What is Bile and Why is it Important?
As I write this I am in the process of my seventh liver and gallbladder cleanse. In case you missed it, I have been doing a series of cleanses as outlined in the Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse by Andreas Moritiz. I have been doing these cleanses every couple of months, and with each one I find my symptoms of endometriosis lessening.
Since its been about a year of me doing this, and since I’ve spent the past couple of hours with burning bile coming out of my bum, I thought I’d take a moment and revisit why I am doing these cleanses — with focus on an important component in the digestion system — bile.
The following is a lowdown on bile from Andreas’ book, that I re-visited last night, in anticipation of my cleanse….
Bile is a bitter fluid — yellow, brown or green in color. It consists of water, mucus, bile pigment (bilirubin), bile salts and cholesterol as well as enzymes and beneficial bacteria. It smells horrible (as I can atest to today, Lol).
Bile has many important functions. It assists with the digestion of fat, calcium and protein foods. It is needed to maintain normal fat levels in the blood, remove toxins from the liver, maintain proper acid/alkaline balance in the intestinal tract and keep the colon from breeding harmful microbes.
Liver cells secrete bile into tiny canals know as bile canaliculi, which eventually connect to the common bile duct, which drains bile from the liver and supplies the gallbladder with the right amount of bile for digestion.
When the composition of the bile is not balanced, small cholesterol crystals begin to combine with other bile components to form tiny clots, which eventually form together and become gallstones. These gallstones connect with others, becoming big clumps in the liver and gallbladder.
Because of these gallstones, the bile ducts becomes obstructed and the liver slows down. Sluggish bile flow in the liver then affects the gallbladder.
Check out this diagram of the liver and see all the small canals mentioned and the common bile ducts at the bottom of the liver (in purple) When these bile ducts are blocked, then bile production drops.
To maintain a strong and healthy digestive system and feed the cells the right amount of nutrients, the liver should produce 1-1.5 quarts of bile per day. Anything less causes problems with digestion of food, elimination of waste and detoxification of the blood. According to Andreas, most of us are only producing about a cup a day! Yikes.
If you find this intriguing, then I definitely recommend picking up Andreas’ book, as he explains things in more detail, and outlines how to prevent gallstones from occurring. To sum up, the cleanse he presents helps clear the gallstones so that bile is able to flow freely again.
Bile’s Role in Digestion and Immunity
I listened to a talk a couple of weeks ago by John Douillard DC. He is an Aruyvedic practitioner and founder of LifeSpa — a local healing center in Boulder, Colorado. After listening to him speak I realize that I must visit 🙂 His talk also related to the important role of bile in digestion and put this all together in terms of overall healing.
According to John the most important part of the body in terms of immunity is the 1/2 inch or so between the intestinal villi and lymphs. This is where immunity happens. When these lymphs are congested this results in feelings of fatigue, aching joints, swollen, painful breasts, PMS and headaches. Relate? 🙂
Fat soluable pollutants are hard to digest — this includes pesticides, mercury, and estrogens from the environment. Good, quality digestion removes these toxins through the lymphatic system. Unfortunately if you are a fellow endo warrior, you likely do not have proper digestion, or lymphatic flow.
If the body is unable to remove toxins via digestion or the lymphatic system then these toxins fault back to the liver. If the liver cannot handle it, then they go back into the blood. When these pollutants enter the blood it looks for fat cells to put them into. If these fat cells are full, then they circulate back into the blood and eventually go into the brain. Very bad.
With a congested liver, the bile gets thick and clumpy and doesn’t flow well. Bile has to flow well to keep the intestines lubricated. The liver also connects to the pancreas via the common bile duct. The pancreas makes important enzymes that, along with bile, neutralize acid from the stomach. With thick bile the pancreas enzymes don’t flow, which means the stomach acid is not neutralized.
If there is not enough bile, or pancreas enzymes the stomach then dials down stomach acid (to prevent burning a hole in the intestines). This means undigested food goes into the digestive tract. This undigested food leads to conditions like leaky gut, which is essentially holes in the intestinal villi, transferring to the lymphatic system, eventually becoming a systematic problem.
Other Ways to Increase Bile Flow
In John Douillard’s talk he mentioned several ways to help bile flow:
- 15 – 20 minutes before a meal have a large glass of water — this buffers the stomach lining so that it is hydrated and stimulates stomach acid production, signaling the body to produce more bile and enzymes to neutralize
- Eat ginger before or during a meal — this triggers bile flow
- Beets and cinnamon also get bile flowing
John suggests eating lots of leafy greens — the cellulose attaches to the bile and helps escort it out of the body. If not enough vegetables are consumed then 93% of the bile is reabsorbed back into the liver, into the blood, causing damage to the arteries.
He also suggests eating lots of good fats — this slimes up the liver and gallbladder to keep it functional. Otherwise it dries up. He said that the number one cause of gallbladder disease is a low fat diet.
On the Positive Side?
So you see — gallstones in the liver and gallbladder slow down bile flow, which messes with everything else. Hence the reason for my cleanses 🙂 Once the stones are clear, then the liver and gallbladder are able to perform better, and bile is able to flow freely again.
This seventh liver and gallbladder cleanse has not been so bad. Why? Because I shifted my attitude about it. In the past, I have kind of dreaded doing these cleanses. The oil always makes me throw up. I dreaded drinking it. I dreaded the 24 hour fast involved.
But this time I was kind of looking forward to it. After having such a positive release last cleanse, and reduced pain with my period last cycle, I truly feel like these cleanses are helping me to heal.
I am happy to report that this time I did not throw up the oil, and I was able to sleep through the night — a first for me 🙂
I did something different this time, that really, really helped. After I drank the oil and laid down in bed, I listened to a guided meditation by Jack Kornfield entitled “The Healing Temple”. It was a visualization exercise where you imagine yourself entering a healing temple. Mine was outdoors with daisies all around 🙂
Within this temple you meet a healer. The healer then places their hand on the parts of the body that need to be healed (for me this was my liver and uterus). You imagine the healing energy soaring through you, then place your hand on these spots too.
The visualization technique was very beautiful for me, and it really helped me to relax during this twenty minutes that in the past has been such torture. I woke up feeling good. After six other cleanses, this was a first 🙂
If you are interested in checking out this meditation it is available as an app in the Apple ITunes Store. I loaded it to my IPad 🙂
Have you tried a liver and gallbladder cleanse? Have you tried healing through visualization exercises? I would love to hear from you.