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Bile Acids - What Is Bile + Why Do You Need It?

Video Transcript:

Hi everyone. Welcome back to our channel.

You've most likely heard of the term liver bile, and you may even know what it means, but did you know that this substance has a critical role in our overall health?

What is Liver Bile and Why Do You Need It?

Liver Bile is a yellow green substance that's produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, and it's involved in digestion, specifically the breakdown in absorption of fat, but that's just one of the many important functions of bile, and it does way more than that.

In today's video, I will review the role of the liver in the gallbladder, explain how bile is produced, and also discuss the functions and importance of bile.

And then lastly, I'll discuss what to do if you have any concerns about your body's ability to utilize and produce bile.

Hi, I'm Katie Bailey. I'm a gut health dietician at Oswald Digestive Clinic, where we help individuals improve and resolve their bothersome gut issues.

If you're interested in learning more about gut health, I'll link our 5 guide Five Ways to Improve Your Gut Health here, and / or you can schedule an appointment here.

Okay, so let's jump into today's topic.

Liver and Gallbladder

The liver is an organ that's located in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen just below the diaphragm, and it's a powerhouse for detoxification and metabolism.

It filters out toxins. It stores vitamins and minerals, and it produces protein and cholesterol.

Liver Bile Duct

Another function of the liver is that it produces bile and the hepatic duct in the liver is what transports that bile to either the gallbladder or the duodenum, which is the first piece of the small intestines.

What is the gallbladder

The gallbladder is a small organ that's nestled beneath the liver and acts as a reservoir for the bile that's produced by the liver.

The gallbladder stores and concentrates this bile by removing water to make it more potent.

And the presence of food, especially fat in the stomach and in the small intestines, triggers hormonal signals that prompt the gallbladder to contract and release bile into the small intestines.

The liver and the gallbladder work closely together to ensure that not only you have the bile that you need, but that it's released at the proper time to improve digestion and absorption of fats.

Now, any obstruction or malfunction in the liver, the gallbladder or even the ducts can lead to complications such as jaundice, which is yellowing of the skin, cholecystitis, which is inflammation of a gallbladder or gallstones.

Now, these conditions can disrupt the flow of bile, which then affects the absorption and digestion of fat in your diet.

How is bile made?

Well, bile production starts in the hepatocytes, which are your liver cells.

These cells synthesize bile acids from cholesterol.

Bile acids are the most critical component of bile as they are responsible for the emulsification of fats.

What is liver bile?

Bile consists of bile, acids, bilirubin, cholesterol, water, and electrolytes.

The liver converts cholesterol into two primary bile acids, and then these bile acids are then conjugated with the amino acids, trine and glycine to make them more soluble and result in more effective bile.

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Now, once the bile is produced, it is transported through the hepatic duct, either directly into the small intestines during active digestion, or it is sent to the gallbladder during fasting periods for storage.

Liver Bile Function

Bile serves multiple purposes in the digestive system with its primary role being the digestion and absorption of fats.

When you consume a meal that has fat in it, the bile acids will emulsify those fats, breaking them down into smaller droplets.

This increases the surface area, making them more accessible to our digestive enzymes like lipase for further breakdown.

Bile also aids in the absorption of our fat soluble vitamins.

These include vitamin A, D, E, and K. These vitamins require fat in order to be absorbed.

So without bile to process these fats, these vitamins might not be utilized effectively and could lead to deficiencies.

Now, bile also plays a role in regulating the microbes in our intestines.

It has antimicrobial properties that help control the balance and composition of our intestinal bacteria.

And an imbalance in this bacteria can lead to GI issues or other health concerns. So bile is vital in maintaining a healthy gut environment.

Bile also helps in the elimination of waste products from the liver, including bilirubin, excess cholesterol, as well as toxins.

How to know if my liver is healthy?

Now, you might be wondering how to know if your liver is healthy and producing enough bile for normal function.

There are some key indicators that can alert you to potential issues.

The first is going to be routine blood work that can look at your liver enzymes like ALT and AST, which when elevated can indicate liver inflammation or damage.

Another indicator is your stool color. So bile pigments give stool. Its brown color.

So if you start seeing stool that's pale or clay colored, that can suggest a lack of bile flow, which can be caused by either a blockage or liver issues.

Bile Acid Supplements

Bile acid supplements can aid individuals with liver and gallbladder conditions.

These supplements contain bile acids similar to those produced by the liver and can be beneficial for those that have bile acid deficiency.

They work by replacing the bile acids that your body is not producing or adequately releasing.

They help in the emulsification and absorption of fats, fat-soluble vitamins, and can reduce symptoms associated with fat malabsorption.

They can also bind to toxins and waste products facilitating their excretion from the body while bile acid supplementation.

Supplements are synthetic or naturally derived preparations that mimic the bile that is produced by the liver.

Bile Acid Supplement After Gallbladder Removal

Ox Bile supplements are from bovine sources that are rich in colic acid, which is one of those primary bile acids.

Ox bile is considered close to human bile and composition and is beneficial for those that have had their gallbladder removed or suffer from bile acid insufficiency.

Bile acid supplementation is often warranted for those that have had their gallbladders removed because with a lack of a gallbladder to store and concentrate that bile, the continuous flow of bile from the liver may be insufficient to break down fatty really fatty meals.

And this can lead to diarrhea, bloating, and discomfort.

So supplementation can compensate for the lack of the gallbladder by providing those necessary bile acids to aid in fat digestion.

But remember, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement to make sure that it is right for you and that it's not going to interact with any other supplements that you are currently taking.

Maintaining liver and gallbladder health is vital for ensuring a steady bile flow.

Liver and Gallbladder - More ways to keep healthy

Now, to support the liver in the gallbladder, you want to be eating a diet that is balanced in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats, as this is going to provide the nutrients that these organs need to function properly.

You're also going to want to limit alcohol consumption and reduce your intake of highly processed foods as this can decrease the stress on your liver and your gallbladder.

And then lastly, ensure that you're getting adequate hydration as this helps with detoxification as well as a healthy bile flow.

Liver Bile Function - In Summary

So to wrap up our topic for today, the essential role of bile cannot be overstated from facilitating healthy digestion of fats to aiding in the elimination of toxins, bile is a fundamental component of your digestive system.

Okay, so that's it for today's topic.

If you like this video, please hit the like button and subscribe for more nutrition videos.

If you're interested in working with our clinic, you can click the link here to schedule an appointment.

We do take insurance and you can find more information about that on our website.

Thank you for watching. I'll see you next time.


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If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic.  We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.

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