and symptoms associated with specific autoimmune diseases.
Why breast implants are risky
All breast implants – whether filled with silicone or saline – leak and/or break down eventually. Some of the consequences are merely uncomfortable, while others are potentially far more serious.
Sometimes an implant can last as long as 12 years without fracturing; others may develop problems within just a few months. But no implant will remain intact indefinitely.
Mammograms will not always reveal when an implant has ruptured. In fact, pressure from the mammogram itself can damage the implant.
Possible breast implant complications
Autoimmune disorders. Any foreign substance in the body can cause an autoimmune reaction, including breast implants. Sometimes removing the implants will relieve the symptoms, although the autoimmune reaction may persist after removal and require functional medicine management.
Infection. Though leakage is less frequent with saline implants than with silicone implants, mold and bacteria can grow within the saline solution. It has been speculated that when the solution inevitably leaks out, it may cause illness and possibly even endanger a nursing baby, though this effect has not been conclusively studied or established. (For more about potential complications with saline implants, see the FDA’s comprehensive report on saline breast implant surgery.)
Cancers. Breast implants may be linked with cancer in two ways. One is that the implants can obstruct early detection of breast cancer. The other is that silicone implants in particular are believed by some doctors to leak cancer-causing chemicals.
Raynaud’s Syndrome. This is a condition in which blood circulation is restricted by a narrowing of the small arteries, causing coldness and numbness in the hands and feet. It occurs more often in women who have had breast implants.
For more detail about possible complications, see the FDA’s report on Risks of Breast Implants A new type of implant, known as stem cell fat transfer, involves injecting fat from a woman’s hips or thighs into her breasts. This may prove a safer alternative to silicon or saline, though it is still in the testing phases.
If you suspect you are sick from your breast implants or you are trying to recover after breast implant removal, functional medicine can improve immune function and help with autoimmune remission. Contact my office for more information.