Symptoms, conditions and causes

Why does intermittent fasting increase gallbladder sludge?

First, here are the symptoms of a gallbladder problem: right shoulder pain that may also be felt by your scapula, your mid-back, or up through your neck. It may even be on your head and jaw, leading to a headache. But always on your right side.

Abdominal pain, also on your right side, usually up under the right rib cage. You may feel bloated, experience burping, and have nausea.

After about 10 to 15 hours of fasting, your gallbladder is saturated with bile. Think about it; when you eat, the bile is supposed to be released from your gallbladder. It usually contracts and squeezes bile into your intestine to help with digestion, especially to help break down fats. When you’re not eating, the bile just sits there in your gallbladder getting more concentrated. However the maximum concentration occurs 10 to 15 hours into your fast, which often corresponds to the symptoms of a gallbladder problem occuring. The bile has gotten thick and sludge-like.

You may be concerned that you’re going to get gallbladder stones, and wonder what to do.

First, realize that after its peak, the concentration will subside. Your body will thin the bile if you either keep fasting or eat. This sludge-like effect mainly occurs when you first begin intermittent fasting. As you fast more often, your body will deal with excess bile.

Here are a few things you can do to minimize gallbladder sludge when you are intermittent fasting. Add lemon to your water. It’s ok to drink this during a fast. Adding apple cider vinegar to the lemon water will help.

As well, make sure you don’t overdo it with consuming fats, especially when you’re just beginning a ketogenic diet. A lot of time at the beginning people will go crazy consuming fats. They drink MCT oil, or put butter in their coffee. Instead, ease into fats gradually. If you’re concerned about stones, they usually form because of too much insulin. This is why diabetics are at risk for stones. But keto and intermittent fasting will lower your insulin.

Last updated: Jul 24, 2023 14:02 PM