Keep Your Gallbladder Healthy with Turmeric

Showing the Gallbladder

Studies in animals show that turmeric's curcumin compounds stimulate and increase bile flow in the gall bladder and bile ducts, which could help prevent gall bladder stones. For example, in one study two groups of mice were fed a diet high in cholesterol. Only 26% of the group supplemented with 0.5% curcumin for the length of the 10 week study developed gallstones, while 100% of the non-supplemented group developed them. (vii.35, 51)

Curcumin appeared to block the high cholesterol levels in bile otherwise caused by the diet. In addition, curcumin prolonged the amount of time it took for cholesterol to crystallize, a necessary first step to gallstone formation. (vii.35, 51)

Turmeric Helps with Conditions that Increase the Risk of Gallstones

Turmeric and curcumin also can help prevent or treat conditions that increase the risk of developing gallstones:

Table VII.21: Turmeric & Curcumin Reduce Risk Factors for Gallstones
Condition Effects of Turmeric/Curcumin

Cystic Fibrosis

Lab and animal studies suggest that curcumin could correct defects linked to the most common gene mutation that causes cystic fibrosis. (vii.35)

Liver Diseases

Animal studies and human clinical trials demonstrate that turmeric and curcumin, by themselves or when combined with other herbs can effectively: (vii.100)

Metabolic Syndrome Conditions:

Type-2 Diabetes, Obesity, and Unhealthy Cholesterol Levels

Both lab and animal studies indicate that turmeric helps fight metabolic syndrome conditions that promote gallstones by counteracting: (vii.18, 101)

Recently published results from a long-term clinical trial involving 32 patients with both diabetes and high cholesterol also demonstrate turmeric's effectiveness. In combination with garlic, turmeric significantly: (vii.18, 101)

  • Reduced blood sugar levels.
  • Promoted weight loss.
  • Increased HDL cholesterol while tending to lower triglyceride cholesterol.

Other Turmeric Compounds That Can Help Prevent Gallstones

Studies suggest that in addition to curcumin, other compounds in turmeric than could also help prevent gallstones. These include:

Table VII.22: Turmeric Compounds for a Healthy Gallbladder
Turmeric Compound Helps dissolve gallstones ↑ Bile Production Improves Flow of Bile ↓ Excess Cholesterol
1,8-cineole (vii.29, 48, 71, 137)  
Alpha-linolenic acid (vii.18, 66)      
Beta-sitosterol (vii.22, 29, 66)    
Borneol (vii.20, 47, 138)    
Caffeic acid (vii.20, 48)  
Cinnamic acid (vii.20, 48, 71)    
Curcumin (vii.66, 71, 138)  
Eugenol (vii.20, 48)      
Farnesol (vii.22, 72)      
Ferulic acid (vii.47-48)  
Geraniol (vii.56, 64)      
Limonene (vii.20, 73, 139)  
Linoleic acid (vii.39, 48)      
Niacin (vii.22, 29)      
Quercetin (vii.25, 48, 74)    
Resveratrol (vii.22, 27)      
ρ-Coumaric acid (vii.20, 48)      
Turmeric extract (vii.16, 138)  
Turmeric volatile oil (vii.138)    
Turmerones (vii.20, 138)    
Vanillic acid (vii.20, 48)      
Vitamin C (vii.22, 29, 66)      
Vitamin E (vii.22, 29, 66)      
Zingiberene (vii.20, 138)    

Turmeric Compounds Protect Against Cancer-Promoting Bile Acids

Interestingly, turmeric compounds actually reduce high levels of certain bile acids that increase the risk of colon cancer. In animal studies where the rats consumed diets high in fat, caffeic acid and curcumin reduced deoxycholic bile acid levels. Caffeic acid lowered lithocholic bile acid in a similar study. (vii.20, 140)

Treating Acute Cholecystitis

Some integrative medicine experts and doctors recommend 300 mg/day of turmeric to help treat the symptoms of acute cholecystitis. Characterized by inflammation and obstruction of the outlet in the gallbladder where bile flows in and out of, acute cholecystitis is considered a complication of gallbladder disease. (vii.131)

Including infected bile ducts. (vii.35)
Such as Phyllanthus fraternas and Eclipta alba(vii.100)
Where the patients were randomly assigned to take a placebo or turmeric, and neither the patients or the study experts knew which patients were taking which substance until the study was completed. (vii.18, 101)
Substances that increase the formation of bile have choleretic properties. (vii.48)
Substances that improve bile flow are referred to as cholagogues. (vii.48)

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