Chlorella and Gallstones: Dangers, Warnings, and Side Effects

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One of the foods I decided to try as part of a gallstone diet is chlorella. Chlorella is a an algae, and highly regarded as being a superfood. Despite lots of classic undocumented and sketchy claims (like, it cures everything from Cancer to Aids), Chlorella is in fact a food and has number of real beneficial properties. It is loaded with protein and contains tons of nutrients. It is easy to consume, coming in tablet form and in powders. The powder can be mixed into water or fruit juice.

Chlorella is known to have an extremely thick cell wall. This wall can be difficult for some people to digest. But it has an added bonus: chlorella is allegedly really good at bonding to heavy metals in the body. Because of this it is an important element in “detox” regimes, especially those involving the liver. Since I am doing so much work keeping my liver healthy and well nourished, this could have been an added benefit for me and anyone trying to reverse gallbladder disease and imbalances.

Sounds simple enough, so I decided to try some as an easy, natural way to boost nutrition.

Side Effects

Chlorella is known to have a few side effects. Some people have trouble digesting the thick cell wall. These people can experience some temporary bloating, nausea, and gas. The recommendation for these people is to lower the dosage.

After I started using chlorella, I noticed some gastro-intestinal “disturbances”. These seemed unrelated to my gallbladder so I was not concerned. I’ll spare you the details, but they became extreme enough I wanted to figure out what was going on. After some scientific elimination and a review of the foods I had been eating, I discovered Chlorella was the culprit.

Serious Side Effects

This led me down a number of searches, most importantly, chlorella vomitingEven a cursory glance at some of the those results will reveal that chlorella has an extremely dark side. This dark side is rarely acknowledged at all by chlorella manufacturers and advocates. Bottom line, we’re talking about people becoming VIOLENTLY ILL. We’re talking about trips to the ER, vomiting so badly they burst blood vessels, and painful rashes that last for months. There are hundreds of such testimonials out there. Read them.

I consider myself extremly lucky that my reaction was not that severe. But the risk is high here. For anyone recovering from gallbladder attacks, this would be a terrible thing to have happen. I would avoid chlorella completely.

There is an important lesson here: do your research. From now on, any new supplement or food group I introduce to my diet will be preceded by a (food)+vomit search.

The world of natural medicine is vast, poorly regulated, and documented mostly by anecdote and vague claims. Be careful.

 

Celebrate With A Gallstone Banana Spit

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One of the seemingly most difficult things about the gallbladder is diet is the total elimination of refined sugar. Refined sugar is bad. You don’t need it. Sadly, I am a sugar junkie and absolutely love sweets of all kinds.

I thought the experience of giving up sugar would be harder than it actually is. The truth is, after a few weeks, I am finding that my tastes are recalibrating. Fruits are sweet enough. I’m avoiding all refined sugar, honey, molasses, “organic cane sugar” (deceptive health food store lingo for refined sugar), maple syrup, everything. Instead, I’m eating tons of fresh fruit and loving it.

For fun, I tried some vegan tricks last night for a treat. This is a banana split made of nothing but fruit and nuts. It is unbelievably tasty! Now, this is certainly loaded with natural sugar from the fruit and fat from the nuts, but it is good for the body. Just make sure to share and not each to much.

Banana Ice Cream

Take 4 bananas and blend them in a blender until they are totally smooth. Put them in a container and freeze for an hour. Done! Banana Ice Cream.

Cashew Whipped Cream

While said bananas are freezing, put 1/2 cup of raw (unroasted, unsalted) cashews and 1/2 cup of dates (remove pits) in a blender. Add a cup of water. Let them site for 10 mins to soften, then blend, pulse, pummel with the blender until nice and creamy. Done! Vegan whipped cream.

Toppings

Cut up a handful of fresh strawberries and toast a handful of walnuts. Chop the walnuts.

Delicious

Put the frozen banana ice cream in a dish, top with strawberries and toasted walnuts, add a dollop of cashew whipped cream.

It’s a great mix of fruity and nutty flavors. An excellent exercise for mindful eating.

Quick Look At My Gallstone Diet

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Lots of people ask what I am eating. Here is what I ate yesterday by way of example (exported from my Perfect Diet Tracker software, highly recommended!):

  • Ezekiel 4:9, Golden Flax Cereal <Ezekiel> 1/2 cup 180 37 8 2.5 190mg 6 Breakfast
  • Kefir <Nancys> 0.8 x 1 serving (226.8g) 144 27.2 5.6 2 Breakfast
  • Blueberries <Raw produce> 50 berries (68g) 38.8 9.9 0.5 0.2 1mg 1.6 Breakfast
  • Raspberries <Raw produce> 10 raspberries (19g) 9.9 2.3 0.2 0.1 0mg 1.2 Breakfast
  • Miso Soup <Vegan> 1 serving (54g) 180 35 9 1 680mg 2 Lunch
  • California Roll <Sushi> 2 x 1 serving (132.0g) 442 90 12 4 879mg 10 Lunch
  • Cucumber Tomato Side Salad <Noodles & Company> 1 serving (100g) 80 18 2 0 190mg 2 Lunch
  • Pork, Kale & White Bean Soup <Eating Well> 1.2 x 1 2/3 cup (340.2g) 314.4 31.2 30 7.2 751mg 8.4 Dinner
  • Roasted Beet Salad <Vegetarian Times> 1 serving 104 10 2 7 134mg 2 Dinner
  • Artichoke Hearts <Trader Joes> 1/2 cup 50 9 3 0 380mg 2 Dinner
  • Coffee, Brewed from Grounds, Prepared with Tap Water 6 fl oz (178g) 1.8 0 0.2 0 4mg 0 Snacks & Drinks
  • Bananas <Raw produce> 1 serving (126g) 112.1 28.8 1.4 0.4 1mg 3.3 Snacks & Drinks
  • Sourdough Bread <Trader Joes> 1 slice (54g) 150 29 6 0.5 260mg 1 Snacks & Drinks
  • Rice Milk Original <Rice Dream> 0.8 x 1 cup (226.8g) 96 19.2 0.8 2 80mg 0 Snacks & Drinks
  • Cod Liver Oil <GNC> 1 tsp (5ml) 40 0 0 4.5 0mg 0 Snacks & Drinks
  • Mixed Vegetable and Fruit Juice Drink, with Added Nutrients 8 fl oz (247g) 71.6 18.5 0.1 0 52mg 0 Snacks & Drinks
  • Green Superfood <Amazing Grass> 1 scoop 30 4 2 1 10mg 2 Snacks & Drinks
  • Mangos <Raw produce> 1 fruit (207g) 134.6 35.2 1.1 0.6 4mg 3.7 Snacks & Drinks
  • Almonds <Sunkist> 2 x 1 serving (30g) 340 10 12 30 192mg 6 Snacks & Drinks
  • Dates, Medjool 2 x 1 date, pitted (24g) 133 36 0.9 0.1 0mg 3.2 Snacks & Drinks
  • Figs, Dried, Uncooked 5 x 1 fig (8.4g) 104.6 26.8 1.4 0.4 4mg 4.1 Snacks & Drinks

Week 2 Review

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I feel fantastic! I am certainly living proof that there is hope for people determined to keep their gallbladder and fight gallstones naturally. Only time will tell of course, but it is clear that I have reversed the symptoms 100% (for now) and as an added bonus I feel better than I have in quite some time. I would call it a seismic shift: physically, mentally, and emotionally. My whole regime is gaining momentum and rather than being a struggle, is something I am enjoying and hoping to continue. I can feel for sure that my Gallbladder is functioning well and the bile is flowing again.

Taking things slowly and gaining some stability was the first goal. Coming up is the harder work of actually setting out to eliminate the stones. While the first goal was just to stop the painful attacks, I’m not going to call this attempt at keeping my gallbladder a success until an ultra sound shows a gallbladder 100% free of gallstones.

If you have stumbled upon Keeping My Gallby and are faced with the decision to remove a gallbladder surgery or give natural healing a shot, I would  recommend following this basic approach for a few weeks and see if you can stop the attacks and reset your digestion as  have. You’ll at least buy yourself some time to make a carefully considered decision before hastily removing an organ.

How I’m Feeling?

Here are a few of the benefits I’m experiencing: feeling great, no attacks, gallbladder/liver area is no longer swollen or tender, healthy appetite, desire for healthier foods, increased energy, better mood, better sleep, healthier glow and skin tone, feeling stronger, feeling more grounded in my body, healthier mindfulness of my body.

Sounds good, right?

Main Components of My Gallbladder Health Regimen

Here is what I’m doing and what I think is working:

While there are a few magic bullets in that list (for pain), the biggest contributors to success so far has been paying careful attention and being really disciplined. The change in habits has benefited me more than anything else. Keeping gallby is a commitment. I would love it if curing this problem was as simple as doing a gallbladder flush, but it is not.
Your gallstones are a painful message from your body that something is out of balance, and has been for some time. It will take time to reverse course. Be clear with yourself on that point. The good new is, there is no rush. This is an opportunity to create lifelong habits that will support your health and well being. Really, it is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Chamomile And Lemon for Your Gallbladder (and liver)

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While researching things that can help the gallbladder and liver, two things keep popping over and over again. Chamomile Tea and Lemon Juice. Both are seemingly harmless enough and the anecdotes suggest that both are helpful in restoring your liver, and digestion in general, to good health. Seems simple enough and worth trying.

One problem for me is that I really don’t like the taste of Chamomile Tea. In my quest to see what I could do about that, I was lucky enough to find a local herbalist with pure, fresh, dried Chamomile flowers. It is a whole different experience. I strongly suggest you put the Celestial Seasonings to the side and go look for the good stuff. Fantastic.

Best of all, you can combine these to therapies into one simple drink. It seems both are beneficial as a starter and as a nightcap. So I brew a pot of fresh chamomile tea at night and pour a hot cup. I squeeze 1/2 of a fresh lemon into it and drink before bed. I save the rest of the pot for the morning. When I wake up, I pour the cool chamomile into a glass and add the other 1/2 of the lemon (squeeze it in). I drink it first thing in the morning. It’s a great time to take your Disodium Phosphate too.

Lemon Juice is nicely stimulating, particularly for the digestion. I am finding it is great before breakfast, but makes me a little more peckish at night than usual. Overall though, it is soothing and good for you. A fantastic source of Vitamin C.

Core Gallbladder Healing: Disodium Phosphate, Hydrochloric Acid (HCL), and Omega 3

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Working with a good nutritionist is a key strategy for success in beating gallstones without removing the gallbladder. As mentioned before, a good place to start is addressing any vitamin or nutrient deficiencies found in the bloodwork. This will vary according to each person. For me, the core boosts I need are Vitamin D, “good” cholesterol, and B 12/Folate. I’m supplementing daily.

But beyond making sure the body has its general required vitamin, mineral, and nutrient base, there are 3 specific supplement therapies specific to helping your gallbladder out of its mess. You’ll find these same basic concepts cropping up over and over again in anecdotes and web pages around the net. My nutritionist prescribed the following and you should expect to see something similar. If you don’t, ask your nutritionist:

Disodium Phosphate

It appears Disodium Phosphate is a good, all around digestive aid and is used for a variety of purposes including gallbladder issues, liver issues, constipation, and bloating. As a gallstone/gallbladder cure, its usefulness is in its ability to thin the bile and keep it moving. Preventing stagnation in the gallbladder is critical to success.

Hyrdochloric Acid

Hydrochloric Acid (HCL) supplementation has been discussed here before. Basically, the idea is to increase stomach acid as a way of smoothing digestion and correcting imbalance. You want food to be properly digested in the stomach, as opposed to the small intestine. Folks lacking in HCL tend to pass food more quickly to the small intestine where it is digested less efficiently. Flatulence is symptomatic of this.

Omega 3

Omega 3s in the form of oils are often found in gallbladder and gallstone healing regimens. These “good” fats come from thinks like Fish and Flax Seed oils. We have already seen how effective Flax Seed Oil (in the for of Flax Seed Tea) is in relieving gallbladder attack symptoms. Again, the addition of Omega 3 Oils to a gallbladder diet seems to target overall digestive health, and specifically, the thinning and regulation of bile.

All 3 of these are part of my daily regimen. The Disodium Phosphate is taken by gel capsule once a day, first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. The HCL is taken with each meal (importantly, towards the end of the meal). The Omega 3s are easy to get down. I’m varying my source of them as much as possible, alternating daily between:

  • Fish Oil Supplements
  • Teaspoon of Cod Liver Oil
  • Teaspoon of Flax Seed Oil
And of course, continuing to drink Flax Seed Tea a few times each week.

Week One Review

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It’s been nine days since I asked the surgeon to put down the knife and made the commitment to attempt to keep my gallbladder in tact. I see this week as a bona fide success and would describe the shift in my general well-being as “seismic”. Sadly, I did have one attack, but it was an order-of-magnitude more manageable than past attacks and I was able to recover swiftly. I also believe I correctly identified the cause for the attack (my HCL supplementation).

Main Activities:

  • Tons of Research
  • Meeting With Nutritionist

Main Strategies:

It worked. I feel like a completely different person physically, mentally, and spiritually. I can feel a seismic and healthy transformation in my digestion. My appetite is good and increasing in a desirable way. I’m pleased that this week was a good first step towards restoring some balance to my health: not just to the gallbladder but to my overall well being. My commitment to beating this growing rather than waning, so that’s a good thing. We all need a little encouragement.
Coming up this week will be the introduction of small doses of Hydrochloric Acid. I can “feel” that I need it when I take it, but I have to move slowly with it and keep the dosage low. I will also start introducing some exercise into the picture (extremely important), and some substances to help dissolve the stones. More to come. All this weeks strategies are keepers and will remain fundamental to my continuing program.

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