One of many studies suggesting that deficiencies drive the formation of gallstones

Some doctors believe that gallstones form when there is an excess of cholesterol from an excess of dietary fat and the bile has more cholesterol in it than can be kept soluble.
I doubt this is the case if the people are healthy to begin with. Healthy people’s high fat diet will produce concomitantly more bile and the cholesterol in bile, even if high in concentration, will remain sufficiently soluble.
When deficiencies are factored in, it is possible that insufficient bile salts are made in response to a high fat diet, and it is also possible that the process of concentrating liver bile within the gall bladder is dysregulated. The concentration process is not simply the subtraction of water to concentrate liver bile by 10x to 20x. Many components are partially reabsorbed as well. Likely the reabsorption goes smoothly in well-nourished individuals and it goes awry in poorly nourished individuals, leading to the formation of a supersaturated suspension of cholesterol in bile, which precipitates out as stones.
Consider the article below as an example of some of the deficiencies. It is weak in that it focuses only on essential nutrients (though fiber is not really essential). Interestingly, 4 of the major deficiencies noted in those who have gallstones are found in America’s least favorite food group, green leafy vegetables:
fiber, folate, vitamin C, and magnesium. How much disease and dysfunction could be prevented by simply ADDING green vegetables or perhaps green vegetable juice to our high fat diets!
J Am Coll Nutr. 1997 Feb;16(1):88-95.

Differences in diet and food habits between patients with gallstones and controls.

Author information

  • 1Departamento de Nutrición, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain.



To compare the food, energy, macronutrient and micronutrient intake of patients with gallstones to those of a control group of similar demographic characteristics.


Patient-control study.


54 gallstone patients and 46 control subjects.


Two 24-hour dietary recalls and a “food frequency intake” questionnaire were obtained from patients and controls. In both groups, the presence/absence of gallstones was confirmed by ultrasonography. Participants answered a questionnaire on their physical activity patterns.


Gallstone patients consumed less food per day (g/day) and less fish and fruits than did control subjects. They also showed greater intakes of cereals, oils, sugars and meats than did control subjects and ate fewer meals per day, tending to omit evening snacks and more substantial evening meals. Further, patients spent less time walking and slept more than did control subjects. They also experienced fluctuations in body weight with greater frequency. Patients consumed more total calories (energy) and fats (especially monounsaturated fatty acids and saturated fatty acids), and less fiber, folate and magnesium than did control subjects. Women with gallstones were shown to have significantly higher intakes of total fats, monounsaturated fatty acids, saturated fatty acids and cholesterol, and significantly lower intakes of fiber, folate, magnesium, calcium and vitamin C than control women. For all vitamins and minerals studied, patients showed a greater percentage of intakes below those recommended.


Dietary intervention might provide a method of avoiding the recurrence of gallstones as well as a method of prevention control subjects.


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