By Peter Melamed, LAc, PhD
The liver, gallbladder and pancreas, can figuratively be in good or terribly unhealthy relationship, in the human body. In a healthy situation, these digestive organs can work together as a team, but in an unhealthy situation, they can hurt one another, causing diseases. For instance, both bile and pancreas (pancreatic lipase) are responsible for proper fat digestion. For a bad example, gallbladder stones or pancreatic cancer both can cause blockages of bile and pancreatic juice that cause huge problems for liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.
To realize the close relationship between liver, gallbladder, and pancreas, one needs to understand the structure and some functions of these organs. The liver is our body’s major chemical factory, and it carries out many incredibly important jobs. Everything we eat and digest makes its way into the liver and liver uses these food substances to produce essential nutrients for the whole body.
The liver’s most important function is producing and releasing bile. We cannot properly digest the fats without bile. Bile also provides elimination different toxic substances from the body. These substances include the products of the body’s metabolism such as bile pigments and cholesterol, as well as some toxic chemicals, alcohol, drugs, medications and heavy metals.
The liver secretes bile into a network of ducts. These ducts meet to form the common bile duct that carries bile from the liver and gallbladder. The common bile duct merges with the pancreatic duct. The pancreatic duct carries the pancreatic juice with inactive digestive enzymes from the pancreas into the duodenum, the first section of the small intestine.
Around the common bile duct, pancreatic duct and the duodenum wall there is a strategic muscle valve that is called the Sphincter of Oddi. The Sphincter of Oddi controls secretions from the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas into the duodenum. Spasm or blockage of this muscle valve can cause pancreatic juice to back up inside the pancreatic duct. Digestive enzymes trapped inside the pancreas are activated and start to digest their own pancreatic cells, causing damage, inflammation, pain, cysts and ultimately the destruction of pancreatic tissue.
Poor eating habits, fatty liver, hepatitis, liver congestion, inflammation Candida-yeast overgrowth, parasites, infection, whole body acidity can cause the bile to be thick and acidic making it hard to move through the ducts and valves.
When the bile becomes thick and acidic, it also becomes highly aggressive. Why? Acidic changes in the bile lead to precipitation of the aggressive bile acids. Precipitated bile acids act as an extremely strong detergent. This means that aggressive bile corrodes and irritates the walls of the ducts and intestines causing a bile reflux – the wrong way traffic for bile. This causes spasms of the pancreatic and common bile ducts and the Sphincter of Oddi, as well. This is very important point that I medically explain in our eBook and articles.
Unfortunately in this case, the aggressive, thick and acidic bile instead of going to the duodenum, goes into the pancreas, where activates the pancreatic digestive enzymes inside the pancreas. Thus, pancreatitis begins.
Additionally, when the aggressive, toxic, acidic, bile drives into the duodenum, it corrodes and irritates the walls of the duodenum causing the duodenal ulcers. This aggressive, acidic bile causes the duodenum walls to contract in a jerky movement that pushes the bile up to the stomach or even esophagus. This bile-pancreatic reflux can cause stomach and esophagus inflammation, ulcers and possibly cancer.
Good digestion is primarily depended upon proper quality and adequate amount of bile and pancreatic juice filled with high-quality digestive enzymes. Contrary, the most digestive symptoms such as abdominal cramps or pains, belching, heartburn, nausea, gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, are signs of indigestion and may demonstrate impaired work of liver, gallbladder and pancreas.
Therefore, health of liver, gallbladder, and pancreas depends upon a few basic things. Bile and pancreatic juices need to be liquid and alkaline. Any kind of factors that cause dehydration and acidity, negatively influence in liquidity of pancreatic juice and bile.
Nowadays, harmful action of the whole body acidity catches the eyes of scientists and doctors increasingly. Aging, many chronic diseases cause the whole body acidity. In turn, they are consequences of chronic acidosis – collection of acidic substances in the tissues. The most sufferers from the whole body acidity are alkaline digestive glands: liver and pancreas.
Nutritional scientists warn that acidity is getting rampant in modern society. The main reasons are an abundance of the processed, acid-forming foods: sugars, sweets, meats, white flour and rice, sodas, etc. Alcohol is also highly acidic and toxic substance; therefore, no wonder, that people, which use alcohol suffer from liver, gallbladder, and pancreatic diseases.
By common sense, in all symptoms of indigestion it is wise to stop use the acid-forming foods and substances. By simple biochemistry to neutralize acidity, it is necessary to supply the body with minerals such as magnesium and potassium, and bicarbonates. Naturally, there are only three ways for it. First is the alkaline diet that I described in details, in our book. Second is consumption of mineral supplement as a cellular magnesium-potassium. Third is drinking alkaline-producing, healing mineral waters.
Europeans knew that hundreds of years. Many mineral spas around Europe help either healthy or sick people spend “healthy vacations” there. European doctors have used mineral water for health and wellbeing for more than 500 years.
The Czech town of Karlovy Vary has been a legendary healing European mineral spa since the 1700s. According to legend the Roman Emperor and Bohemian King Charles IV (Karl IV) was one of the first patient. His name the town of Karlovy Vary (Charles Springs – Karlsbad) bears in 1370.
European physicians became interested in the Karlovy Vary springs water and many medical papers confirmed the beneficial effects of the drinking cures. Karlovy Vary mineral water was so popular for healing digestive disorders that, from 1764, the Karlovy Vary thermal spring salt was
produced by evaporating mineral water. By dissolving the genuine Karlovy Vary thermal spring salt in warm water, everyone can get the mineral water with the same healing properties to the water from the Karlovy Vary hot mineral springs. After drinking Karlovy Vary healing mineral water at home, everyone can see a shift to normal, slightly alkaline level of his/her saliva and urine pH by using litmus paper.
Bile and pancreatic juice are alkaline mineral solution. Nutritional supplementation with special forms of magnesium and potassium can also neutralize the whole body acidity and promote alkalinity of bile and pancreatic juice.
Fat in the food is normal trigger to open the sphincter of Oddi and move bile and pancreatic juice into the small intestine. Due to wrong slogan “No Fat, No Cholesterol” Americans avoid oily foods, mistakenly mix up “good” fats such as coconut oil, avocados, olive oil, butter, nuts with “bad” fats such as animal fats, artificial oils and trans-fats. Deficiency of “good” fats can lead to bile and pancreatic juice congestion with gallbladder stones, shortage of the fat-soluble vitamins and symptoms of indigestion.
Thousand years’ people used spicy herbs Anise, Chamomile, Fennel, Ginger, Oregano, Sage, Peppermint, Thyme, and Turmeric for better digestion. These herbs can naturally promote producing and elimination bile and pancreatic juice; as a result, can be useful for many digestive disorders.
Americans know about using acupuncture for lower back pain but do not recognize that this ancient healing method is extremely valuable for various liver, gallbladder and pancreas disorders. Acupuncture in the experienced hands can ease abdominal spasms and pains, stop diarrhea, improve peristaltic, diminish appetite, and even help with elimination of small gallbladder stones.
Mother Nature put most of the digestive organs in the abdomen. There is a massive crowd there. If one organ begins to move slowly or even stops, everything goes wrong, and the entire digestive system suffers. Each abdominal organ needs space to work. Pancreas takes the most “difficult” position. The pancreas is squeezed between the stomach, liver, duodenum, spleen, left part of the large intestine, inferior vena cava, aorta, and spinal column. There is truly no space in this area.
If a person suffers from gas, bloating, or constipation, the pressure inside the stomach area increases, similar to a tight cloth or belts. Squeezing of internal abdominal organs leads them to stick together causing adhesions. This is, in its turn, causes more restrictions in moving and the more congestion. For ancient years, healers have utilized massage techniques for “moving” and stimulating correct work of all the digestive organs to reduce pain and abdominal discomfort.
Contrary to Europe, the American word “diet” typically refers to the purposeful selection of food to control body weight but not for the healing purposes. Dietary changes are significant in any of the digestive disorders. Food is the safe, cheap, time-proved medicine.
To summarize, all liver, gallbladder and pancreas disorders do not unexpectedly fall from the sky. Often they required 5-15 years to develop. People have to listen to their body because even small symptoms of indigestion can be alarming bell of severe problems in future.
Non-drug, non-knife methods of the alternative medicine may stop the process in the beginning and post pone deterioration of numerous liver, gallbladder and pancreas disorders. I do not recommend to prove these methods of our own; self-treatment is risky business. The goal is to find the knowledgeable health provider.
The information on this article is presented for educational, informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the diagnosis, treatment, and advice of a qualified licensed professional.
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