While healthy fats are extremely important in the body and we want to be eating them daily it is also critical that you are properly digesting and absorbing fats. In order to digest your fats you must have good bile production and flow from the gallbladder along with secretion of the lipase enzyme from the pancreas.
Bile acts like an emulsifying soap to break down fat into smaller fat particles in which lipase enzymes (enzymes that break down fat) have more surface area to act upon. Fats then get absorbed into the lympathatic system but if they are not properly broken down the fats can clog the lymph and thus contribute to cellulite.
Most importantly bile is needed to breakdown and absorb the essential fatty acids which are the omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Both of these fats must be supplied by the diet as the body cannot make these. Essential fatty acids are also known as long chain fatty acids which means that they will require bile and lipase enzymes for digesting these fats. So often we hear that we need to be taking those anti-inflammatory fish oils which is true but first you need to make sure that you are not wasting your money and that you can actually digest and absorb the fish oils to fully get the benefits.
Bile is produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder, then released from the gallbladder into the duodenum. Eating healthy fats daily help to ensure good bile flow as the presence of fat stimulates the release of bile from the gallbladder which then helps to keep the bile thin and flowing. If fats are not eaten or are avoided the bile is then more likely to become thick, viscous and not released in sufficient amounts when needed. Having both good bile production and flow is key to optimizing fat digestion.
Bile is also needed for optimal bowel movements as it is the bile that stimulates peristalsis and keeps things moving along the digestive tract. Both symptoms of constipation and diarrhea can be related to insufficient bile and poor fat digestion….. I know confusing but if your bowel movements are not optimal always consider the gallbladder as the root of the problem for both difficulty digesting fats and sub optimal bowel movements.
Beets are my favourite super foods to improve fat digestion as beets help to support good bile flow and thin it out. Eating 1 cup of grated beets with some fresh squeezed lemon juice everyday day is great for a sluggish gallbladder and digesting fats. Eating artichoke and drinking dandelion root tea are my other secrets to help improve fat digestion…. well not really as I tell everyone I work with this little secret but not everyone knows these clinical pearls of wisdom.
My top 3 supplements to improve bile flow and help with poor fat digestion include gallbladder nutrients, ox bile and optimal PC all by Seeking Health
Gallbladder Nutrients by Seeking Health provide a unique blend of five key nutrients and nine supportive herbs designed to support the gallbladder and liver in healthy bile formation and flow, to help facilitate proper fat and fat-soluble nutrient digestion and absorption.
- Glycine and Taurine are the building blocks of bile salts, which are necessary for bile formation
- Choline helps facilitate the production of phosphatidylcholine, a major component of bile
- Betaine Anhydrous supports the formation of additional phosphatidylcholine via methylation
- Magnesium may help to support gallbladder contractions which aid in the release of bile from the gallbladder
- Bitter herbs including Burdock Extract, Artichoke, Dandelion Root and Bupleurum are included to help support healthy liver bile secretion
- Milk Thistle is a powerful liver antioxidant which may help to support the liver in producing bile salts and delivering them to the gallbladder
- Peppermint and Ginger can provide digestive comfort while stimulating digestion and bile production
- Slippery Elm and Marshmallow Root to help soothe and protect the intestinal tract
For anyone having difficulty digesting fats after gallbladder removal Ox bile provides fat digestion support for those who do not have a gallbladder or anyone who requires additional fat digestion support. By using ox bile you are bringing in bile externally to help with poor fat digestion and is designed to be taken with meals containing fat.
Optimal PC by Seeking Health is another phenomenal supplement that I continuously see great results with as it contains phosphatidylcholine which is required to keep bile flowing smoothly from the gallbladder to help improve fat digestion.