Taking Bile Salts as Supplements
Have you had your gallbladder removed, and you have digestive issues such as indigestion, gas, and bloating? Are you experiencing a slow but constant downward spiral in your health? You may have had your surgery a month ago or 30 years ago – you may suddenly have symptoms, or you may have been living with them for years. Doctors offer little assistance in dealing with these problems, because according to them, “you don’t have to change what you eat.” Unfortunately, having your gallbladder removed only treats the symptoms, not the underlying causes of the gallstones in the first place.
However, with thousands of patients suffering indigestion, bloating and a slow decline in health post-surgery, naturopaths have done their own research, and a lot of evidence points to a lack of bile salts. Find out about this supplement below and how it can benefit you.
Why Bile Salts?
Because the gallbladder aids in the digestion of fats, removal of the gallbladder can result in such symptoms as indigestion and gas due to improper absorption of fats. This is because bile, which includes bile salts, is no longer gushed into the intestines in adequate quantity to digest the amount of fat found in a large meal.
Bile is produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. When the gallbladder is removed, bile will continually trickle into the digestive system, whether you are eating or not.
Normally when you eat a heavy meal, the gallbladder responds by forcing a large amount of bile to efficiently digest the fats – not just fats from greasy foods, but healthy essential fats such as omega-3 fatty acids.
So, without a gallbladder, you are not only inefficiently digesting your meals, but your body is missing out on some of the healthy fatty acids and oils needed for your heart, nervous system, absorption of sugars and a healthy brain. Over the years, your body will wear down faster than it should be.
Bile Salts as a Solution
Much research has pointed to the use of bile salt supplements as an effective means of dealing with the digestive disorders common after gallbladder surgery. Ox bile benefits: Taken with a meal, bile salts help to digest fats and aid in absorption of the fat soluble vitamins. They may also help with occasional constipation.
When shopping for bile supplements take into consideration that the best way to take them is to vary the dose each time. That is difficult to do with a 500 mg capsule. Therefore, many prefer 110 or 125 mg capsules and they can take 2, 3 or 4 tiny capsules per time. And since one of the functions of bile acid is to move the bowel, 500 mg or more on a regular basis could result in diarrhea
or loose stools.Taurine is used in the body to convert bile salts to the more water soluble form which is the less toxic form of bile. Therefore, taking taurine along with bile salts would be supportive to healthy bile formation. Also, cholic acid is a more water soluble form of bile acid than most, so look for a supplement that is has cholic acid in it.Any ox bile supplement is purified. Purified essentially means sterilized. Ox bile is the same thing as bovine bile. The bovine family includes bison, ox, bull and cow, etc. and therefore, there is no such thing a vegetarian ox bile extract or supplement. It doesn’t exist.
How to Take Bile Supplements
- Rotation of Dosage – Randomly alternate your dosage with each meal, using 1, 2, 3 or 4 capsules per meal. While it makes sense to take more with a high protein/high fat meal, in general be random about your dosing.
- Dosage – the dosage of bile salts will depend on the brand, the type of bile salt, and the milligram content of the supplement. Also, many people find that adjusting the amount of bile salts to their own comfort level is ideal. Bile salts are best taken with a meal, as they provide the acids needed to digest your food.
- Brands – a number of brands offer bile salts. These include Good Apple Nutritionals (Bile Salts Booster – 110 mg Ox Bile with 40 mg Taurine) Standard Process (Cholacol, collonsonia with ox bile), NutriCology – bovine bile (500 or 125 Ox Bile), and Dews (Bile Salts, 432 mg per capsule).
Side Effects of Bile Salts
Although many people experience help from bile salts, there is one main side effect some people experience: diarrhea. Bile moves the bowel. After gallbladder surgery this can be a common problem as there is no longer a gallbladder to store the excess bile. Supplemental bile salts can add to the excess and cause diarrhea. If you have constipation, you can get away with more bile salts. If not, it is better to get a supplement with smaller milligrams such as 110 or 125. You need just the right balance of your body’s production and the supplement. Everybody is different.
On the opposite side of the coin, if you experience constant diarrhea after you have had your gallbladder removed, you may have the opposite effect – bile salt diarrhea, where your liver is producing too much bile salt. This spills over into the colon, where it acts as a laxative.
Some people never get rid of this; some people take years to get rid of it and some people have found that taking cholestyramine, a prescription cholesterol drug that also soaks up excess bile salts, stopped it quickly and stopped it for good. It could certainly be worth a try. For some who do not get help with cholestyramine, the natural remedies below sometimes help. It is estimated that 5% of people who have had their gallbladder removed will suffer from this.
Other Supplements To Take After Gallbladder Removal
Taking bile supplements can be one part of your regimen for digestive health, but there are several others supplements that may be helpful as well.
- Apple Pectin – Research studies conclude that pectin fiber may help to control the symptoms of diarrhea, and may be a great companion to deal with the side effect of bile salt diarrhea. The are several choices for this product but this is the only one I could find with vegetarian capsules.
- Medi-Clay – a bentonite clay product that may help to adsorb excess bile acids.
- Fiber Supplement– not only will fiber absorb water and firm up the stool, it may also work as a digestive sweep; aiding in the digestion of fats and eliminating toxins.
- Probiotics – another great key to digestive health is probiotics. Made up of “good bacteria” commonly found in the intestinal tract, probiotics help maintain balance in the intestinal tract. They have been found helpful in dealing with gas and other digestive issues.
- Betaine – Betaine HCl stimulates digestive secretions, including bile and pancreatic enzymes. It is essential for the digestion of proteins. If you are experiencing constant diarrhea, swap the bile salts for betaine instead.
- Choline – the bitartrate form is another aid in digestion. Choline supplements help absorb excess cholesterol and fats. They also help with fatty liver. Many take bile salts and choline together. In fact, the experts on natural solutions for gallbladder symptoms, put bile salts and choline together in a kit for Gas & Bloating. Check it out.