Thursday, February 17, 2011

Having the gall

I've had a few people approach me lately wondering what they can do about poor gall bladder function. My first thought was to recommend they take bile salts with all their meals, but obviously that's applying a band-aid to an axe wound, so I set off to do a bit of googling and learning...

Turns out that the gall bladder is signaled to do its thing (its main thing is to release bile salts, which help break down fats) by a chemical messenger called cholecystokinin , or CCK for short, which is released by the lining of the gut.

Now all of us primal-/paleo- diet proponents/dilettantes know that the guy lining is likely to be damaged by certain kinds of proteins, mainly glutens, although there are certainly other culprits.

Robb Wolf's recent book apparently went into this in more detail than I managed to absorb in a single reading. Fortunately, Tim Ferriss reproduced the pertinent parts here.

Alternative information that may be helpful: Apparently, even with impaired gall bladder function, the short-chain and medium-chain saturated fats can be broken down without too much trouble (e.g. those in butter and coconut oil, respectively). Intermittent fasting has also been shown to have a positive effect on the breakdown of fats, a process known as lipolysis.

Really glad that people sought my advice on this issue, or I never would have learned any of this. This blog isn't a platform for me to simply catalog what I believe/know about fitness and nutrition, but a place for me to learn, and document what I learn, and hopefully bring some people along with me on the journey towards greater wellness. I hope people will continue to challenge me, whether it be out in the real world, or here in the comments section, to think about areas that I've yet to explore. Thanks!

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