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  • Gallstones & Primal Eating

    I've got a cholesterol-related question that maybe some of y'all could help me with.
    I've been eating primally for about 2 weeks now. So far I'm loving it & I'm having positive results. My only problem (or potential problem) is this: For the last few years I have been suffering from gallstones (for some relevant background info, my diet @ the time the gallbladder attacks first presented consisted of lean meats, lots of veggies, a moderate amount of whole grains, some low-fat dairy, etc. I am a 29 yr old female who's never been over-weight & never been pregnant. Also, for what it's worth, my mother had gallstones @ a young age as well--in her 30s). I've found that the only thing that really bates the painful attacks is drinking plenty of water, especially with meals. According to doctors (yeah, I know...), gallstones are caused by an accumulation of excess cholesterol in the bile which hardens into stones. My question is whether or not, due to my history of gallstones, I should be vigilant about monitoring my dietary cholesterol as I continue to follow a primal eating style, or whether I should forge ahead & challenge the notion that dietary cholesterol is to blame. At this point I've learned to just "grin & bare it" & drink more water than I actually want to prevent attacks--but obviously I'd love for it to just be a non-issue altogether. At it's worst (before the elevated water consumption), I was having gallbladder attacks several times a day, sometimes lasting hours. If it weren't so excrutiating I would be less concerned about it, but I'm very afraid of getting back to that point. Any feedback is hugely appreciated.

  • #2
    I'm not understanding why you don't have your gall bladder removed. I've had attacks, so I know how excruciating they are, but in my case, there were no stones involved and the gall bladder showed up on tests as 'healthy'--i.e., they could find no cause for the attacks. However, in my reading, I learned that if you have stones, you risk all sorts of serious complications, and having surgery as an emergency should definitely be avoided. Every doctor I know recommends removal under the circumstances you describe.

    However, back to your initial question about cholesterol. It won't help to monitor your dietary cholesterol because your body regulates the amount of cholesterol it wants--i.e., you eat less, it makes more. And the mechanism which converts cholesterol into gallstones isn't under our control, anyway.

    My own attacks were brought on by any high fat eating, and that may be a problem for you.

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    • #3
      I'd been having gall bladder pains for the last few years which is generally a burning sensation. Additionally the occassional stabbing in the liver type of pain to go with the chronic indigestion. I knew it was diet related but couldn't pin it down

      Anyway, I'm now five weeks into primal and all those pains actually stopped sometime around the end of week 1. I haven't had anything at all for the last four weeks. So I suspect it was related to all the grains I was eating.

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      • #4
        I suggest you read this article by Dr. Michael Eades:

        Carbohydrates and gallstones

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        • #5
          From Robb Wolf's book, The Paleo Solution... he considers that gallstones, and the subsequent removal of the gall bladder to a direct result of intestinal damage due to eating grains, and that these people are quite possibly undiagnosed Celiac's. He believes that eating paleo will potentially cure the problem of gall stones, from what I have read.
          Start weight: 250 - 06/2009
          Current weight: 199
          Goal: 145

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          • #6
            Thanks to all of you for your replies.
            Xntrik & Katt, thank you both for the interesting info you provided.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Katt View Post
              From Robb Wolf's book, The Paleo Solution... he considers that gallstones, and the subsequent removal of the gall bladder to a direct result of intestinal damage due to eating grains, and that these people are quite possibly undiagnosed Celiac's. He believes that eating paleo will potentially cure the problem of gall stones, from what I have read.
              Hi, this is my first post.
              I've been doing Paleo/Primal for 5 weeks now, but this post was 'triggered' by an attack of symptoms I've had recurring over several years.
              I had my gall bladder removed in 2005, help! that's nearly 9 years ago. However, it appears that I still produce and pass gallstones, probably one a year. I had a scan which indicated that whatever the duct is that leads from liver to intestine was enlarged and that it was consistent with having passed a gallstone. I had another attack three days ago. It's a bit like having a baby!! I bloat out all around my middle, have to undo all clothing, bra fastening, trousers, etc., and sit back or lie down in great discomfort till the 'episode' is finished. It is a very specific pain, and I can tell what it is as soon as it starts. I get a lot of gas building up inside, like there's a blockage, until it passes. Usually lasts about half an hour or so, and once it's over I'm fine!! Very odd. So what should I not eat???????? I love butter and all things creamy, so enjoy homemade mayonnaise and some butter on veggies. I also put butter in a hard-boiled chopped egg! So is there something I could change.
              Sadly I've not lost much weight on Paleo, but my joints are better and chronic (but not acute) gastritis has gone. (No more medication for that!) I went on Paleo/Primal principally to get better mobility as walking helps to keep my blood sugar under control. I'm not on medication for the diabetes and would like to keep it that way. My only meds are a couple of tablets for raised blood pressure.
              Any advice would be welcome!!

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              • #8
                I had my gallbladder removed 3 years ago, i felt an excruciating pain one day and went to see my doctor. turns out I have 8 stones in my gallbladder with the size of a peanut. Since I cannot take the pain anymore, I decided to get it removed. you should get it removed too if you experience frequent pain.

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                • #9
                  People talk of dissolving them. IDK.
                  Crohn's, doing SCD

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                  • #10
                    Replying to Cuckoo57

                    [QUOTE=cuckoo57;1437469]Hi, this is my first post.
                    I've been doing Paleo/Primal for 5 weeks now, but this post was 'triggered' by an attack of symptoms I've had recurring over several years.]

                    I, too, have been Paleo/Primal for just over five weeks, and my main motivation is to avoid (and eliminate the possibility of) taking tablets for my Type 2 diabetes. So far I can report excellent improvement in my blood sugar and energy levels, elimination of brain fog, no issues at all with bad food cravings, weight loss of more than 3 pounds a week, and am about to start my first Whole30. BUT, as of last night, I am in the middle of a very nasty bout of... Well, it must be a gallstone attack, but I had my gallbladder removed over two decades ago! I remember the attacks well - impossible to forget the pain really, so I'm looking for some advice. I have had no sugar since starting paleo, no processed foods, no dairy, no wheat or gluten, and no fruits. I have been eating organically-raised meats, lots of (certified organic) green veggies, carrots, and some limited amounts of sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Having read the above posts, I shall now increase my water consumption to see if that helps, but if the pain is still there tomorrow morning I don't know whether to see the doc, or go straight to a hospital.
                    Any input from other readers will be gratefully received.

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                    • #11
                      The Gallbladder is used when we eat fat. Therefore if you are on a low fat diet the bile in the gallbladder will stand still for long time and form stones. If you eat high fat this can flush out the stones. Have to say it will also hurt like crazy to eat high fat when you have stones. Best is to eat fat regular to prevent the stone formation in the first place.

                      Gallbladder motility and gallstone formation in obese patients following very low calorie diets. Use it (fat) to lose it (well). Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1998 Jun
                      Gallbladder motility and galls... [Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1998] - PubMed - NCBI

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                      • #12
                        Thank you Bio Chemist for your reply. It took a few days for the attack to pass, and I fasted during that time so as not to worsen the situation. Have been fine since. I am guessing that I passed a stone or two. I have eaten more saturated fats since so maybe that is helping me.


                        Essspe

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                        • #13
                          I have a gallbladder full of stones. Still trying to decide what to do, but in the meantime a high fat diet seems to mean a lot less pain than a carby one - had a terrible attack after eating a big plate of chips! (Fries, I'm British.)

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                          • #14
                            Chips are generally high-heated in fats, often PUFA-rich oils like peanut oil, though tallow or lard was traditionally used. Today's lard also tends to be higher in PUFAs than the lard of the past. Do you get an attack when you eat a baked or boiled potato with no added fat?
                            Originally posted by tatertot
                            Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong.
                            "our ancestors obtained resistant starch and other fermentable fibers by eating a diversity of wild plant foods, bulbs, corms, tubers, cattails, cactuses, and medicinal barks..." -Mark Sisson

                            "I've long ago tossed the idea that a particular macro ratio is poison, and am now starting to think that the EM2…is defined less by novel NADS…and more by the gut microbiome and environmental pseudocommensals ..." -Kurt Harris, MD

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