How to Know if You Have Bile Deficiency

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/07/2024

Bile deficiency symptoms can often be overlooked, yet they may indicate impaired digestion, which can impact overall health.

Discover how bile assists in breaking down fats, extracting vital nutrients such as fat-soluble vitamins, and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.

Learn to identify common bile deficiency symptoms, such as low levels of fat-soluble vitamins, jaundice, and constipation.

Functions of Bile

Bile breaks down fats, extracts fat-soluble vitamins, maintains microbial balance, prevents fat buildup in the liver, removes toxic waste, eliminates excess cholesterol, and lubricates the colon for easier digestion.

Bile breaks down dietary fats into micelles for efficient absorption and utilization of vital nutrients and aids in absorbing fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) necessary for vision, bone health, antioxidant protection, and blood clotting processes.

Bile also maintains a balanced gut microbiome by inhibiting harmful pathogens and promoting beneficial gut flora, which is essential for optimal digestive functioning.

Recognizing symptoms of bile deficiency can help address potential health issues early on, preventing more severe health consequences.

Symptoms of Bile Deficiency

Signs of bile deficiency can include reduced vision in dim light, aches and pains in bones, mood swings, dry skin or weak muscles, yellowing of the eyes, constipation, fatty liver formation, feeling heavy after eating, and changes in the color or consistency of stool.

Vitamin K deficiency, Doctor writing on transparent screen

Fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies

A lack of bile can lead to deficiencies in fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K, which play crucial roles in maintaining overall health.

  • Vitamin A is essential for vision and immune function.

  • Vitamin D supports bone health and mood regulation.

  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant, helping protect cells from harmful free radicals.

  • Vitamin K aids blood clotting processes and prevents excessive bleeding.

If you experience related symptoms like poor night vision or frequent bruising without apparent cause, discuss with your healthcare provider the possibility of a bile deficiency.


Jaundice is another sign that may indicate impaired bile production. The disease can be recognized by a yellowing of the skin and eyes.

If you are concerned about jaundice, consult a healthcare provider as soon as possible to determine its underlying cause and formulate an appropriate treatment plan.

Constipation due to insufficient bile production

Inadequate bile levels can lead to constipation, which might manifest itself through infrequent bowel movements. If other symptoms of bile deficiency are present alongside this digestive problem, it could indicate that your body is not producing enough bile.

People with bile deficiencies may also experience bloating after meals or changes in stool color due to improper fat breakdown.

5 Causes of Bile Deficiency

Here are some common causes of bile deficiency.

1. Low-fat diets

A low-fat diet may appear beneficial but can impede the body's natural bile production.

2. Fatty liver disease

Excessive fat in your liver can impair its ability to produce and secrete bile, leading to deficiencies.

3. Gallbladder issues

If you've had your gallbladder removed or suffer from inflammation or gallstones, your bile regulation may be impacted.

4. Gut bacteria imbalance

Without enough beneficial gut bacteria, your body may struggle to recycle existing bile, lowering overall levels.

5. Gastrointestinal damage

Damage to the gastrointestinal tract caused by conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease can inhibit the absorption of bile and other essential nutrients.

Addressing Bile Deficiency with Supplements

Taking bile salts after meals can help alleviate symptoms if you suspect a bile deficiency.

Bile salts like TUDCA have numerous benefits and can help with gastrointestinal issues.

Bile salt supplements aid in breaking down fats for better absorption by the body and may relieve symptoms such as bloating, constipation, and difficulty digesting fatty foods.

  • Improved fat digestion: Bile salts break down large fat molecules into smaller ones for easy absorption.

  • Promotes liver health: Bile helps remove toxic waste products from our bodies, supporting liver function.

  • Symptom relief: Bile salt supplements may provide relief for digestive issues related to poor relief

Healthcare consultation

When to See A Healthcare Professional

Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation regimen.

A healthcare professional can help decide the appropriate dose of supplements based on individual characteristics such as age, body weight, medical history, and current health state.

  1. Evaluate symptoms: A thorough assessment by a healthcare professional ensures that bile deficiency is the cause of your digestive issues.

  2. Determine appropriate dosage: They can suggest the proper supplement intake.

  3. Monitor progress: Regular check-ins with your healthcare provider will ensure the supplements work effectively without causing adverse side effects or interactions with other medications.


Understanding the functions of bile is crucial for maintaining good health - it breaks down fats, extracts essential nutrients, and promotes a healthy gut microbiome.

Symptoms of bile deficiency include low levels of fat-soluble vitamins, jaundice, and constipation, and it's essential to recognize these signs and address them promptly.

Causes of bile deficiency can range from low-fat diets to liver damage and gallbladder issues. Bile salt supplements can be an effective solution to promote healthy digestion and improve symptoms of bile deficiency.


1. What Are The Symptoms of Bile Deficiency

Difficulty digesting fats, low levels of fat-soluble vitamins, jaundice, constipation, and disrupted gut microbiome.

2. What Are The Causes of Insufficient Bile Production?

Low-fat diets, fatty liver disease, absent or dysfunctional gallbladder, Crohn's disease, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and vitamin B12 deficiency are all potential causes of low levels of bile production.

3. What Supplements for Bile Deficiency?

Bile salt supplements aid in breaking down fats for better absorption and extracting vital nutrients like fat-soluble vitamins. Taking a bile supplement is especially recommended for those who have had their gallbladder removed.

4. How Do I Fix Low Bile Production?

Identify underlying causes, make dietary changes, and consider taking bile salt supplements after consulting a healthcare professional.

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