More than a million Americans have to deal with painful gallstones every year, and many of them undergo surgery in order to rid their body of hard, pebble-like deposits that grow inside the gallbladder. If you’ve ever had to ‘pass’ a gallstone or kidney stone, you know it is a pain like no other. This pain can be avoided; however, simply by adding high doses of vitamin C and curcumins (found in turmeric root) to one’s diet.
Gallstones can be miniscule – smaller than a pea, or ridiculously large in size, like a golfball. They are caused by a number of things, but many naturopaths point to diet as a primary cause.
Women over 50 who are obese are at greatest risk for developing gallstones, but anyone can suffer from them. Cholesterol also causes gallstones, and these type are some of the most easily treated with high levels of vitamin C.
Sometimes gallstones will pass out of the body all on their own, simply emptying into the small intestine to be eliminated form the body. Others can get stuck while they are trying to pass for the gallbladder to the intestines and cause debilitating pain. Some people get gallstones so often that their doctors recommend just removing their gallbladder altogether, but this is a drastic step that could easily be mitigated by diet changes.
There are often drugs prescribed to try to help ‘melt’ a gallstone, but these can cause pancreatitis and inflammation in the body that leads to other diseases.
Just a 200mg supplement of vitamin C taken daily by women in one study reduced their likelihood of getting gallstones by half.
Furthermore, if you don’t already have gallstones, or recently had some painfully removed, you can make sure they don’t come back by simply adding turmeric to your diet.
“Curcumin supplementation of 20-40 mg has been reported to increase gallbladder contractions in healthy people. Although increasing gallbladder contractions could decrease the risk of gallstone formation by promoting gallbladder emptying, it could potentially increase the risk of symptoms in people who already have gallstones.”
In a study conducted in India on patients who had undergone gallbladder surgery, those who utilized turmeric faired much better:
“The patients were studied at periodic intervals after surgery. After weeks one and two, patients had lower pain and fatigue scores after taking curcumin and after week three, they were free of pain. Curcumin usage showed better results than that of analgesics.”
So, you can avoid gallstones if you get your vitamin C, and recover faster from gallbladder surgery if you add turmeric to your diet. Hopefully you can address the problem prior to surgery and avoid this often unnecessary and invasive procedure.