Major risk factors for gallbladder disease include a sedentary lifestyle and a diet rich in refined sugars. In genetically prone individuals, these two factors lead to an abnormal bile composition, altered gut microflora, and hyperinsulinemia, with resulting gallstone formation. As a large percentage of gallbladder patients have continued digestive complaints following cholecystectomy, the author examines complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments to counteract gallstone formation. Herbal medicine such as turmeric, oregon grape, bupleurum, and coin grass may reduce gallbladder inflammation and relieve liver congestion. Elimination of offending foods, not necessarily 'fatty' foods, is often successful and recommended by many holistic physicians. Regular aerobic exercise has a beneficial effect on hyperinsulinemia, which is often associated with gallbladder disease. Dietary changes that lower plasma insulin levels, such as a change in dietary fats and substitution of unrefined carbohydrates for refined carbohydrates, may also be helpful.
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