Alternative names: Liver and Gallbladder Cleanse
Gallbladder and liver flushes are widely advocated as a way of treating gallstones and (much less common) liver stones. They are also said to help with other medical conditions ranging from allergies to cancer. Skeptics tend to disagree.
Although many alternative medical practitioners swear by the liver and gall bladder flush (and numerous webpages explain the procedure and its benefits), other doctors express skepticism and state that the 'stones' that are passed are, in fact, simply bile-stained 'soaps' formed from the ingested olive oil.
We present the procedure here and leave the reader to make up his or her own mind.
According to proponents of this procedure, apple juice is a stone solvent; olive oil stimulates strong gallbladder contraction; and Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) stimulate gallbladder contraction and relax the muscles controlling the release of bile into the intestines.
According to skeptics, however, there is no way that the procedure could produce the claimed results: Neither apple juice nor any other agent taken orally is able to come into contact with gallstones in the gallbladder or the bile ducts, and large fatty meals would have the same effect as the olive oil.
A 6-day Liver/Gallbladder Flush
Items required: raw, unfiltered apple juice, Epsom salts, grapefruit juice, olive oil, and the following plan.
According to alternative practitioners, "If you pass many tan/green globs, the procedure can be repeated in 2 weeks. If a moderate number are seen, repeat in 60 days. If a few are seen, every six months is sufficient. Several flushes may need to be accomplished before symptoms such as allergies, bursitis and some back pain are resolved."
Even if successful, most patients with gallstones go on to form more stones. After successful dissolution of gallstones with ursodeoxycholic acid, 30-50% of patients form new stones within five years [Collins C et al. Annals of Surgery 239:pp.28-33, 2004]. The fact remains that, despite much research, no simple, safe, or dietary measures have been found to prevent gallstone formation. The traditional fat-free diet has shown no consistent benefit, possibly because an occasional fatty meal helps expel small stones or sludge.
This procedure and the ingredients used are harmless.
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