Is Your Gallbladder Aging?

The year you were born is just one way to determine your age. And as you have probably observed, some people can age rapidly while others seem eternally young. More so than chronological age, your biological aging is what matters in terms of your health and longevity. Biological aging refers to the rate at which the body matures on a holistic level and the degree of its decline physiologically and mentally. This means that your gallbladder is also aging.

Is Your Gallbladder “Old”?

We can’t say for sure. But research suggests that some parts of the body age faster than others. It is possible to have wrinkles and gray hair while enjoying clean and robust lungs. In the same way, a youthful appearance of a thirty-something doesn’t always mean that their liver is at the peak of its health. The same principle applies to our gallbladder. 

What happens to an old gallbladder?

Whether gallbladder aging is brought about by natural degeneration as we grow older or by premature aging due to poor health practices, here’s what happens to an old gallbladder:

  1. Gallbladder size

Studies show that the gallbladder’s length, diameter, and volume increase as we age. Unfortunately, this happens simultaneously as #2 and #3 are also happening. The bigger gallbladder, which can hold more bile, pumps out less. Studies show that individuals with higher resting gallbladder volume have higher residual volume after meals, increasing the chances of bile stasis and gallstone formation.

2. Reduced gallbladder CCK sensitivity

Cholecystokinin (CCK) is the primary hormone involved in gallbladder contraction. And while there is no information yet on whether CCK production declines as we age, studies prove that gallbladder sensitivity to this hormone is significantly diminished in older subjects. One of the possible explanations is the decreased concentration of CCK receptors on gallbladder muscle cells. This leads to…

3. Reduced gallbladder motility and emptying

Since an old gallbladder no longer responds as much to CCK, its movement or contraction is considerably diminished. Decreased motility also predisposes individuals to gallstone and biliary sludge formation.

Liver Aging

Since the gallbladder and liver work together within the biliary system, it is also interesting to know that liver aging may also cause:

  • Decreased production and flow of bile
  • Impaired intestinal absorption of cholesterol
  • Reduced synthesis of new liver cells
  • Reduced secretion of bile salts

What now?

No matter what we do, getting old is inevitable. However, with all the technology and information available to us, it is highly possible to delay or reverse the physical deterioration of specific organs in our body, including our livers and gallbladders. 

While genetics may predispose us to some diseases, nothing can make us healthier than a proper diet, exercise, rest, and stress reduction. And if you think you need some help, you may check out our shop for natural supplements or schedule a consultation appointment today. 

 

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References:

Kariuki, B. N., Saidi, H., Ndung’u, B., Kaisha, W., & Ogeng’o, J. (2017). Influence of age on gallbladder morphometry. Anatomy Journal of Africa, 6(2), 987-994.

Khalil, T., Walker, J. P., Wiener, I., Fagan, C. J., Townsend Jr, C. M., Greeley Jr, G. H., & Thompson, J. C. (1985). Effect of aging on gallbladder contraction and release of cholecystokinin-33 in humans. Surgery, 98(3), 423-429.

Kim, H., Kisseleva, T., & Brenner, D. A. (2015). Aging and liver disease. Current opinion in gastroenterology, 31(3), 184.

Poston, G. J., Singh, P., Maclellan, D. G., Yao, C. Z., Uchida, T., Townsend Jr, C. M., & Thompson, J. C. (1988). Age-related changes in gallbladder contractility and gallbladder cholecystokinin receptor population in the guinea pig. Mechanisms of ageing and development, 46(1-3), 225-236.

Wang, D. Q. (2002). Aging per se is an independent risk factor for cholesterol gallstone formation in gallstone susceptible mice. Journal of Lipid Research, 43(11), 1950-1959.

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200625-the-woman-with-a-100-year-old-liver