How to Increase Bile From The Gallbladder- 10 Natural Ways

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 11/04/2023

Adequate bile is vital to the health of your digestive tract and the breakdown of dietary fats. Find out how to increase bile production safely and naturally. 

Woman with gallbladder pain

What is bile?

Bile is a digestive fluid that is produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. It’s composed of bile salts, cholesterol, and waste products like bilirubin. Bilirubin is the byproduct of old, damaged red blood cells, which gives bile its yellow color.

There are two types of bile:

  • Primary bile, which is made in the liver

  • Secondary bile, which is composed of bile salts that are made by your microbiome

The gallbladder concentrates bile so that it can efficiently extract fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids from the foods you eat. 

Whenever you eat, concentrated bile fluid is released from your gallbladder into your small intestine through the common bile ducts. Bile then breaks down fats with the help of enzymes produced by your pancreas. 

Once the fats are broken down in the small intestine, your body can begin to use them for fuel.

Normal bile production is important for lubricating the colon, lowering cholesterol, getting rid of toxins, defending against bad bacteria, and preventing fat buildup. It also helps prevent microbes from accumulating in the small intestine, which can lead to SIBO.

Signs of a bile deficiency

Vitamin deficiency

Fat-soluble nutrient deficiencies are a common sign of low bile. Bile helps break down fat-soluble vitamins so your body can absorb and utilize them. Vitamin D is especially important to your bile and gallbladder.

Deficiencies related to low bile:

  • Vitamin A deficiency - Vision problems and trouble seeing in the dark. 

  • Vitamin D deficiency - Bone pain, poor immune function, and depression. 

  • Vitamin E deficiency - Dry skin, hot flashes, chest pain, and weak muscles.

  • Vitamin K deficiency - Bruising, kidney stones, high blood pressure, joint aches, and calcified arteries.

Digestive issues

Your digestive system requires bile to digest fats. Inadequate bile flow slows down the digestion process, allowing food to sit in your digestive tract partially digested. This can cause gas, bloating, burping, and indigestion.

Bile also lubricates the colon, so you may deal with constipation if your liver isn’t producing enough. 

Abnormal stool

If you don’t have enough bile, your digestive system can’t fully break down and absorb fats. 

Undigested fats end up in your stool, causing it to float or have a pale color. It can also cause your stool to become greasy and have an abnormally bad odor. 

Gallstones and bile sludge

Bile sludge is the buildup of cholesterol, bilirubin, and calcium deposits. It can lead to pain, inflammation, gallbladder congestion, and eventually gallstones.

Healthy bile flow inhibits the formation of bile sludge and gallstones. Taking a bile salt supplement on an empty stomach can help improve bile sludge and reduce the risk of gallstones. 

Right shoulder pain

Shoulder pain or tightness on your right side is a common sign of bile sludge. 

Bile sludge causes bile to back up into the liver or gallbladder. This puts pressure on your phrenic nerve, which leads up to your shoulder, resulting in right side shoulder pain.

Poor liver function 

A fatty liver can be both a cause and symptom of a bile deficiency. The more concentrated your liver is with fat, the less bile you produce. 

Chronic inflammation in the liver can potentially cause damage to the bile ducts, making it difficult for bile to flow through the ducts. If bile becomes trapped inside of the liver because of damage or obstruction, this can lead to cirrhosis and eventually liver failure. 


In some cases, a gallstone can become lodged into the bile duct, blocking the flow of bile. 

If the bilirubin in bile can’t move through the ducts fast enough, it builds up in the blood and skin. This results in jaundice, which is when your skin and the whites of your eyes turn yellow. 


Bile triggers the release of enzymes that convert inactive thyroid hormone T4 into its active form, T3.

Without healthy bile flow, this conversion process slows down and your thyroid becomes sluggish.

Unhealthy diet

What causes low bile production?

Here are five potential reasons you have low bile.

Low-fat diets - Dietary fat (especially saturated fat) triggers the production and release of bile. If you’re on a low-fat diet, you may have low bile production. 

Fatty liver - The liver is your body’s bile factory—so if it’s damaged, bile production will slow down. Diets high in carbs and omega-6 fatty acids are especially damaging to the liver.

Unbalanced microbiome - Friendly gut bacteria are essential for producing secondary bile acids. Microbes also help your body recycle bile. Junk food, high-carb diets, antibiotics, and stress can throw off your microbial balance and reduce the number of bile-producing bacteria in your gut. 

Poor gut health - 95% to 97% of bile is collected at the end of the small intestine (terminal ileum) and recycled. Gastrointestinal damage can interrupt the recycling process, allowing bile to pass through the large intestine.

Cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) - Your gallbladder stores and concentrates bile so it’s stronger and released when it's needed. You may not produce less bile after having your gallbladder removed, but your bile may be less effective, increasing the need for supplemental bile salts. 

Dandelions for liver detoxification

How to stimulate healthy bile flow naturally

Here are ten foods and supplements that help improve bile production naturally. These can be effective even if you don’t have a gallbladder!

1. Beet tops

Beet tops have amazing benefits for your liver and gallbladder. You can eat them raw, steamed, or sauteed. Try adding beet tops to a healthy smoothie!

2. Ginger

Ginger can directly stimulate the liver and help improve bile output. Ginger is delicious in teas, smoothies, and savory sauces.

3. Artichoke

Artichokes are amazing for your digestive system. They support liver function, gallbladder health, and bile production. Try this incredible Keto Creamy Spinach Artichoke Casserole recipe.  

4. Lemon/Lime

Citrus fruits like lemon and lime are an easy way to stimulate the liver and improve the production of bile. You can add them to almost anything! Add fresh lemon juice to your water, or squeeze some lemon juice and olive oil onto your salad. Remember to use fresh lemon juice, not the pasteurized bottled variety.

5. Dandelion greens 

Dandelion greens can be found almost anywhere and are excellent for optimal liver function. They make a great salad—or you can sautee them with other vegetables for a tasty side dish. 

6. Milk thistle

Milk thistle is an excellent supplement for liver detoxification. Supporting a healthy liver can help improve bile production and flow.

7. Choline

Not only does choline stimulate bile production, but it can also help improve a fatty liver. Egg yolks are an excellent source of choline. You can also take it as a nutritional supplement.

8. Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice with powerful phytonutrients and countless health benefits. It can reduce liver and gallbladder inflammation and restore healthy bile flow.

9. Betaine hydrochloride

Betaine is an amino acid that can help support healthy digestion and stimulate bile flow. It’s found in beets, spinach, and shellfish. 

10. Bile salts 

Bile salt supplements add bile back into your digestive system. You can take bile salts with meals to help with fat digestion. For instance, TUDCA benefits are well documented.

How keto and intermittent fasting support bile flow

Healthy Keto™ and intermittent fasting naturally help your body concentrate and release bile. Keto works by stimulating bile production naturally with healthy fats, while intermittent fasting allows more time between meals to concentrate bile. 

Keto and intermittent fasting also help diversify your microbiome and support your gut health, which are important for creating and recycling bile acids.

Signs of too much bile

There are some circumstances in which increased bile production may not be beneficial to your health. 

Too much bile can cause bile acid diarrhea. This is because bile acids inhibit the reabsorption of water. 

You can have your bile levels checked with a stool sample. Increasing your fiber intake can help slow down diarrhea. 

If your stomach acid is too alkaline, you may have damage to your small intestine or a hyperthyroid condition like Graves’ disease. In these situations, you shouldn’t take more bile salts.

Liver and gallbladder

Key takeaways

Bile is vital to the entire gastrointestinal system, so it is important to make sure you’re producing enough. You need bile to utilize fat for energy, extract fat-soluble vitamins, and absorb omega-3 fatty acids. 

Proper digestion of fats is key for keto-adaptation. Try adding the ten foods and supplements listed above to your diet. This will help you produce the bile you need to use fat as fuel, absorb vital nutrients, and maintain balance in your microbiome. 

Focus on improving your bile output to improve fat digestion and your overall digestive wellness.


1. How can I increase bile production?

Beet tops, ginger, artichoke, lemon, lime, dandelion greens, milk thistle, choline, turmeric, betaine, and purified bile salts are excellent for improving bile function and flow. Keto and intermittent fasting can also help. 

2. Why do I have low bile?

Poor dieting, gallbladder removal, and gastrointestinal issues are the most common causes of low bile.

3. What herbs increase bile?

Milk thistle is a flowering herb that can help increase bile. It’s also known for its liver detoxification properties.

4. What foods are good for bile production?

Beet tops, ginger, artichokes, lemons, limes, dandelion greens, and turmeric are all good foods to help stimulate bile production.

5. What are the best supplements to increase bile production? 

TUDCA, choline, betaine hydrochloride, and bile salt supplements are great for supporting bile production.

6. What are the symptoms of low bile?

Deficiencies in fat-soluble vitamins, constipation, bloating, gallstones, floating stool, fatty liver, and jaundice can be signs of bile deficiency.

7. What are the symptoms of too much bile?

Bile acid diarrhea and bile acid reflux are signs of too much bile. 

8. What causes too much bile?

Gallbladder removal may cause too much bile because there’s no longer something to regulate bile exiting the liver. Damage to the small intestine can also cause too much bile.

9. What is bile sludge?

Bile sludge is a concentration of cholesterol without the thinning agent, bile. Over time, gallstones can develop from bile sludge

10. How can I get rid of bile sludge?

Try my Gallbladder Formula and a combination of keto and intermittent fasting to get rid of bile sludge!

11. What are the signs of gallstones?

Signs of gallstones include bloating, indigestion, excess burping, constipation, pain/cramping underneath the right rib cage, right scapular pain, chest pain, nausea, and floating stool. These symptoms may worsen after eating fatty foods. 

12. What are the best natural bile salts? 

Composed of natural ingredients like ox bile extract and slippery elm bark, my Gallbladder Formula is the perfect natural bile salt supplement. 

13. Can I take bile salts if I don’t have a gallbladder? 

Yes! Bile salts can help improve bile flow even if you don’t have a gallbladder.

14. Can not having a gallbladder decrease bile?

No. However, your liver will constantly drip bile into your digestive system rather than storing and concentrating it for when you consume fats.

15. Can low bile cause high cholesterol?

Yes, because bile helps to rid the body of excess cholesterol.

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