gallbladder removal supplements, supplements for gallbladder removal, supplements to take after gallbladder removal

7 Best Supplements for Gallbladder Removal

Last modified on May 25th, 2023

Our picks for the five best supplements for gallbladder removal are:

  • Ox bile
  • Grassfed beef gallbladder
  • Taurine
  • Milk thistle
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Vitamin D3
  • Dandelion

Once you have your gallbladder removed, it can change your health needs. Certain supplements for gallbladder removal can be important to incorporate into your routine, which we detail below.

What Does Your Gallbladder Do?

A small pear-shaped organ, your gallbladder, is located beneath your liver. The gallbladder stores and releases bile. Bile is a fluid your liver makes and helps you digest fat from your diet. The gallbladder is part of our digestive system, and its primary function is storing bile. Bile helps your digestive system to break down fats. Bile is made up of bile salts, bilirubin, and cholesterol.

The gallbladder connects to other parts of the digestive system through the biliary tract, a series of bile ducts. This pipe-like system will carry bile from your liver to the small intestine.

Before you eat, your gallbladder will be full of bile. Then once you eat, your gallbladder gets signals to contract, squeezing out stored bile through the biliary tract. The bile will eventually go to the largest bile duct, which is known as the common bile duct, and bile will pass through it and into the duodenum.

The duodenum is the first part of your small intestine. Once the bile reaches the small intestine, it mixes with food that needs to be digested. Once you eat, the gallbladder empties, and then it waits to be filled again.

Gallbladder Conditions

There are a number of conditions that can create problems in the gallbladder. One of the most common is gallstones. These are pebble-like, and they’re made up of bile material. They can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. Gallstones can be painful, although they’re usually harmless.

Other issues affecting the gallbladder include:

  • Cholecystitis is an inflammation of the gallbladder. It can cause a fever and pain and typically requires surgery.
  • Gallstone pancreatitis is an inflamed pancreas, which happens when a gallstone travels down someone’s common bile duct, and then blocks a pancreatic duct.
  • Gallbladder cancer is rare, but it can occur.

The signs and symptoms of problems with the gallbladder include:

  • Pain in the upper right abdomen or upper mid-abdomen
  • Upper right abdominal pain that radiates to the right shoulder or your back
  • Pain when you eat a fatty meal
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Light-colored poop
  • Light-brown urine
  • Jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin and the eye whites

People who are overweight and especially women, are at the highest risk of developing gallstones because overweight people have more cholesterol in their bile. If you’re overweight, your gallbladder can also be bigger and not work as well. If you lose weight quickly, this can also raise the chances of developing gallstones.

Gallbladder Removal

Surgeries to remove the gallbladder are fairly common. The surgery to remove your gallbladder is known as a cholecystectomy. You don’t need a gallbladder, so surgery may be recommended whenever someone develops a problem with the small organ.

For example, you might have gallbladder removal if you have painful gallstones.

There are two primary types of gallbladder surgery. The first is a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, which means several minor cuts are made in the abdomen. Then, small surgical instruments access and remove the gallbladder.

An open cholecystectomy involves a larger incision in the abdomen to remove the gallbladder.

With laparoscopic surgery, also known as keyhole gallbladder removal, you tend to be able to recover faster and leave the hospital faster, compared to an open procedure. When possible, it’s the preferred method.

If you have keyhole surgery to remove the gallbladder, you might be able to leave the hospital the same day or the next morning.

Overall, you can live everyday life without a gallbladder because your liver should pick up the slack to make the bile digest food. However, the difference here is that instead of being stored in your gallbladder, the bile continuously drips into your digestive system.

Some people experience bloating, and diarrhea after gallbladder surgery, and they may notice that certain foods or drinks trigger the symptoms more than others.

People without a gallbladder may notice they’re more prone to digestive problems and liver problems. The risk of developing a fatty liver is also more significant in people without a gallbladder.

When you don’t have a gallbladder, if you eat a fatty meal, your body may not be able to secrete enough bile into your intestines. The fat is poorly digested in this case, which is why you might experience symptoms like indigestion, bloating, or nausea. You can’t digest essential fatty acids such as omega-3s either. You’ll have difficulty absorbing fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, and K. You need these vitamins—they’re essential for overall health.

If your liver isn’t healthy, which could have been the underlying reason you had your gallbladder removed in the first place, then it’s not going to make high-quality bile.

If you don’t have a gallbladder, in addition to the supplements for gallbladder removal we talk about below, minimize your intake of grain and dairy products, or cut them out altogether. These foods worsen gallbladder disease and liver disease and are also hard to digest.

Some researchers link food intolerance as a cause of gallbladder problems, and there’s also research that associates gluten intolerance with gallstones. Plus, grains can increase the risk of developing a fatty liver.

With those things in mind, below we describe some of the best supplements for gallbladder removal.

1. Ox Bile

  • What Is it? Ox bile is one of the most important supplements for gallbladder removal, and ox bile is a supplemental form of bile acid.
  • The Benefits: Ox bile supplements provide robust support for the digestive system and help break down fat in the digestive tract.
  • How much should you take? Consider having one to two capsules of ox bile during each meal.
  • Are there side effects? If you experience diarrhea quite a bit, you might avoid ox bile supplements because when they’re unabsorbed, they can go directly to the colon and have effects like a laxative. Consider lowering your dose if you take an ox bile supplement and experience diarrhea. Some people also experience colon inflammation, but typically when they take too high an amount.

If you don’t have a gallbladder, one of the first supplements you should consider taking is ox bile. Ox bile is a powerful remedy for bile salts or bile deficiency.

Bile is a digestive liquid that you need to break down fats that we consume in our diet. Bile salts are important because they help our body properly excrete cholesterol and toxic compounds, such as drug metabolites and bilirubin. Bile salt benefits also include promoting liver function and promoting a good balance of bacteria in the gut.

A lack of bile following gallbladder removal can cause various symptoms, including diarrhea, fatigue after meals, nutrient deficiencies, bloating, and indigestion. Taking a high-quality ox bile supplement after every meal makes you likely to see these symptoms get better or go away altogether.

Ox bile supplements can help regulate cholesterol and even fight infections.

They’re an excellent supplement for liver health. Ox bile supplements promote better liver function by helping the liver more effectively remove toxic substances. These supplements can support a range of conditions affecting the liver, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

After gallbladder removal, taking an ox bile supplement helps your body break down fat-soluble vitamins and fats, so you can digest and absorb them. They positively affect gut bacteria and help control blood sugar levels.

Taking a bile supplement can also trigger the release of glutathione, which protects the liver from oxidative injury.

Along with having your gallbladder removed, there are other indicators that you might have a bile salt deficiency. You might have a bile salt deficiency if you’re vitamin deficient and regularly experience bloating, abdominal tightness, digestive issues, or gallstones. Other symptoms include hormonal imbalance, liver damage, and jaundice.

Ox bile supplements for gallbladder removal to consider trying include:

2. Grassfed Gallbladder  

  • What Is it? If you don’t have a gallbladder, you can take a supplement that’s a bovine extract from a gallbladder.
  • The Benefits: Taking a gallbladder supplement can replace some of what you might be missing without a gallbladder, including building blocks specific to the gallbladder needed for digestion.
  • How much should you take? A desiccated gallbladder supplement is essentially food, so take whatever dosage the manufacturer recommends.
  • Are there side effects? You shouldn’t experience side effects from a desiccated beef gallbladder supplement, but if you do, you might consider taking a smaller dose and working your way up to a larger one.

If you regularly read this blog, you know I’m a big fan of Ancestral Supplements, and their grass-fed beef gallbladder is an excellent product. This is one of the best supplements for gallbladder removal because it follows the principle of like-supporting-like. The idea is that our ancestors would eat parts of animals corresponding to illnesses or their health needs. If someone were dealing with a heart issue, for example, they would consume a fresh heart.

Ancestral Supplements takes vital organs and puts them into a supplement that makes them more accessible and palatable.

The Ancestral Supplements Grassfed Beef Gallbladder can support you when you don’t have your gallbladder. This supplement contains peptides, enzymes, and gallbladder-specific proteins.

The supplement contains molecular biodirectors and essential blueprints in DNA used for building and repairing healthy tissue.

A gallbladder supplement from a cow will contain trace minerals and bile acids, as well as antioxidants that come from bile, including glutathione, vitamin E, melatonin, and bilirubin. Gallbladder supplements from beef have methylation raw materials like B12, folate, and choline.

Read reviews for the Ancestral Supplements gallbladder product. You’ll see that people who had their gallbladder removed find enormous benefits with this product,  including less bloating and belly issues and reductions in symptoms like acid reflux. It’s a must for anyone without a gallbladder and anyone who wants to optimize their health and digestion.

You can buy the Ancestral Supplements Grassfed Gallbladder here:

3. Taurine   

  • What Is it? Taurine is an amino acid considered conditionally essential, which means it becomes essential when we’re under stress or experiencing illness. Taurine also acts as a substrate for bile salts and helps form bile.
  • The Benefits: Adding taurine to your supplements for gallbladder removal can help your body form bile, increasing bile flow and the excretion of bile acids.
  • How much should you take? There’s no recommended daily amount of taurine, but it can come from food, and our bodies make some as well, so you likely can’t take too much. You might aim for anywhere from 400 to 3,000 mg of taurine daily.
  • Are there side effects? When moderate amounts of taurine are consumed, it’s considered safe, but if you take too much, you could experience symptoms like headache, stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting.  

Taurine can have gallbladder benefits if you still have yours. For example, there’s evidence taurine is beneficial for dissolving gallstones.

Taurine is an amino acid that your body needs to produce bile. Adding taurine to your diet can help you feel more comfortable after you eat and reduce uncomfortable symptoms. Taurine can also reduce the risk of stones forming in your liver.

When you take taurine, it conjugates bile acids. The liver produces bile, and bile acids bind with either taurine or glycine to make bile salts. Glycine and taurine have different properties, although both help in the digestive process.

Bile acids that are taurine-conjugated are more water-soluble and less toxic, so they’re preferred. Conjugation of bile salts with taurine makes the bile less toxic.

Taurine helps assist the passage of potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium ions. It can protect against bile stagnation caused by bile thickening and reduce triglycerides in the liver. Taurine increases brown fat activity, increasing fat loss.

Along with helping with bile production and being an essential supplement for gallbladder removal, taurine is an antioxidant and supports detoxification. Taurine can help your body more effectively remove toxins and reduce damage to organs and tissues from oxidative stress.

Taurine supports cardiovascular health, and it’s been studied for having positive effects on serum lipids, which are fats. Taurine has protective fats against fat deposition and obesity.

As a component in protecting and regenerating brain cells, taurine can help protect your brain from damage caused by toxins, stress, and aging. Some studies are currently looking at the potential of taurine as a neurotransmitter because it’s important for balancing neurotransmitters like GABA. Taurine is also being looked at as a potential remedy for psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety and to help with brain fog and stress. In animal and human studies, taurine supplementation appears to help reduce age-related memory loss and cognitive dysfunction.

In human research, a combination treatment of curcumin, taurine, and piperine even helped increase overall survival rates in people with liver cancer.

High-quality taurine supplements for gallbladder removal include:

4. Milk Thistle  

  • What Is it? Milk thistle is an herbal dietary supplement often used for liver conditions, diseases, and gallbladder disorders.
  • The Benefits: Milk thistle can help with hepatitis, jaundice, cirrhosis, diabetes, and indigestion, according to people who use it.
  • How much should you take? Doses of milk thistle are usually 175 mg up to 1,000 mg, and taking 150-175 mg three times a day is considered safe.
  • Are there side effects? With milk thistle, the higher the dose someone takes, the more likelihood of side effects, but overall, it is considered reasonably safe. Milk thistle should be used cautiously in pregnant women, people allergic to this family of plants, and people with hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer. Milk thistle can have estrogenic effects, so you shouldn’t take it if you have a hormone-sensitive condition.

If you don’t have a gallbladder, you should consider milk thistle. Milk thistle is an herbal remedy from a plant known as Silybum marianum. Silymarin is a group of plant compounds found in milk thistle, considered what gives it medicinal effects.

In traditional medicine, silymarin has long been used to help treat gallbladder and liver disorders, prevent and treat cancer, and protect the liver from toxins and poisons.

Perhaps the most common reason people use milk thistle as a supplement is its liver-protective effects. It can potentially help reduce liver inflammation and liver damage.

Milk thistle helps provide your liver with extra support, which it needs as it’s working without a gallbladder. It can help boost your production of bile, which can then reduce digestive problems. If you have no gallbladder or gallbladder problems, you may have been struggling with digestion and digestive discomfort for a long time, and milk thistle can help with these concerns.

Of course, milk thistle isn’t just one of the best supplements for gallbladder removal; it has many other impressive benefits.

Because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, milk thistle may prevent age-related brain function decline. Milk thistle may reduce amyloid plaques in the brain, which has been demonstrated in animal studies. Amyloid plaques build up between nerve cells as you age, often seen in high numbers in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.

Milk thistle may protect against bone loss and could stimulate bone mineralization.

There’s evidence that milk thistle might also improve certain cancer treatments’ effectiveness or reduce their side effects.

Some people use milk thistle to support the production of breast milk, and it may help with acne by reducing oxidative stress.

Milk thistle brands I recommend include:

5. Digestive Enzymes  

  • What Is it? Digestive enzymes are proteins in our bodies that break food into smaller parts so it can be used more efficiently. Along with digestive enzymes being made by the body, you can take them as an oral supplement. Digestive enzymes include amylase, lactase, maltase, and sucrase.
  • The Benefits: Digestive enzymes help your body break down food so you can absorb the most nutrients. They also promote better digestive health and reduce symptoms like gas and bloating.
  • How much should you take? Many types of digestive enzymes are available as supplements, so you should follow the directions from the manufacturer. Most people take them with every meal.
  • Are there side effects? Side effects are safe if you don’t overdo it, but some people might experience mild side effects like cramping, diarrhea, and nausea.

Digestive enzymes can naturally occur in our bodies as proteins that help facilitate the breakdown of food and digestion. Digestion is when our bodies absorb and use the nutrients from our food to provide energy and perform a vital function.

When you eat, digestion starts in your mouth, as your saliva begins breaking down food into what can be absorbed by your body. The stomach, pancreas, and small intestine all make digestive enzymes. The pancreas is the digestive enzyme powerhouse: the pancreas produces the digestive enzymes that break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

If you have an insufficiency of digestive enzymes, it can lead to GI irritation and malnutrition. Common symptoms of digestive enzyme insufficiency include belly pain and cramps, diarrhea, bloating, gas, oily stools, and unexplained weight loss. One reason people might have enzyme insufficiency is gastrointestinal surgery, like gallbladder removal.

Over the counter, digestive enzymes often contain protein, lipase, and amylase, which can help with symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea, and acid reflux.

If you’ve had your gallbladder removed, a digestive enzyme supplement will improve digestion and reduce indigestion symptoms.

Digestive enzyme supplements that are high-quality include:

 6. Vitamin D3  

  • What Is it? Vitamin D3 is also known as cholecalciferol. Vitamin D is a nutrient and a hormone, a fat-soluble vitamin, and it is important for building bone.
  • The Benefits: Vitamin D helps the body absorb and retain phosphorous and calcium. Vitamin D helps control infection, reduce the growth of cancer cells, and reduce inflammation. Most organs in the body have vitamin D receptors, indicating its essential roles.
  • How much should you take? Vitamin D is considered safe to take in even high doses, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the product you choose.
  • Are there side effects? Vitamin D is a vitamin that our bodies need to function correctly, so as long as someone doesn’t take massive amounts, it’s considered safe.

We’re constantly learning more about the benefits of vitamin D and its role in our health.

When you get your gallbladder removed, it may reduce your vitamin D and magnesium levels. This is likely due to the fact that it becomes harder for your body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins in general. People with digestive problems or compromised liver are also frequently vitamin D deficient.

Our bodies are triggered to make vitamin D with sun exposure, but the process occurs in the liver and kidneys. If your liver function is sluggish, you might not make enough vitamin D.

One of the best supplements to take for gallbladder removal to ensure optimal health is vitamin D, to keep your levels sufficient.

Vitamin D3 supplements I recommend are:

7. Dandelion  

  • What Is it? Dandelion is more than a weed—the roots, flowers, and leaves are found in supplements and teas and support liver, heart, and skin health.
  • The Benefits: Dandelion is one of the best supplements for gallbladder removal because it can help sluggish liver function. Dandelion roots and leaves, in particular, can stimulate the digestive system and help your body produce more bile.  
  • How much should you take? Follow the manufacturer’s instructions if you’re taking a tincture or capsules. You can also have a cup of dandelion tea before meals to aid digestion.
  • Are there side effects? Dandelions are considered safe more most people, with potential side effects including skin irritation, heartburn, or an allergic reaction.

Dandelion roots and leaves can be an essential part of the list of the best gallbladder removal supplements because they can support your liver function and help decongest a stagnant liver. Dandelion also keeps lymph flowing throughout your body and prevents the formation of stones, and it helps with fluid congestion and stimulates healthy digestion.

Dandelion can improve liver damage and reduce levels of excess fat stored in the liver.

Dandelion has other benefits, too, whether or not you have a gallbladder. For example, there’s growing evidence about its role in cancer. In animal studies, dandelion root extract helps suppress the growth and spread of breast cancer cells.

Other studies in test tubes have shown dandelion could slow the growth of cancer cells in the colon, liver, and stomach. Some studies and anecdotal reports indicate dandelion could help with blood-related cancers and myelodysplastic disorders.

Dandelion can help lower blood pressure, probably because of its diuretic effects, it can reduce cholesterol levels and may help manage blood sugar.

If you’re interested in dandelion as one of the best supplements for gallbladder removal, I recommend the following options:

Final Thoughts—The Best Supplements For Gallbladder Removal

Gallbladder removal is a fairly standard procedure, but many people don’t do enough to support their health, digestion, and nutrient absorption following the removal of their gallbladder. The supplements above can keep your liver strong and healthy and promote better digestion, so you’re absorbing all the nutrients from the foods you eat and making sure your entire digestive system is functioning optimally, even though you’ve had your gallbladder removed.

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