The Importance Of Bile For Health
By Bill Sardi
Bile is of one of the humors (fluids) that the Greek physician Hippocrates noted was important to maintain health. Bile, produced in the liver and stored in the gall bladder, facilitates the digestion of fats and oils and the absorption and transport of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K. Modern medicine may have better fulfilled its mission to educate the public about bile rather than cholesterol. Given that as many people have a heart attack with low cholesterol as they do high cholesterol, one wonders how cholesterol became the central paradigm of modern medicine. People over 60 years old who have high “bad” LDL cholesterol live as long or longer than people with low LDL cholesterol. As an aside, calcium pills, antacids, even aspirin, mainstays of medicine, fit into the same category – misdirections in the practice of medicine.
Both cholesterol and bile are secreted from the liver. Bile actually facilitates the degradation (catabolism) and disposal of cholesterol. Bile is described as a “detergent” that enables the excretion of cholesterol. Bile is actually comprised of cholesterol and controls circulating cholesterol levels. A backup of bile in the liver is problematic. A reduction in bile flow due to sludgy, thick viscous bile, can result in abnormally high cholesterol levels.
When bile doesn’t freely flow, cholesterol gallstones develop in the gall bladder. Modern medicine has a sure way of handling that problem – surgical removal of the gall bladder. But then the patient, sans gall bladder, must rely on the slow secretion of bile from the liver as the normal reservoir for bile has been removed.
Most people have their gall bladder removed in order to relieve symptoms of indigestion, only to find they now have less bile and greater indigestion. And bile levels in the lower part of the digestive tract are altered because bile is no longer being stored in the gall bladder, which can result in chronic diarrhea for the remainder of life of patients after having their gall bladder surgically removed.
Bile is so important it is recirculated back to the liver once it has done its job of disposing cholesterol.
What modern medicine does
What modern medicine does is employ a liver toxic statin drug to reduce cholesterol synthesis in the liver. Up to 3% of statin drugs users experience liver toxicity as evidenced by a rise in a liver enzyme (transaminase). An estimated 40 million Americans take statin drugs. At a 3% liver toxicity rate that would come to 1.2 million statin users with drug-induced liver toxicity. If an herbal supplement produced that many cases of liver toxicity it would be immediately removed from the medical marketplace.
Lowering cholesterol is accompanied by a slight decrease in coronary heart disease, but not mortality.
Lower cholesterol and there is a concomitant decline in mood and increased mental depression. As cholesterol levels decline, anxiety and mental depression increase. Individuals with the lowest cholesterol levels are six times more likely to kill themselves. Essentially, statin cholesterol-lowering drugs are suicide pills.
Demonizing cholesterol has been an intentional misdirection. Cholesterol is essential for life as it transports and delivers fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin A, D and E and carotenoids like beta carotene and lutein, to tissues and organs. Cholesterol is required to produce vitamin D in the skin from sunlight exposure. Cholesterol is also a precursor for sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone).
As middle age is approached, the liver produces more cholesterol in an effort to maintain fertility and virility in females and males. Replacement of testosterone and estrogen, which may be more appropriate, lowers cholesterol production.
Of interest, supplemental vitamin C increases testosterone levels and sperm count in males and estrogen levels in blood serum of females.
Dietary fat is required to produce cholesterol in the liver. A shortage of dietary fat lowers cholesterol but also potentiates a decline in mood and a shortened lifespan. Believe it or not, middle-aged adults who cut back on butter, cheese and meat and replaced these sources of fat with carbohydrates (bread, pasta, cereal) dramatically increase their risk for an early death.
A low carbohydrate diet is reported to increase fertility in females by 500%. A higher cholesterol level is associated with better sperm motility (movement). Essentially, fostering cholesterol phobia and promotion of statin cholesterol-lowering drugs represent covert ways of curbing population growth.
When cholesterol disposal ceases
What happens when the flow of cholesterol, produced in the liver, ceases?
Poor bile flow can induce jaundice – the white of the eyes turns yellow; the skin itches unmercifully; urine is dark, and circulating cholesterol levels rise due to poor degradation and excretion. Block bile flow for any prolonged period of time and a patient dies.
Chest pain from blockage of bile is often confused with chest pain from a heart attack. A dear friend of mine informed me he had a severe heart attack, a “widow maker” he said. He told me of its symptoms. It sounded more like an acute gall bladder attack as no heart tissue was damaged.
A study of coronary artery disease patients who experience chest pain is telling. Coronary artery disease patients typically have low amounts of bile in their stool, indicative of poor bile synthesis and flow. The hardening of bile into calcium/cholesterol stones in the gall bladder is associated with newly diagnosed coronary artery disease.
Enter vitamin C
Scurvy, the state of abject deficiency of vitamin C, was first characterized as “black bile disease.”
Animals do not develop atherosclerosis despite ingestion of a cholesterol-rich diet. Animals don’t get heart attacks but humans do. It is also known that most animals internally synthesize vitamin C, except guinea pigs, fruit bats and species of primate monkeys.
Due to a gene mutation, guinea pigs that do not endogenously produce vitamin C do not efficiently transform cholesterol into bile. Humans are in the same predicament. Humans do not internally produce vitamin C in their liver, having incurred the same universal gene mutation as guinea pigs.
Laboratory mice are not appropriate for study of human health conditions because they secrete vitamin C. Only the genetically-flawed guinea pig is the appropriate animal to conduct small-animal studies that have application to human health.
Both humans and guinea pigs transport most of their cholesterol on LDL “bad” cholesterol. From what has been learned so far from this report, it is not surprising to learn that supplemental vitamin C reduces the risk for gallstones.
An analysis of vitamin C supplement studies reveals this antioxidant lowers circulating LDL cholesterol levels and on average would lower the risk for coronary artery disease by 6.6%, which is statistically significant, but not compelling. This may be due to the lack of vitamin C supplementation throughout the day, as vitamin C is rapidly excreted in urine, which is reflected the wide range of blood levels of vitamin C achieved (28 to 75 micromole concentration) in the studies under analysis. Lab animals that do internally synthesize vitamin C in the liver achieve a 60+ micromole blood concentration of vitamin C that increases with physical or emotional stress.
While biochemist Irwin Stone suggested unstressed humans need to consume 1800-4000 milligrams of vitamin C per day to replicate the condition humans had prior to that gene mutation, a stress-responsive vitamin C can only be achieved by repair of the mutated (gulonolactone oxidase) gene that facilitates the conversion of blood sugar in the liver to vitamin C (ascorbate) on a round-the-clock basis. Such a discovery has been a daunting challenge that may have now been achieved.
Humans can consume vitamin C supplements throughout the day, but obviously not during hours of sleep, nor can anyone know the dose needed during periods of stress.
It has recently been shown that supplementation with an olive extract dramatically increases vitamin C blood levels 24/7 in humans (see chart below) without dietary or other supplemental sources of vitamin C. Moving forward, such a development may have a profound and compelling impact on how heart health is promoted without liver toxicity.
- Hang on to your gall bladder if you can. Read my online book about how to find relief from gallstone problems.
- If you have had your gall bladder surgically removed, keep your bile thin by taking taurine and NAC.
- Adhere to a low-iron diet; limit red meat
- Take vitamin C throughout the day or the new type of 24/7-C mentioned above.
Special note: The original online book entitled HOW TO FIND RELIEF FOR YOUR GALL BLADDER PROBLEM TODAY by Bill Sardi can be accessed directly and is FREE.