Did the Carnivore Diet dissolve my Gallstone? An Update…
Back in January 2nd, 2019 I wrote the following:
How I cured my Gallstone attacks with the Carnivore Diet
How I solved my Gallstone attacks cold by adopting a carnivore diet.
I was very specific about the title. I didn’t say that the Carnivore Diet cured my gallstone; it did cure the attacks I was on the receiving end of every couple of days.
For someone who spent every other night for a month, from midnight to at least 6am in sleep-deprived agony, having the pain magically stop was nigh well a miracle.
And being pain free has continued to this day.
In that article I explained my interpretation of the science behind why this would work, as well as cited the studies that back up my recovery. This article will present my personal tests as well as my theories, on how I am dissolving my gallstone.
Back in February 2017 I had an Abdominal Ultrasound to see what could be the culprit for the occasional pains I was feeling under my right lower rib. A gallstone was found, 2.5cm in size.
This was considered a large gallstone, with the gold standard solution being to surgically remove my gallbladder.
It just made zero sense to me that the best medical solution was to just remove an organ. Seemed at best wasteful, and at worst criminally lazy. There had to be a better way.
I was determined to find a nonsurgical solution.
There’s hardly anything in the medical literature that I’ve found that explains how to dissolve gallstones. I did find a couple that show how to induce them.
There is this article: Gallstone formation during weight-reduction dieting where out of the 51 participants on a low fat, low calorie diet, 13 of them formed Gallstones.
“Eleven of the 13 patients with gallstones were followed up for 6 months after discontinuation of the diet. Besides the 3 undergoing cholecystectomy, 4 subjects had gallstones on follow-up ultrasound examination, while sonographically detectable gallstones had disappeared in 4 subjects. We conclude that this form of weight-reduction dieting predisposes to the development of gallstones and that gallstone formation is a risk of this type of prolonged calorie restriction. Dissolution or evacuation of gallstones may occur with resumption of a normal diet.”
This showed me that in 1 of 4 cases you could induce gallstones. 25%. It was also one of the only studies that gave me faith that diet could possibly even dissolve my Gallstones.
The other NIH study I cited also concluded that a low fat diet can be used to induce gallstones. A low fat diet induced gallstones in 6 of 11 people in the study, over one in two.
“Twenty-two (69%) subjects concluded the study, eleven in each group, and a significant weight loss was achieved by all subjects. Gallstones (asymptomatic) developed in 6/11 (54.5%) (P < 0.01) of subjects following the lower fat diet, but in none with the higher fat regimen.”
If a low fat diet could induce gallstones, and a high fat diet seemed protective against gallstone formation, why does every advice I hear in regards to gallstones say to lower your fat intake?
It didn’t make any sense to me.
The sizes of these 2 studies were tiny (13 and 22 patients), nigh well ignorable. Perhaps the tiny size of the studies were because inducing a chronic disease seems a tad unethical?
…Or, is there a possibility that these dietary solution results have not been duplicated because Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder removal) is also a high volume, low risk, profitable surgical procedure?
Diet solutions are anathema to a procedure costing $5–11k.
Why would the medical industry approve of a study that could possibly demolish one of their cash cows?
“A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.” ~ Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen
…the cost of a Gallbladder Removal (Cholecystectomy) — Laparoscopic ranges from $5,812 to $11,234 ~MDSave
Approximately 300,000 cholecystectomies are performed annually. Hospitals are making $1,743,600,000–3,370,200,000, or $1.74 billion to 3.37 billion dollars — per year.
Why encourage a natural solution? Why kill a low risk, high volume procedure when hospitals can bank over 3 billion dollars a year?
The High Fat, High Calorie Diet
As my original article revealed, the month I was having my attacks I was staying at my parent’s home, both of whom were vegan. While I was there I ate basically a high grain, Low Fat, Low Calorie diet. Exactly the kind of diet the previously cited studies used to induce gallstone formation.
Also, none of the fats in my parent’s vegan diet came from animal fat, it was all seed oils: Canola and Safflower mainly.
I used to slather a ton of this Olive Oil vegan butter on vegan rolls.
On close reading of the “Olive Oil” this butter substitute was not mainly created from Olive Oil, it was actually a “Natural Oil Blend.’
‘NATURAL OIL BLEND (PALM FRUIT, CANOLA, SAFFLOWER, FLAX AND EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OILS), WATER, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF SALT, NATURAL FLAVOR \u20ac , PEA PROTEIN, SUNFLOWER LECITHIN, LACTIC ACID (NON-DAIRY), AND NATURALLY EXTRACTED ANNATTO (COLOR).’ ~Earth Balance Olive Oil Buttery Spread
It was almost as if Olive Oil was an afterthought.
I suspect that the generous use of seed oils also contributed to both the formation of my gallstones, as well as the attacks that occurred when I ate a strictly vegan diet.
There was only a single study I could find that supported my hypothesis that seed oils could be contributing to my gallstone attacks.
…hepatic bile secreted by patients who consumed sunflower oil appeared supersaturated (cholesterol saturation index >1.5) throughout the experiment. ~PubMed.gov
Cholesterol is one of the main components forming a gallstone. Use of Sunflower oil saturated the bile in the gallbladder with cholesterol.
My thought is that the gallbladder doesn’t recognize seed oils such as Safflower and Canola Oil the same as it does animal fats. Although I find no studies confirming this, only a natural health website that states this:
When replacing healthy fats with unrecognizable vegetable oils, bile can get old, thick and viscous. This is known as “biliary sludge” and it can lead to the formation of gallstones. ~ NurtureThat.com
It makes sense to me that the gallbladder’s main function is to produce fat dissolving bile in the presence of dietary fat. But when confronted with a seed oil it doesn’t produce any bile — because it doesn’t recognize the seed oil as a fat. Any remaining bile then becomes sludgy when not flushed, leading to the formation of gallstones.
And considering that our ancestors ate a high fat meat-eating carnivore diet for over 2.6 million years, versus only around 2,000 years for Safflower, with Canola oil being invented in just 1978.
I just couldn’t see how evolutionarily it would benefit us as a species that eating animal fat could be a problem for our gallbladders, whose specific function was intimately related to the digestion of fats.
I could see how relatively newly invented seed oils could be a problem, especially as they’ve since replaced the wide use of animal fats, such as tallow, butter and suet.
The legacy of Ancel Keys strikes again!
If you’ve delved into the Keto, or Carnivore, or dare I say — Atkins diet, you’ve heard of the controversy surrounding the anti-saturated fat campaign of Ancel Keys. I won’t belabor you with the details, other than saying Ancel was an American Physiologist who posited the theory that saturated (read: “animal”) fat led to coronary heart disease. Despite evidence to the contrary his theory became ad oculos, or “obvious to anyone that sees it.” It upended the whole dietary pyramid, deifying grains and polyunsaturated seed oils, while vilifying meats to a tiny portion of one’s everyday diet.
His theory has since been found to be a dietary myth.
But Ancel’s legacy was to replace saturated animal fat with vegetable oils, and seed oils. Recommending Polyunsaturated oils, or PUFA’s.
The first seed oils were invented and in use by the 1900’s, with Coronary heart disease rates rising precipitously since then:
Could it be possible that the use of polyunsaturated seed oils could also lead to other deleterious effects on the human body? Especially to the organ (Gallbladder) specifically purposed for digesting fats?
And could eating animal fat cure gallstones?
Because of my PTSD from having gallstone attacks I was hesitant to introduce more fats into my diet. Even my current doctor even told me to avoid fats and red meat. I just nodded, and went ahead with my plan.
I started with small portions of meat, adding larger portions as I felt I could eat without a problem.
Later, I found I could eat 1 lb ribeyes marbled in fat. I could even eat Chicharrones, basically pork fat fried in…fat.
Braunschweiger, sausages, ribeye steaks. Bacon, barbicoa, carnitas… The only time I had a problem eating animal products was when I ordered fish and chips. I had an attack that night. I called the restaurant the next day, and asked what kind of oil they used to fry the fish and chips in.
The answer: Canola Oil.
I don’t have all the answers, I only have the answers I’ve come up with for myself. Here’s my list:
- Eat a Meat-based diet. The human body has been eating animal foods for millions of years. Avoidance of fat will cause gallstones. If you are hypersensitive to any kinds of fat, start with lean meats first.
- Avoid Seed Oils. The human body doesn’t recognize seed oils, resulting in the gallbladder not flushing old bile from the gallbladder, allowing it to crystallize the cholesterol, forming gallstones.
- Fix your Metabolism. There’s a connection between gallstone formation and insulin that I haven’t been able to firmly formulate. But I believe that curing my prediabetes with the carnivore diet (meat-based diet, avoiding carbs) has contributed to reducing the size of my gallstone.
After 3 years, I was finally able to get health insurance again (Thanks Obamacare!) One of the first procedures I requested was to get an Abdominal Ultrasound. The result:
My Gallstone, which was 2.5cm back in 2017, in November of 2020 was reduced to 1.8cm.
A 38.88% decrease in size.
In those 3 years I wasn’t strictly carnivore, or avoided seed oils. But, 90% of the time I’d say I was fairly strict. I was probably more keto, as I did experiment with introducing Avocados and Coconut, including their oils into my diet. But I did mostly replace my seed cooking oils with butter, tallow or ghee.
I also got rid of sugar, and anything made with flour.
I’ll still occasionally cheat and order the Double Whopper with cheese, including the bun (presumably made with seed oils).
I’ve become increasingly more strict though.
I removed all seed oils, eating mainly a meat-based carnivore diet, slathering butter or other types of animal fats in a searing pan, with nary a whimper from my healing gallbladder.
Whatever I’m doing is reducing the size of my gallstone. Something nearly unheard of, especially from the medical establishment. Even a bonafide gallstone surgeon looked me in the eye and told me it was not possible.
It is possible, empirically possible — I have the test results to prove it! A test sample of N=1 is still a sample!
May your results be similar.
Hopefully, my story helps you, the ones suffering. My disclaimer in this increasingly litigious society: I am not a health professional. This diet helped me, but may not help you. Do so at your own risk. That being said, the result was nigh well miraculous to me, and if you suffer as well then maybe this will help you too.
In a few months to a year I will do another ultrasound to see if I was able to dissolve my gallstone for good. Until then, I wish you good health, and good luck!