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Wait! Don’t Let Them Take Your Gallbladder

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The gallbladder is one of the most underrated organs. Many doctors don’t consider it “essential” because you don’t need it to survive. But the gallbladder plays a vital role in digestion. Gallbladder removal can lead to imbalances and inevitable disease.

If you want to keep your health and longevity, you need to keep your gallbladder. Fortunately, the proper diet and lifestyle can protect against deadly gallbladder-related complications.

The important function of the gallbladder

The gallbladder is a tiny pouch-like organ, only about eight centimeters long. It has the critical job of storing, concentrating, and releasing bile into the intestine. 

Bile is a fluid produced by the liver that helps the body digest fats. When fatty food enters the stomach, the gallbladder releases bile into the small intestine. From there, bile breaks down large fat molecules into smaller, more digestible particles.

Without the gallbladder, bile has nowhere for storage. The liver must release bile straight into the intestine. This can lead to fat malabsorption, disruption of the gut microbiome, and a cascade of other related health issues.

Your body needs healthy fats

You need to keep your gallbladder because it plays such a supportive role in digesting fats. Fats are essential to a healthy diet. However, there has been widespread controversy over fats for decades.

In the 1960s, the low-fat craze took over America. People started eating fewer fats and replacing them with high-sugar and high-carb diets. This caused Americans to get sicker and obesity, heart problems, and diabetes to skyrocket. 

The real culprits of gallbladder disease are the sugar and processed foods that took over our country. Certain fats are essential to a healthy diet, but it’s important to differentiate good fats from bad fats.

Unhealthy fats

When it comes to unhealthy fats, think fast food, deep-fried, baked goods, or anything processed. Many of these foods contain high levels of trans fat. These types of fat can cause cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Avoid them at all costs.

Healthy fats

The best fats for your health include monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats that contain vital nutrients called essential fatty acids. Some great sources of these are avocados, olive oil, eggs, nuts, and fatty fish.

Healthy fats are an essential source of energy and support health in many ways. Fats are the building blocks of cell membranes, and they make up 80 percent of the brain. They’re also necessary for the absorption of certain vitamins

Consumption of healthy fats and fatty acids are protective against many conditions, including:

The days of low-fat ideology are over, and the research is clear – the body needs fat to function well. And fat needs a gallbladder for proper digestion.

The consequences of gallbladder removal

Gallbladder removal, or a cholecystectomy, is one of the most common surgical procedures. It is performed primarily because of cholecystitis, or inflammation of the gallbladder.

 This condition is often caused by gallstones, which occur when bile hardens into small masses. Gallstones may cause intense pain, GI upset, blockages of bile ducts, and deadly complications. Some early signs of gallbladder disease include:

  • Pain in the right-upper or mid-upper section of the abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unexplained fever
  • Yellowing of the eyes

If gallstones cause severe symptoms or complications, doctors usually recommend surgical removal. While the gallbladder may not be “essential,” this procedure doesn’t come without potential repercussions. 

One possible complication is post-cholecystectomy syndrome (PCS), affecting 10-15 percent of people who undergo the procedure. This syndrome causes continued digestive problems and may become a life-long chronic condition.

The main concern is the possible long-term effects on digestion and fat absorption. Without a gallbladder, there may not be appropriate breakdown or absorption of fats. Lack of essential fatty acids can leave the body prone to nutrient deficiencies, which can contribute to disease risk.

Gallbladder disease and cardiovascular health

The gallbladder may seem unrelated to your heart health, but in reality, the two are closely linked. Research shows that a history of gallbladder disease creates a higher risk of cardiovascular disease

What causes this? Gallbladder removal disrupts the gut microbiome – the delicate balance of microbes that keeps your gut strong. This can lead to leaky gut and inflammation, contributing to heart disease. 

Gallbladder removal is also linked with metabolic syndrome, increasing the risk of obesity, abnormal cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. People with metabolic syndrome have a 2.5 to 2.8-fold higher risk of cardiovascular death. 

While a cholecystectomy may not cause immediate consequences, it can set off a chain reaction of deadly conditions. This is not a procedure to take lightly.

To keep your gallbladder, prevention is key

Nutrition and lifestyle can promote gallbladder health and protect against gallstones. Research has shown that poor diet and obesity are two major risk factors for gallstone formation and growth.

Fats are actually an essential component of gallbladder health. That’s right; a low-fat diet can harm your gallbladder. Daily consumption of healthy fats causes the regular release of bile, so if you don’t eat fat, the gallbladder never gets triggered. 

Follow these research-backed recommendations for foods that promote gallbladder health: 

  • Healthy fats: Olive oil, nuts, and avocados
  • Fiber-rich vegetables: Broccoli, greens, and cauliflower
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Wild-caught fatty fish, nuts, and seeds
  • Vitamin C: Brussel sprouts, kale, and tomatoes. Consider taking a Vitamin C supplement if you’re deficient.

Your daily cup of joe could even be good for your gallbladder. Research suggests that regular, organic coffee intake may support gallbladder motility and bile flow. 

For your best gallbladder health, you must avoid certain foods, especially if you have a history of gallstones. Stay away from those nasty trans fats and cut out processed foods and refined sugar as much as possible.

Support your gallbladder before it’s too late

You want to get out ahead of gallbladder disease as much as possible. Gallstones may start without symptoms, so you may not even know you have a problem until it’s too late. If left untreated, gallstones can cause progressive inflammation. 

In extreme cases of acute cholecystitis, bile may become infected and lead to life-threatening rupture. At this point, surgery may be unavoidable.

Next steps

Gallbladder disease can be devastating for your health. Thankfully, it’s easily preventable through a healthy diet and lifestyle. You don’t want to lose your gallbladder, so do everything in your power to keep it healthy. If you’re showing early signs of gallbladder disease, reach out to one of the doctors here at Natural Heart Doctor for guidance.

Note: Seek emergency medical care if you have severe abdominal pain in the upper right area of the stomach for more than two hours or if you have a fever. You may also vomit and feel nauseous.

Eat Well · Live Well · Think Well 

Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD


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Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.