The gallbladder is the storage tank for bile which is the fluid that helps digest fats in the diet. The gallbladder stores about two ounces of bile. Fat receptors in the stomach and small intestines signal the body that a fatty meal has been consumed. The gallbladder constricts and pumps bile into the small intestine where the fatty meal is acted upon by the bile. The bile breaks down the fat into smaller particles to be more easily absorbed into the body for the creation of cells, hormones, lubrication etc. The bile also helps to neutralize acids in the partially digested foods.
Modern medicine has yet to definitely show what causes gall stone formation but several theories exist:
1) Too much cholesterol in the diet. Since the most common type of stone is the cholesterol stone, scientists speculate that too much cholesterol and maldigestion of cholesterol may be the cause of cholesterol stones. For individuals over age 30, a digestive enzyme taken with each meal is recommended to assist in the digestion of fats and cholesterol, thus reducing the chances for gall stone development.
2) Parasitic infestation of the liver. This theory suggests that gallstones are formed when the liver is malfunctioning. The liver is the main filter and detoxifier of the body. Any blood-born parasite or even intestinal flukes can pass through the liver but many times become lodged in the liver instead. This action causes the liver to function abnormally and not be able to conjugate the bile appropriately in the gallbladder. The abnormal bile sits in the gallbladder and becomes hardened, forming stones.
3) Family or genetic tendencies. Many times a whole family will have gallstone problems. There may be genetic issues passed in the genes that cause liver malfunction. There also may be a tendency towards gallstones among females who are over forty, over-weight, and are still able to bear children.
The treatment for gallstones is to support the liver with targeted supplementation, remove any layers of infection such as parasites, bacteria, fungus, etc, and to undergo a liver / gallbladder flush every six months. Maintaining appropriate liver function is vital to overall health.