What Is The Gallbladder?

The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped muscular sack that acts as a storage tank for bile. The bile is made in the liver by liver cells and is sent through tiny ducts or canals to the duodenum (small intestine) and to the gallbladder. The gallbladder stores the bile to have it available in larger quantities for secretion when a meal is eaten. The ingestion of food and especially fats cause the release of a hormone, cholecystokinin, (CCK) which in turn signals the relaxation of the valve at the end of the common bile duct (the sphincter of oddi) which lets the bile enter the small intestine. It also signals the contraction of the gallbladder which squirts the concentrated liquid bile into the small intestine where it helps with the emulsification or breakdown of fats in the meal.



Many people do not know where the gallbladder is located until it screams at them. Then they never forget. The gallbladder is located behind the liver on the right side of the rib cage. It hits up against the under-surface of the liver. Pain in this region is common with gallbladder problems.



Although the location of the gallbladder can be pinpointed to a spot in the upper abdomen, it is only one aspect of the bile system or the biliary tree that begins in the liver with bile production. Bile is made in liver cells or hepatocytes all throughout the liver. It is collected by bile canaliculi which are very tiny canals or ducts in the liver which branch out into larger ducts and then dump into the common bile duct. This is how it gets termed biliary tree, from the similarity to the branching of a tree.


There is a bile duct from the liver to the small intestine which is joined by a duct from the gallbladder and from the pancreas. This main duct is called the common bile duct. It is common to the liver, gallbladder and farther down line, to the pancreas as well. When someone refers to "the" bile duct, they are usually referring to the common bile duct. It's function is to allow for the transportation of bile and digestive enzymes. The size of the common bile duct when measured via ultrasound is determined to be approximately up to 6mm.


The bile duct from the gallbladder sac itself allows the flow of bile to and from the gallbladder. Bile moves in both directions into and out of the gallbladder through this cystic duct. This latter duct joins with a duct from the pancreas on its way to the small intestine carrying pancreatic enzymes also used for digestion.


A healthy liver produces about a quart to a quart and a half of bile daily. Bile is a bitter, yellow fluid. It can consist of cholesterol, lecithin, calcium, bile salts, acids and waste materials among other things. When the bile salts and cholesterol get out of balance with each other (to state it simply) gallstones can form.


The terms bile salts and bile acid are often used interchangeably for the word bile. Technically, bile salts and bile acid are components of the bile and are the active parts of the bile substance.


So what is the relationship of the gallbladder and bile? The gallbladder is the receptacle for bile; bile is the substance that performs the functions the body needs. However, the gallbladder also contributes important functions in maintaining proper bile flow and in making the bile more efficient. See
Gallbladder Function for more details.

To understand gallbladder pathology or what goes wrong with your gallbladder click on
Gallbladder Disease>




Did You Know?

that lack of fat in your diet can also bring on a gallbladder attack?

Fats are important but it's the right fats that count. If you are in pain now, try the beet recipe which calls for some flax oil.

Research shows that a balanced diet igh in CIS unsaturated fats (essential fatty acids) may reduce risk of gallstones,
especially in men.(1)



I live in Boise Idaho. I had my gallbladder removed 15 years ago at the age of 20. About 4 years ago I started having pain and severe digestion problems (chronic diarrhea with bright yellow liquid, pain and fatigue). After 2 years, weight loss, and a bunch of expensive tests, my gastro DR did an ERCP and removed small stones and sludge. The procedure was terrible; I was kept in the hospital for days because of nausea, vomiting and fever. I do NOT want to have that procedure again. I have felt good for 2 years but I am starting to have pain again with dizziness and fatigue. I am feeling hopeful after finding your website and seeing that I am not the only one who has continued to get stones.

I am just 1 week post surgery and I am having dietary complications. I am still having the bloating, nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps as pre surgery minus the severe chest -back pain. I am hoping to get a head start on a good post surgery diet to help my body repair itself and feel good again. W.S.

Debbie, I had my Gallbladder removed 9 months I still bloat after eating, I am constipated, I am gaining weight, I have little to no energy. I need direction. T.R.

Dear T.R.,
You had problems with fat digestion before you removed your organ that assists with fat metabolism. It is no wonder the body is having a problem. You need to take
bile salts with every meal. The bile also needs to be thinned and you need to take something to assist your body break down the fats. I suggest you start with the gallbladder starter kit and stay on it until you feel at least 80% better. Then switch to the weight gain after gallbladder removal kit and stay on it. Do a series of coffee enemas to get the bile moving (instructions on site). In the meantime, work on changing your diet. Stop eating refined carbohydrates (sugars), the wrong fats, too much meat and other fats (such as dairy). Read the whole site to better understand your problem. If you don't feel 100% better in a few months, including the constipation, the energy and the weight gain, please do contact me for a consultation. This can and should be turned around.





Disclaimer: The statements in this website have NOT been evaluated by or sanctioned by the FDA. Only your doctor can properly diagnose and treat any disease or disorder. The supplements discussed herein are not meant to treat any disease but are for nutritional support of the body only. The user understands that the information in this website is NOT intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician or a pharmacist.

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