Although dietary fat has been vilified in conventional medical circles, it is an essential substance we can’t live without.
As with all food choices, there are healthy and unhealthy sources of dietary fat. Healthy sources include:
• Fat from animals raised organically and not treated with synthetic hormones
• Vegetable fat from oils that have not been hydrogenated
Hydrogenated fats are essentially vegetable oils that have been highly processed. The resulting fats are foreign substances that can disrupt the normal function of the cells and the gallbladder.
Unfortunately, the majority of Americans ingest a lot of these fats because so many vegetable oils have been hydrogenated. Most supermarket oils such as corn, soy, canola, and others contain hydrogenated fats.
More information about toxic and healthy forms of dietary fat can be found in my book, The Skinny on Fats.
The function of the gallbladder is to store bile for release into the intestines; that helps break down fat and fat-soluble vitamins in food.
People with no gallbladder or one that is not functioning well may need to supplement with bile acids to avoid discomfort every time they eat.
Bile acid supplements — which have been available for hundreds of years — can be taken with meals to supply the bile that is not being supplied by a diseased or removed gallbladder.
People need adequate amounts of bile acid to digest fat and absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K.
Fat-soluble vitamins are essential nutrients. We can’t make them in our bodies and can’t live without them. Therefore, if we can’t properly digest and absorb them from food sources, a deficiency occurs.
I have been checking vitamin and mineral levels in my patients for more than 20 years. In patients who have undergone gallbladder surgery, fat-soluble vitamin deficiency is common — not unexpectedly, as removing the gallbladder results in lower secretion of the bile that is necessary for absorption of those vitamins.
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