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Gallbladder Support (and what to do when you have no gallbladder)

Normally, when you have a gallbladder, bile is made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder until it is needed. Bile is secreted into the small intestine and is critical for digesting and absorbing fat. It helps emulsify fat and plays a role in the detoxification process.

Foods to support the liver and gallbladder

Adding foods like Apple Cider Vinegar, parsley, lemon/lime, cucumber, celery, cilantro, turmeric and ginger will support healthy bile flow and is useful for people without a gallbladder too.

If you don’t have a gallbladder, your liver continues to make bile but you don’t have a place to store it. Instead bile will continually trickle into your intestines, sometimes causing unwanted leaks and symptoms. Likely, you will have trouble digesting fats and may experience diarrhea, indigestion, nausea or bloating.

What to eat when you don’t have a gallbladder

The healing diet that I recommend for everyone is found in my book, The Reclaim Diet. It is important to remove grains, processed food and dairy from your diet.

Avoid industrial and processed oils found in processed food. Instead enjoy healthy fats, especially coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, nuts and seeds. Grassfed butter is a healthy fat to add as well.


A few key supplements will help support the liver and digestion:

  1. Liver support supplement (like Liver Detox or Liver-GI Detox)
  2. Ox Bile (start with 125mg)
  3. Digestive Enzymes (or a combo supplement that has Ox Bile and Digestive Enzymes in one capsule).
  4. Swedish Bitters

More information on all of these supplements is found in this post.

Liver Support Supplement

Take a good liver support supplement that has milk thistle, artichoke leaf and beet root. I like the supplement, Liver Detox (Item #: LIV56) or Liver-G.I. Detox (Item #: LIV34).

Liver Detox Support (LIV34) combines milk thistle extract with a unique herb-enzyme blend to create a balanced botanical formula for the support of healthy liver function. This product also features glutathione, a potent free radical scavenger that also plays a critical role in maintaining the body’s normal elimination pathways. Nutrients such as N-acetyl cysteine and methionine are included to support the body’s own production of glutathione. Promotes Liver Health plus Comprehensive Detoxification Support.

Liver-G.I. Detox (LIV56) Dual support for liver and gastrointestinal detoxification. The ingredients in this formula are combined to stimulate both liver and gastrointestinal detoxification.

  • N-acetyl-l-cysteine and alpha lipoic acid are antioxidants that boost tissue glutathione levels.
  • The combined actions of curcumin and silymarin include enhancing phase II detoxification enzymes, supporting glutathione synthesis and promoting gastric, colon and liver cell functions.
  • Sulforaphane, from broccoli sprout concentrate, is considered one of the most powerful inducers of phase II enzyme activity and has also demonstrated a role in maintaining healthy colon cell function.
  • The amino acids glycine, taurine and methionine support detoxification pathways in the liver.
  • l-Glutamine helps to maintain healthy intestinal integrity, ensuring proper nutrient utilization while limiting the amount of toxins that pass through the intestinal barrier.
  • Artichoke extract aids the digestive process by promoting healthy bile flow and intestinal motility while also supporting hepatic cell function and blood flow in the liver.
  • Chlorella, the most studied “green food”, is traditionally celebrated for its digestive, cleansing and blood purifying properties.
  • Furthermore, it’s nutrient-rich matrix includes vitamins, minerals, protein, carotenoids, and flavone compounds.*
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Ox Bile

Taking an ox bile supplement with meals can help individuals who no longer have a gallbladder. Take the ox bile supplement a few minutes before your meal. If you take too much and experience diarrhea, back down on the dosage. 

Try Ox Bile 125 (Item#: OxB125) to begin. Each capsule contains one quarter the amount of ox bile as Ox Bile 500 mg (Item #: OX). Derived from a bovine source and freeze-dried (lyophilized). Ox Bile is a suitable supplement to the liver’s production of bile.

Digest Enzymes

Enzymes are important in helping to digest fats, protein and starches. Taking digestive enzyme supplements with meals can aid in digestion of food.

EssentialZymes-4 (Young Living) and VeganZyme (Item#: GLH393) are two good options.

VeganZyme is an advanced, full-spectrum blend of powerful enzymes that support digestion, the immune system, and functional balance throughout the entire body. It contains a robust blend of systemic enzymes that support the many processes in the body, and a comprehensive collection of digestive enzymes that help body break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.

Digestive Enzymes and Ox Bile are both helpful when taken with meals. For ease of use consider a combo supplement that includes Ox Bile and digestive enzymes in one capsule, like Enzymes-HCL.

Enzymes-HCl (combines 100mg Ox Bile with Digestive Enzymes)

Item #: P29634. Protocol For Life Balance® Enzymes-HCl™ is a comprehensive enzyme formula designed to support both gastric and intestinal digestive functions.

The inclusion of Betaine HCl helps to start digestion by the stomach and prepares the correct pH to stimulate intestinal function.

A full spectrum of proteases further assists the intestine in the complete breakdown of food for enhanced absorption.

Amount Per Serving
Betaine HCl, 200 mg
Ox Bile Extract, 100 mg
Papaya Fruit Powder, 45 mg
Pancreatin, 134 mg
Amylase 37,000 USP Units
Protease 37,000 USP Units
Lipase 2,960 USP Units
Bromelain, 40 mg
Acid Stable Protease (Aspergillopepsin), 10 mg
Papain (100,000 FCC PU), 2 mg
Cellulase (10 CU)

Swedish Bitters

Include Swedish bitters (Item #: IT20100)and eat bitter and sour foods. Swedish bitters is a digestive herbal elixir. It helps stimulate bile flow and aid digestion. Follow directions on the bottle.

Read my article on Gallbladder health here.