There are a number of reasons you may want to increase bile flow. Bile helps digest your food, and increases the nutrients your body can absorb from fats. Healthy bile keeps your gallbladder healthy, and prevents painful gall stones, or the bile sludge that can lead to them. From our perspective on this site, though, we’re interested in how increased bile flow aids weight loss. If you haven’t yet read our previous article, start there.
Bile Is Created In Your Liver
Your liver is the most important fat-burning organ in your body, and secretes one or more quarts of bile daily. This bile helps process fat to extract critical fat-soluble vitamins such as A, E, K and D.
When your liver and digestive system can’t extract these vitamins, they store the fat for later processing. As long as your body has sufficient bile and fiber, that fat is instead removed from your body through your digestive system, instead of accumulating around your organs and on your hips, thighs, and belly.
Toxins Are Removed With Excess Fat
This fat removal system also allows the liver to dump toxins in with the fat to be removed from the body. Without enough fiber, this “garbage” doesn’t get taken out, and toxins can accumulate in your body’s fat stores. This isn’t good for long term health as it’s much better to flush these toxins through proper fat processing.
Your Body Recycles Bile
Bile is so important to your body’s health that it is recycled. The very last section of your small intestine scavenges bile acids through a process known as entero-hepatic circulation. This allows a significant amount of the components of bile to be recovered. However, if you have insufficient fiber in your diet, fat and toxins may also make their way back into your body instead of being scrubbed away by the fiber.
Improving this process with more fiber intake can also help with unhealthy high cholesterol (LDL). This can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
How Do I Support Bile Flow?
So the key isn’t to reduce fats entirely, although choosing healthy fats and clean eating certainly reduces the toxins your liver has to deal with. If you want to increase bile flow, you need to provide support for healthy bile. Nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., CNS, author of the Fat Flush Plan, recommends a process of thinning your bile (making it more liquid) to overcome thickened, congested bile, followed by bile support to increase bile flow.
“Bile is a type of soap for fat… it is a true fat emulsifier.”
– Ann Louise Gittleman
To begin, squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a glass of hot water and consume it first thing in the morning, at least 15 minutes before any other food or drink. Do this for at least five days to decongest thick bile. It might be beneficial to drink this mixture through a straw, as lemon can be hard on tooth enamel. This mixture helps your liver flush toxins and excess estrogens that make bile thick.
Make sure you consume plenty of vegetables throughout the day, particularly fiber-rich ones such as sweet potato, and avoid processed fats.
Also consume cranwater through the rest of the day. This is pure organic cranberry juice, mixed with water. 4 ounces of cranberry in 28 ounces of water should be sipped throughout the day.
To further increase bile flow after this initial phase, eat more saturated fat such as coconut oil or butter, and add a tablespoon of lecithin granules daily. Eat healthy protein at every meal. Reduce sugar consumption, especially those in processed foods such as High Fructose Corn Syrup, and reduce alcohol consumption.
Supporting Bile During High Protein Meals
You can also consider taking a supplement that combines hydrochloric acid with ox bile when eating high-protein meals, especially if you have issues with reflux or heartburn. The hydrochloric acid can improve protein digestion and trigger your gall bladder to dump bile at the right time, while the ox bile also provides bile salts that can be reabsorbed to create more bile later. If your gall bladder has been removed, there are other options.
Additional Food Choices To Support Bile Production
- ACV – Apple Cider Vinegar
What Else Helps Increase Bile Flow?
Selenium helps the liver export fats via the bile. Without adequate levels of the mineral selenium, you are also likely to have issues with hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid), since this mineral is essential for the conversion of thyroid hormone T4 into the active form, T3. These thyroid issues can be another major cause of weight gain, or inability to lose weight. Discuss selenium supplementation with your doctor if you suspect liver or hypothyroid issues.
- Ox bile supplements
- Omega 3s
- Choline – assists with fat digestion and fatty liver
- Taurine – supports increased bile acid production
- Betaine – a rich source of hydrochloric acid which triggers bile release from the gall bladder and helps with digestion. Found in beets or available as a supplement.