The gallbladder is an organ that allows the proper digestion of fats. As a part of the biliary system, the gallbladder is involved in the production, storage, and transportation of bile. Bile allows us to digest fats, which then provides us with fat-soluble vitamins (among other nutrients). Fat-soluble vitamins include Vitamins D, A, E, and K and control many aspects of our health.
A strong, healthy gallbladder depends upon the parasympathetic nervous system for optimal functioning. Your vagus nerve is one part of the parasympathetic nervous system. It is the nerve that signals the gallbladder. Let’s see how that happens!
Where Is Your Gallbladder?
Your gallbladder is located near your lower right rib cage. It is about 3 inches long and is nestled below your liver and pancreas. After you eat a meal your gallbladder is flat, much like a deflated balloon. Before a meal the gallbladder will be full, growing as long as 8-10 cm and as wide as 4 cm and resembling the shape of a pear, filled with bile and ready to digest the fat from your meal. Although it is a powerful organ for digestion when working normally, you never even know it is there!
How Does Your Gallbladder Help You Digest Food?
The gallbladder serves as a reservoir for bile while it’s not being used for digestion. When food leaves your stomach and begins to travel down your intestines, your vagus nerve sends it a signal, “Kick out some digestive bile ‘cause food is headed your way!” The signal results in the gallbladder releasing (or “ejecting”) bile to help break down fats. It also drains waste products from the liver through the common bile duct to the duodenum, a part of the small intestine. The measurement of gallbladder function is called the “ejection fraction”.
This signal from your vagus nerve is part of your parasympathetic nervous system, critical for normal function of your gallbladder. When your vagus nerve is not working optimally, your gallbladder will not work optimally. Digestion suffers, and the likelihood of nutrient deficiencies of fat-soluble vitamins increases.
Founder and Inventor, Dr. Diana Driscoll shares her amazing gallbladder story with Scott, the Better Health Guy.
What Happens When You Get Deficient In Fat-soluble Vitamins?
The fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D, and K) are stored in the body (in adipose tissue, or fat, and the liver), and supplementation can lead to toxicity when it is not required. But when the gallbladder is not functioning optimally, levels can become low. If poor vagus nerve functioning is the reason for weak gallbladder functioning, supporting the vagus nerve can be sufficient to again digest and absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
Vitamin D is necessary for the regulation of calcium, phosphorus, and cell growth.
Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant and protects red blood cells and essential fatty acids from destruction.
Vitamin K is necessary for proper clotting of the blood, and bone health. It helps produce proteins for blood, bones, and kidneys.
Vitamin A is important for eye health (it helps with light adaptation), it plays an important role in cell division, gene expression, bone growth, the immune system, and allows the mucous membranes in the mouth, nose, throat, and lungs to remain moist. It is also a powerful antioxidant and may play a role in the prevention of certain cancers.
What To Do If Low In Fat-soluble Vitamins
It is important NOT to supplement with fat-soluble vitamins unless testing indicates deficiency. If low vagus nerve function is the underlying cause of poor gallbladder function and the result is poor digestion and absorption of these nutrients, however, supporting the vagus nerve is a safe and effective way to support this function of the gallbladder.
The vagus nerve allows your gallbladder to release bile, to digest fats, and to keep your levels of fat-soluble vitamins optimal. This is all automatic (the autonomic nervous system). You do not need to think about it, in fact, you have no conscious control over the process. Instead, this is all self-orchestrated.
Dr. Diana Driscoll has received two patents to date concerning vagus nerve support. This truly new discovery is changing lives today. Visit our Facebook page to hear interviews with Dr. Driscoll about how she worked through her own gallbladder problems!
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