Gluten and Bile Reflux

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 10, 2012 at 7:55 PM


I came across paleo about six months ago and have really enjoyed the diet. (I'm a school teacher and just can't keep up with it during the school year, but still eat far less gluten and processed foods than I use to which I guess is at least an improved diet.)

I wanted to ask you all about gluten and bile reflux. My mother had surgery today to have her gall bladder removed. She also has ulcers throughout her stomach. She has had a lot of pain in her stomach (she probably should have been to the doctors more than a year ago) and the doctor thinks it is to to bile reflux. Apparently, she has a large amount of bile in her stomach.

I couldn't find much about bile reflux and gluten on the internet, so I thought I would ask if you all know anything about it. My mom seemed interested in paleo before, and I'm wondering if gluten or processed foods could be to blame (or partially to blame) for the stomach problems she is having now.



  • A4e7870020c78dd04deaeb0e6c60bcc8

    asked by

  • Views
  • Last Activity
    1824D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

4 Answers



on February 05, 2013
at 05:14 PM

Hope your mom recovers quickly! Personally I had a very difficult time recovering from gb surgery. However, it was the BEST thing I have ever done. Apparently it had been bothering me for 20+ years, but I didn't know until it almost killed me. So many symptoms cleared up - no more diarrhea, pain, even the stitches in my side while running are gone. I have no problems eating paleo, even a very high fat version. I know everyone doesn't have a great result, but sometimes the internet can seem biased toward the bad outcomes (bc those are the people looking for answers).

So here is where I am completely speculating, bc I have been unable to find anything out there on this, in layman's terms... I think that a lot of digestive disorders have both a biochemical component (foods eaten, body fluids, bacteria, etc) and a physical component (functioning of the esophageal and pyloric sphincters, the muscle contractions that move food through the intestines, etc). I was born with pyloric stenosis, which is a dysfunction of the pyloric sphincter. I had surgery at 1 month old. My life has been plagued with digestive issues. Side effects of the surgery? DNA disruption in the womb that screwed my whole digestive tract? Who knows.

Your mom seems to be suffering from both issues - biochemical issues that caused her gb to fail, and motility issues that are causing her sphincters and other processes to not work. Ulcers could be caused by these issues, or may be the cause of them.

Either way, she is obviously in need of some serious gut healing. Yes, I absolutely believe that processed foods and gluten are a part of it. If she is game, there is a great protocol that can start to address these issues:


(click on the link at the top for the Gut-Healing Protocol)

This dietician wrote this protocol for SIBO, which is an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. It can be caused by many things, but one of them is a lack of functionality in the moving parts of the system (sphincters, etc). Even if your mom does not have SIBO per say, I think that there is some overlap with her problems. I followed this protocol for about 2 months ... the first 2 weeks were awful. But after that, I started to get a lot of relief for some lingering pain in my system.

It can seem pretty restrictive, but now is a good time to start. Lots of broths and soups, which would be a great recovery diet as well.



on December 25, 2012
at 12:33 PM

It's too bad she had her gall bladder removed. That was the worst mistake I made health wise.

We need them to process fats, and fats are important in our diet, and unlike carbs, fats are essential to our health.

You can get around some of that with supplements, such as Oxbile, and Betaine HCL (I use Now Super Enzymes in capsule not tablet form.) But you're stuck eating pills before every meal to make up for it.

It can take a very long time for the body to heal after the surgery and get used to the new way of eating. Worse yet, the bile will constantly drip down into the stomach instead of being released when needed, and it raises the odds of colon cancer a bit.

There were a few things I did to counter it. Skipping dinner meant I'd wake up throwing up a bolus of bile - bitter tasting, bright yellow. Eating a lot at night, would mean I'd get acid reflux instead. So I would up eating a small bit of cheese as the fat in it would get dissolved by bile... but...

The bile reflux is made much worse with grains, and in my case cow dairy. So I was actually causing much worse problems...

After starting paleo and taking out all grains, the reflux increased a bit as I was supplementing with potassium, magnesium, zinc, etc. all needed to produce proper stomach acid, but a while after that, it went away completely after taking out dairy. If I ever eat any sort of cow dairy, it returns.

I'm not sure what caused her initial issues, but it's possible that the ulcers were actually caused by low stomach acid - certain bacteria can infect our stomachs and signal the proton pumps that squirt out HCL to stop, so that they can invade. If we take antacids and PPI drugs, that bacteria, and others can now proliferate and invade and cause ulcers.

It's amazing how conventional wisdom has us doing the exact opposite of what we need in order to be healthy. All we can do now is limit the damage and live with it... it's certainly possible to have an overactive gallbladder, but this is the first I've ever heard of it.


on March 06, 2013
at 01:27 AM

Removing the gall bladder is usually NOT necessary: it just stores and concentrates the bile that the liver will continue to make because it's essential for digestion. Removing the gall bladder without dealing with the underlying cause of the problem just risks backing the problem up into the liver which you CAN'T live without.

The underlying cause, in general, is consuming TOO LITTLE OILS so that the release of bile salts is never triggered. This causes them to back up and crystallize in the gall bladder (or liver if the gall bladder has been removed). Taking supplemental bile salts can reverse this because up to 90% of the bile salts in the intestines are recirculated back through the liver and gall bladder (there's a blood vessel in the intestines that shunts them back into the liver). Thus, if you take supplemental bile salts they will ultimately be circulated back through the liver and gall bladder where they can help dissolve the stones made from too concentrated bile salts.

There are other dietary changes that can help, too (such as not eating carbs with proteins). Oils must be reintroduced into the diet but VERY carefully as their presence in the intestines signals the release of bile which is extremely painful if the ducts are blocked.

This site was extremely helpful in figuring this out and in helping my wife overcome an attack of LIVER stones (after her gall bladder was removed some years ago). Intensely painful. Supplementation with bile salts, turmeric, milk thistle and changing diet resolved the pain. Unfortunately, removing her liver was not really an option. check out: http://www.gallbladderattack.com/

you can get most of the supplements they sell locally but we couldn't find a local source of the bile salts and they are what helped the most



on December 10, 2012
at 08:28 PM

Without a doubt in my mind those food are indeed to blame . Those are all gut irritant foods .i hope your mom feels better asap and really hope she gives Paleo a go :)

Answer Question

Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!