Kelly’s a mom of four who had just started her whole family on the GAPS Diet. Her kids and husband were doing great, but she was struggling. She felt sick to her stomach a lot, described her digestion as “stagnant,” and didn’t have much of an appetite. When I reviewed her health history I saw that she’d had her gallbladder removed 7 years ago. I suggested that it sounds like she’s not digesting fats and that she try taking supplemental ox bile with each meal. Within days her digestion was moving again and nausea was a thing of the past. She was able to eat soup and started adding extra fats on Stage 2 of the Intro Diet.
If you find yourself complaining about dry skin and hair, constipation, or feel nauseated on a regular basis, these are all signs you’re not digesting fats well. Maybe you’ve also had your gallbladder surgically removed, maybe you’ve got gallstones, or frequent pain under your right rib cage. Or you might be the type that doesn’t have dramatic symptoms, but you just feel like your digestion works better on a low-fat diet. Many of us naturally avoid fats because we know that they make us feel a bit sluggish or sick, and you might not have realized this until you began the GAPS Diet and started eating a lot more fat.
A history of following a low-fat diet, or eating fats that aren’t natural to your body, like vegetable oils, canola oil, and margarine, don’t stimulate your gallbladder to make enough bile. Your gallbladder’s a “use it or lose it” organ and if you’re eating low-fat or poor quality fat, your gallbladder goes a little dormant or may actually start showing signs of disease. Getting your gallbladder removed is the number one surgery performed in the United States every year, with about 700,000 people undergoing it. (Learn more about why you need your gallbladder).
Good fat digestion is needed to correct nutritional deficiencies of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K, essential fatty acids, and also mineral deficiencies, because fats are the co-factor in minerals absorption. Bile is also a lubricant for your stool, so in some cases of constipation this is really key to resolving it. Of course natural fats are also crucial to making all of our hormones, cell membranes, and for keeping our skin soft and wrinkle-free.
Bile is made out of fat, and it also breaks fats down. So it can be a bit of a chicken and egg dilemma when it comes to boosting your bile production. You’ve got to get the good fats in and digested to make healthy new bile, but you’ve got a have good bile to break down these healthy fats you’re eating. Lots of free-flowing bile is also needed to make sure that the “river of toxins” that get processed through your liver can easily leave your body.
So what to do?
The simplest natural remedy to help boost your fat digestion is to drink Beet Kvass. Two to four ounces of Beet Kvass before each meal will help stimulate your bile production, and get it to the right place at the right time. For some people this is enough to up-regulate fat digestion.
If Beet Kvass is helpful to you, but it’s not convenient while you’re at work or out and about, I recommend carrying a supplement called Beta-TCP with you. It acts like a therapeutic strength version of Beet Kvass in a convenient tablet form. Taking two or three Beta-TCP with each meal will provide a similar effect as Beet Kvass. This is also helpful if you don’t like the earthy taste of beets.
Supplemental ox bile is useful for people whose gallbladder has been removed, and I consider it a requirement in this situation. Without a gallbladder your liver does produce bile, but the amount secreted isn’t adjusted to the amount of fat you’re eating – there’s just a constant drip of bile into your small intestine. I recommend a supplemental ox bile called BetaPlus, with a dose of 1-3 tablets per meal, depending on how much fat you’re eating. The dose can be quite individual and you’ll have to find the dose that alleviates your symptoms.
Be mindful that these are general recommendations on how to use supplements for better fat digestion and use them at your own risk. It’s always best to discuss your personal health and needs with your healthcare practitioner.
Dr. Natasha always says the more fat you eat on GAPS, the quicker you’ll heal. Aim for one and four tablespoons of fat per meal. But it’s not just simply getting the fat in your mouth – it’s actually getting it digested, absorbed, and utilized by your body. This is what beet kvass and these supplements will help you accomplish.
Jennifer, I had my gallbladder removed at least 10 years ago. Started on enzymes a few years ago and that really helped. What I have problems with no is even when I put body butters or natural lotions it will make me hurt all over the next day and I will feel awful. Even bone broth does it to me. I know I need fats cause of my dry skin and help with constipation. If you have any advice I would appreciate it. Penny
Hi Penny, That is quite extreme. Are you sure the products you are using are completely natural? Like you looked up each ingredient on the EWG Skin Deep database? Does rubbing avocado oil, coconut oil, or tallow directly on your skin cause this to happen as well? You are not ‘digesting’ anything put on your skin, but it can certainly show a sensitivity to a food or chemical.
Hi Jennifer. Do you do consultations and if so, what do you charge for a session and how long
Hi Sherri, I’ll reply to you personally by email. 🙂
I am in a bad shape after gallbladder surgery my skin is dry brittle n losing fat pls help me
Is there a reason why you promote these for fat digestion instead of Betaine HCL?
Betaine HCl is supplemental stomach acid. Having enough HCl is part of triggering the release of bile, but sometimes the bile itself is the issue.
I’ve had immediate success with Ox Bile after having chronic constipation while Betaine HCL did not help at all with the constipation (and I am aware of different dosage of HCL)
But I am suspecting I may also have Oxalate issues because of all the foods that I’ve reacted to on elimination diet seems to be Oxalate related so I am hesitant to try to a Beet Supplement.
Hi. I had my gallbladder removed last year. I also have IBSD. I have been having horrible fits with control. Accidents are not a fun thing at work. Do you think this would help?
My only question is does taking Ox Bile supplements stop your gallbladder from releasing Bile? Would it help or hurt formation of gallstones? So should ox bile be a short term supplement or can it be used with every meal.
If you have a gallbladder you don’t want to use the same amount of ox bile all the time because it could make it so your own bile isn’t excreted in the proper amounts with meals. It should always be a short term supplement if you have a gallbladder, but it can be used with every meal for a bit. Like a few months, but you want to change the dosage daily or per meal. It would not change the formation of gallstones, but retraining your body to make and release the appropriate amount of bile helps release them as they are formed. To get to the root of gallstones being formed, you need to eat only natural fats eaten historically, and address parasites, since fragments of them may be coated in bile at the center of a stone.
Could you please answer Kathy’s question.
I have same issues.
Thank you very much!
I had 4 feet of my small intestines taken out, I go all the time it smells I have a ton of gas and the pain at times is bad. They have tried everything I can’t take it. Plus the weight loss. Help me!!!
I looked at the ingredients of “Biotics Research Beta-Plus™ Nutritional Support for Bile Production” and I noticed it contains magnesium stearate which I avoid. Do you have a stance on this filler? I’ve seen it implicated in negative health consequences.
In clinical practice, I haven’t seen it be an issue. This may be because I view supplements as a bridge, keep them minimal, and usually don’t have people needing them long-term. There are certainly other brands if this is a specific irritant to you.