Taurine for Gallbladder Sludge and Stones

Taurine is used for many things, but taurine for gallbladder sludge doesn’t get the attention it deserves.  It’s well known for energy, of course, hence every energy drink out there. While increased energy is a *really* great side-effect, anyone with gallbladder sludge can tell you that getting rid of that is pretty good too.

Taurine is great for gallbladder sludge, and also common in energy drinks (not that I'm suggesting energy drinks for your gallbladder - that wouldn't work out). Great photo by Brekingpic on Pixels.
Taurine is great for gallbladder sludge, and also common in energy drinks (not that I’m suggesting energy drinks for your gallbladder – that wouldn’t work out). Great photo by Brekingpic on Pixels.

Why Does Taurine Help With Gallbladder Sludge and Stones?

So, why does Taurine help with gallbladder sludge and also help to decrease gallstone formation? Great question. The substance we generally call “bile” in the gallbladder is actually a conjugated bile salt. Primary bile acids are made in your liver, then conjugated (which means bonded to) either taurine or glycine to become active bile salts. Meaning, without the taurine or glycine, they don’t do anything at all. If you want more detail about this process, there is a great article here. Taurine and glycine are both common in the Standard American Diet, especially from meat and fish sources and also can be made by our bodies if we’re low. So, what is the problem?

Common Factors that Decrease Available Taurine

This is the part that gets us in trouble, because many of the factors that decrease Taurine are ALSO risk factors for developing gallbladder sludge and stones. Are you noticing a pattern here? Here are some common taurine drains:

  • MSG. Dietary MSG requires taurine for metabolism and excretion.
  • High Estrogen. People with high estrogen use so many of their methyl donors trying to deal with estrogen, that there are none left to help their bodies make taurine (especially methionine). High estrogen, you will recall, is also one of the primary risk factors for gallstones and gallbladder sludge.
  • MTHFR Mutation. Sorry MTHFR folks – I feel your pain. MTHFR mutations also mean there are fewer methyl donors, hence lower taurine production and also lower estrogen clearance. Healthy bile is methylation-dependent.
  • Diabetes. There is a link between diabetes and low taurine (and also taurine has been shown to reduce blood sugars).

The Best Way to Supplement Taurine

While energy drinks are fun, these are NOT the best source if you’re trying to prevent gallbladders sludge or stones. See the diabetes thing above? Yeah. Energy drinks typically have a hefty dose of sugar and aren’t going to help your health at all. Food sources of taurine are great in moderation and as part of a healthy diet – meats, dairy products and fish are all high in taurine, but they are also often high in cholesterol, which is best taken in moderation with gallstones or gallbladder sludge. That leaves supplements, which are probably the best option for therapeutic doses of Taurine for gallbladder sludge and stones. Typically suppelements are dosed in 500 or 1000 mg pills and you can take up to 3000 mg daily without harm, even long term. For more information on Taurine or safe dosing, read this.

What Else Should I Be Doing?

While you’re taking your taurine, it’s important to remember to moderate cholesterol in your diet (but not eliminate it – healthy gallbladders need dietary fats to contract and clean themselves out). It’s also incredibly important to remember to get great water intake because, without water, you’re not flushing anything out of anywhere. Also, increase your fiber intake. Fiber not only helps to eliminate fats and bile salts in the intestines but also, helps to pull out estrogens, which decrease taurine. Taurine will help you to be sludge (and pain) free.

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