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If you have belly pain or nausea, particularly after eating fatty foods, you may have gall stones which increase your chances of suffering gall bladder cancer (1) or pancreatic cancer (2).

Being overweight and losing weight rapidly increase your chances for developing gall stones. So do having high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, taking in too much food, fasting for more than eight hours, eating very low calorie diets of fewer than 700 Kcal/day, staying on intravenous feeding for more than two weeks (5) or suffering chronic constipation (6). Your liver converts breakdown products of metabolism to bile which is stored in your gall bladder. Cholesterol in bile forms gall stones, while bile acids prevent gall stones. Restricting food reduces bile acids, allowing cholesterol in bile to form stones (7). Having your gall bladder removed increases your chances of suffering colon cancer (3,4). The best way to treat gall stones is to prevent them. To lose weight and not form gall stones, eat a high fiber diet based on whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts and vegetables. Also see report #G116.

1) WA Zatonski, AB Lowenfels, P Boyle, P Maisonneuve, HBB Demesquita, P Ghadirian, M Jain, K Przewozniak, P Baghurst, CJ Moerman, A Simard, GR Howe, AJ Mcmichael, CC Hsieh, AM Walker. Epidemiologic aspects of gallbladder cancer: A case-control study of the SEARCH Program of the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 89: 15 (AUG 6 1997):1132-1138.

2) A Schattner, G Fenakel, SDH Malnick. Cholelithiasis and pancreatic cancer: A case-control study. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology 25: 4 (DEC 1997):602-604.

3) International Journal of Cancer 1993;53:735-739.

4) F Novell, A Moral, S Pascual, M Trias. Is There a Relationship Between Cancer of the Colon and Gallstones? Revista Espanola de Enfermedades Digestivas 87: 4;APR 1995:294-297.

5) V Garcia, I Serra, R Palma. Nutritional risk factors for gallstones. Epidemiological analysis. Revista Medica de Chile 126: 10 (OCT 1998):1247-1254.

6) A Spathis, KW Heaton, PM Emmett, T Norboo, L Hunt. Gallstones in a community free of obesity but prone to slow intestinal transit. European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology 9: 2(FEB 1997):201-206.

7) RL Gebhard, WF Prigge, HJ Ansel, L Schlasner, SR Ketover, D Sande, K Holtmeier, FJ Peterson. The role of gallbladder emptying in gallstone formation during diet-induced rapid weight loss. Hepatology 24: 3 (SEP 1996):544-548.

Checked 8/9/05

June 1st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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