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STOP Doing Gallbladder Flushes with Olive Oil

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/08/2024

Several natural remedies can promote digestive health and prevent the painful complications of gallstone formation.

Discover the origins of gallstones and debunk some prevalent misconceptions about gallbladder disease. Learn the truth about gallbladder flushes and how certain dietary habits may be beneficial in preventing gallstones.

Explore the various health conditions linked to decreased bile production and their impact on your risk of developing stones.

The Truth About Gallbladder Flushes

Many believe gallbladder flushes, which often include consuming large amounts of olive oil, can help to treat gallstones.

However, these flushes may not be as beneficial as you think and can increase your risk of developing gallstones by depleting essential bile salts needed for proper digestion.

Debunking the myth that a high-fat diet causes gallstones

Contrary to popular belief, a high-fat diet does not necessarily cause gallstones.

Healthy fats are crucial for maintaining optimal health and benefit gallbladder function. The key is consuming the right fats while avoiding carbs, sugars, and unhealthy trans fats in processed foods.

Understanding the role of bile in fat digestion

Bile is necessary for breaking down fats into digestible particles by emulsifying them into tiny droplets in the small intestine. Produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder, bile is released into the small intestine upon consumption of fatty foods.

Gallstone formation occurs when there's an imbalance between cholesterol levels and bile production - precisely when there's too much cholesterol compared to available bile salts. This leads to crystal formations within the biliary system called gallstones.

Rather than resorting to potentially harmful flushes with olive oil, focus on maintaining a nutritious diet and supporting your body's natural ability to produce and release bile.  Including healthy fats, such as those in avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish like salmon, in your diet promotes bile production and flow and may lower the risk of gallstone formation.

Additionally, addressing any underlying health issues contributing to decreased bile production or gallstone formation is crucial.

What Causes Gallstones?

An imbalance between cholesterol levels and bile production primarily causes gallstones.

When an overabundance of cholesterol exists in the bile, it can solidify and form stones. Various factors contribute to this imbalance, potentially decreasing bile production and increasing gallstone development chances.

High Estrogen Levels Affect Bile Production

High estrogen levels, such as those experienced during pregnancy or from taking oral contraceptives, can decrease bile secretion.

Estrogen increases the liver's cholesterol production while reducing its ability to eliminate excess amounts through the bile. This creates an environment conducive to gallstone formation.

Low-Fat Diets Reducing Bile Flow 

A low-fat diet may seem like a healthy choice; however, it can reduce the amount of bile released into your digestive system.

Bile is essential for breaking down fats and absorbing fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). When you consume less fat than your body requires, your gallbladder doesn't empty, leading to the stagnation of concentrated residual substances that could turn into gallstones over time.

Stress Increases Gallstone Risks

Stress-induced cortisol increases have been linked with higher risks of developing gallstones due to their effect on metabolism and digestion processes within our bodies.

Cortisol's influence on blood sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance, increasing the chances of gallstone formation. Furthermore, stress can cause restricted bile duct contractions that hinder bile flow from the liver to the gallbladder.

Other Factors Contributing to Gallstone Formation

Age: The risk of developing gallstones increases due to reduced bile production and secretion efficiency.

Obesity: Excess body weight is associated with an increased risk for gallstones due to higher cholesterol levels and decreased ability for proper digestion.

Rapid weight loss: Losing weight too quickly can disrupt normal metabolic processes, causing an imbalance between cholesterol and bile salts that may result in stone formation.

To prevent gallstones, it's essential to understand the underlying causes and make appropriate lifestyle changes accordingly. Limit sugar and carbs, avoid harmful trans-fats, and consume a diet rich in healthy fats, vegetables, and fiber. Incorporating extra virgin olive oil into your diet can also help prevent gallstones.

While dietary changes can promote gallbladder health, seeking medical attention immediately is crucial if you experience symptoms such as acute cholecystitis or bile duct obstruction.

Health Conditions Linked to Decreased Bile Production

This section will explore common health issues associated with low bile production and increased risk of developing gallstones.

Recognizing how insulin resistance, fatty liver disease, diabetes, and certain medications can contribute to this problem is essential in understanding the importance of maintaining proper bile flow.

Insulin Resistance Leading to Reduced Bile Secretion

Research has shown that insulin resistance can lead to a decrease in bile secretion.

Elevated insulin, typically a result of a high-carb diet, can impair normal gallbladder contraction and a reduction in bile secretion linked to a higher risk of gallstone formation.

Fatty Liver Disease and Gallbladder Health

Fatty liver disease occurs when excess fat accumulates within the liver cells.

This condition impairs overall liver function and affects its ability to produce sufficient bile salts. Excess fat in the liver impairs bile production, increasing the risk of gallstone formation.

Statin Use Decreasing Bile Acids 

Studies have found that statin uses - medications prescribed primarily for lowering cholesterol levels - may be linked with decreased availability of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which plays a vital role in bile production.

CoQ10 is necessary for the synthesis of bile acids, and its depletion can lead to a reduced ability to break down fats properly, increasing the risk of gallstone formation.

Natural Remedies for Breaking Down Stones

While addressing the root causes of gallstone formation is essential, natural remedies can also help lower your risk of gallstones and promote healthy digestion.

These remedies may improve fat digestion, stimulate bile flow, and potentially dissolve existing gallstones. 

Lemon Juice's 

Lemon juice has effectively broken down kidney stones and gallstones due to its high citrate content.

Citrate helps prevent calcium from binding with other compounds, thus preventing the formation of stones. Additionally, lemon juice increases urine volume and pH levels, making it harder for gallstones to form or grow more prominent.

  • Mix two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice with one tablespoon of olive oil as a remedy for gallstones, and drink it on an empty stomach every morning until you notice improvements in your symptoms.

  • For maximum benefits, you can add fresh lemon slices or a splash of pure lemon juice to your water throughout the day.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV), another popular home remedy known for its numerous health benefits, has been found effective at breaking down deposits within our body system, such as kidney stones and potentially smaller-sized gallstones.

ACV contains acetic acid, which helps dissolve minerals like calcium oxalate - a common component in many gallstones.

  • Mix one tablespoon of raw, unfiltered ACV with a glass of warm water to use apple cider vinegar for gallstone prevention.

  • Drink this mixture on an empty stomach every morning and before meals to promote healthy digestion and prevent gallbladder stone formation.

It is important to note that these natural remedies may not be effective in breaking down larger-sized stones or eliminating the risk of developing gallstones.

They should be used as complementary treatments alongside addressing underlying causes such as improving bile production and maintaining a nutritious diet. 

If you have concerns about your gallbladder health, seeking advice from a healthcare professional is essential.

Purified Bile Salts for Preventing and Treating Gallstones

Bile salts are crucial for breaking down fats and may help dissolve bile sludge and existing stones. 

Ensuring your body has enough bile salts can be an effective way to support the health of your gallbladder.

Gallstone Prevention Remedies

Gallstones are a common health issue that affects many people worldwide.

When bile inside the gallbladder hardens into stones, it can trigger severe pain, discomfort, and inflammation and may increase the risk of liver disease. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent gallstones from forming in the first place.

What Causes Gallstones?

Gallstones form when cholesterol and bile acids are imbalanced in the bile ducts.

When there is too much cholesterol, it can crystallize and turn into stones. Rapid weight loss or acute cholecystitis (gallbladder inflammation) can increase your risk of developing gallstones.

Ox Bile Benefits

Bile salts play a crucial role in preventing the formation of cholesterol stones by keeping excess cholesterol dissolved in the bile, which controls its crystallization and helps maintain healthy liver function while aiding digestion.

Taking ox bile supplements may be beneficial if you are looking for natural ways to support your digestive system. 

Bile Salts Maintain Healthy Digestion

Bile salts play a critical role in fat digestion and absorption.

When consuming fatty items, your body secretes these compounds into the small intestine to break down fat molecules and make them more readily absorbed.

This process ensures proper nutrient utilization while preventing undigested fats from accumulating within your digestive tract.

Maintaining cholesterol balance: Bile salts help regulate cholesterol levels by binding with excess cholesterol and eliminating it. 

Promoting gut health: Bile salts support a healthy gut environment by promoting beneficial bacteria to grow and inhibiting the proliferation of potentially harmful microbes. 

Aiding detoxification: Bile is essential in eliminating toxins from our bodies as it binds with waste products necessary for excretion. 

Purified Bile Salts Can Help Dissolve Existing Stones

In addition to their preventative benefits, purified bile salts may also assist with dissolving already-formed gallstones.

Increasing the concentration of these vital substances within your system encourages breakdown processes that can effectively reduce or eliminate the stone size over time.

Some studies have shown promising results with oral bile acid therapy in dissolving small cholesterol gallstones.

It's important to note that while this approach may benefit some individuals, it is not a guaranteed solution for everyone. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or are taking medications.


Lowering your risk of gallstones involves understanding the role of bile in fat digestion, identifying potential risk factors such as high estrogen levels and stress-induced cortisol increases, and incorporating natural remedies like lemon juice and apple cider vinegar into your diet. 

Taking purified bile salts, avoiding carbs and sugars, consuming plenty of healthy fats, and increasing your fiber intake helps to maintain healthy digestion and promote healthy bile flow. 


1. What are the remedies to prevent gallstones?

To prevent gallstones, maintain a healthy weight, eat a nutritious diet rich in healthy fats and fiber, avoid rapid weight loss, and stay physically active. Consider incorporating natural remedies such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar into your routine.

2. How can I prevent gallstones naturally?

Naturally preventing gallstones involves maintaining a nutritious high-fat diet rich in fiber while avoiding sugars and carbs, which reduce bile release.

Stay hydrated and engage in regular physical activity to promote overall health and manage stress levels to minimize cortisol's impact on bile production.

3. What is the Chinese herb for gallstones?

The Chinese herb commonly used for treating gallstones is gold coin grass (Lysimachia christinae), known for its ability to help dissolve stones by softening them and promoting their expulsion from the body.

4. What herbs dissolve gallstones naturally?

Natural herbs known for dissolving gallstones include gold coin grass (Lysimachia christinae), milk thistle (Silybum marianum), dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale), turmeric (Curcuma longa), and artichoke leaf extract (Cynara scolymus).

These herbs may support liver function, increase bile flow, or possess anti-inflammatory properties that aid in breaking down stones.

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