Your Gallbladder: Why It Matters

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give a second thought about your gallbladder—until it starts giving you trouble. This tiny little organ is responsible for proper digestion of fats and works closely with the liver. Located in the upper right part of the abdomen, it is shaped like an eggplant and it about 4 to 5 inches long. Despite its small size, it carries out some major functions for your body.

What the Gallbladder Does

The gallbladder’s main job is to store bile that’s used to break down and digest fats. It works in close conjunction with the liver, which is responsible for creating the bile in the first place. The gallbladder holds the bile at the ready until it gets a signal from the small intestine. Once that happens the gallbladder releases the bile where it flows into the small intestine and goes to work on the fats you ate.

When Things Go Wrong

As people age, they often have gallbladder issues. Women are especially prone to trouble as they reach menopause, partly because of hormonal issues that cause this organ to become sluggish.

The most common gallbladder issue is gallstones. They are formed from cholesterol and bile that congeal into hardened deposits. Many people have them but never experience any symptoms. However, if you find that you suffer from pain in the upper right abdomen after eating heavy, fatty or greasy foods, it could signal trouble.

Why it Matters

Maintaining gallbladder health is important. Although gallbladder removal surgery is quite common (over 500,000 per year in the U.S. alone) it is not always the best thing for your body.

Conventional medicine will tell you that this is a non-vital organ and while you can live without a gallbladder, it just isn’t the same. Yes, the liver still produces bile and yes it will be able to travel to the small intestines to do its job, but it won’t be as effective. The gallbladder has concentrated bile always at the ready to break down fats. And fats are essential to our health and nutrition. As a result of surgery, your digestion won’t be as efficient and your body may not be absorbing all its necessary good fats.

When you miss out on your good fats it can lead to other problems like poor nervous system function, cardiovascular disease and even issues with blood sugar regulation.

It’s also important to know that fats can hold toxins and if not broken down and utilized properly, they can result in toxic sludge circulating around the body. The gallbladder helps provide the concentrated chemical for the cleanup crew. Without it, your body will need some extra help in handling the toxin load. Lifestyle changes are a must and you’ll likely need help from supplements like enzymes and bile salts.

While you can function without a gallbladder, life is much easier with one. So don’t discount your gallbladder—it matters!

Photo: Pexels

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