The pancreas, liver and bile can be figuratively in good or very bad relationship in the human body. In a healthy situation, they can work together, but in an unhealthy situation, they can harm one another, causing diseases. For good example, both bile and pancreas (pancreatic lipase) are responsible for proper fat digestion. For bad example, gallbladder stones or pancreatic cancer both can form blockages of bile that cause huge problems for the liver and the pancreas.
To truly realize the relationship between the liver, bile and the pancreas, one needs to understand the structure and function of these organs.
The liver is our body’s main chemical factory and it carries outs many very important jobs. Everything we eat and digest makes its way to the liver, and the liver uses the food supplies to produce essential nutrients for our whole body.
The liver’s most important functions are manufacturing and releasing bile and removing the toxins from our body. Bile provides elimination a variety of toxic substances from the body. These substances include the products of the body’s metabolism such as cholesterol and bile pigments, as well as some toxic chemicals, drugs and heavy metals.
The cells of the liver secrete bile into a network of ducts. These ducts meet to form the common bile duct, which carries bile from the gallbladder and liver. The common bile duct merges with the pancreatic duct. The pancreatic duct carries the pancreatic juice with digestive enzymes from the pancreas into a small cavity (the Ampulla of Vater) that opens into the duodenum, the first section of the small intestine.
It is very important that the pressure in the pancreatic duct is always higher than the pressure in the bile duct; therefore bile cannot achieve the pancreatic cells. The mixture of bile and the pancreatic juice goes through the Ampulla of Vater into the duodenum.
Around the common bile duct, pancreatic duct and the duodenum wall there is a muscle valve called the Sphincter of Oddi. The Sphincter of Oddi controls secretions from the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder into the duodenum. Spasm or blockage of this muscle valve may cause pancreatic juice to back up inside the pancreatic duct. Digestive enzymes trapped inside the pancreas start to digest their own pancreatic cells, causing congestion, inflammation, pain, cysts and finally the death of pancreatic tissue.
Hepatitis, fatty liver, Candida-yeast overgrowth, parasites, congestion, inflammation, infection, high body’s acidity level and poor eating habits can cause the bile to be thick and acidic making it difficult to move through the ducts and valves.
When the bile becomes thick and acidic it also becomes very aggressive. This means that aggressive bile irritates and corrodes the walls of the ducts, causing a bile reflux – wrong way traffic for bile. This causes spasms of the Sphincter of Oddi and the pancreatic and common bile ducts. This is very dangerous because instead of the toxic acidic bile going to the duodenum, the toxic thick and acidic bile goes into the pancreas, which activates the pancreatic digestive enzymes inside the pancreas. Thus, pancreatitis begins.
Additionally, when the acidic, aggressive, toxic bile is pushed out into the duodenum, it erodes and irritates the gut’s walls causing the duodenal ulcers. This aggressive bile causes the duodenum walls to contract in a jerky motion that pushes the bile up inside the stomach or even esophagus. This bile/pancreatic reflux may cause stomach and esophagus inflammation, ulcers and possibly cancer.
Good digestion in gastrointestinal tract is largely depended upon proper quality and sufficient amount of bile and pancreatic juice filled with good digestive enzymes. Contrary, digestive symptoms such as belching, heartburn, nausea, constipation/diarrhea, abdominal cramps or pains, gas, bloating are sign of indigestion and may show impaired function of liver, gallbladder and pancreas.
So health of pancreas, liver and gallbladder connects with a few important things. Bile and pancreatic juices need to be liquid and alkaline.
Any kind of factors that cause dehydration negatively influence in liquidity of pancreatic juice and bile.
Harmful action of the body’s acidity catches the eyes of scientists and doctors more and more now. Aging and many diseases cause whole body acidity or they are consequences of chronic acidosis – collection of acidic substances in the tissues. The most sufferers from whole body acidity are alkaline digestive glands such as liver and pancreas.
Acidity is getting epidemic in modern society today due to abundance of the processed, acid-forming foods: meats, sugars, white flour, white rice, sodas, etc. Alcohol is very acidic and toxic so, no wonder, that people that drink alcohol suffer more from liver, gallbladder and pancreatic disorders.
By common sense, in all symptoms of indigestion is wise to stop consumption of acid-forming foods and substances. Simple chemistry requires for neutralizing acidity to supply the body with minerals and bicarbonates, which are collected in great quantity in fresh vegetables and fruits.
There is another way to provide organism with minerals and bicarbonates. Europeans knew this hundreds of years. There are many healthy mineral spas around Europe where healthy and sick people spend healthy vacations. Most North Americans tend to think of mineral water as something to drink either as a snack or with meals. However, for more than 500 years, European doctors have used mineral water for Health and Wellness.
The Czech city of Karlovy Vary has been a legendary healing European resort since the 1700s.
According to legend, one of the first patients was the Roman Emperor and Bohemian King Charles IV (Karl IV), whose name the town of Karlovy Vary (Charles Springs – Karlsbad) bears in 1370.
European physicians became interested in the springs and many medical books, articles and dissertations confirmed the beneficial effects of drinking cures.
Karlovy Vary mineral water was so popular for healing digestive disorders that from 1764 the natural Karlovy Vary salt is produced by evaporating mineral waters from the famous hot spring Vridlo.
By dissolving the Genuine Karlovy Vary mineral salt in warm water, everyone can get the healing mineral water with identical healing properties to the water from the Karlovy Vary hot water springs.
By measurement of saliva and urine pH by litmus paper, one can see shift to normal, slightly alkaline level of these fluids after drinking Karlovy Vary healing mineral water at home.
Bile and pancreatic juice are alkaline mineral solution. Nutritional supplementation with special forms of magnesium and potassium such as natural for our body, Krebs organic acids salts can also neutralize the whole body acidity and promote good quality of the bile and pancreatic juice.
Fat in the food is normal trigger to open valve and move bile and pancreatic juice into small intestine. Due to slogan “No Fat, No Cholesterol” Americans avoid oily foods, mistakenly mix good fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, butter, nuts with bad fats such as animal fats and artificial trans-fats. Deficiency of good fats can lead to bile and pancreatic juice congestion with gallbladder stones, shortage of the fat-soluble vitamins and indigestion.
Thousand years’ people used spicy herbs Anise, Chamomile, Fennel, Ginger, Oregano, Peppermint, Sage, Thyme, Turmeric, and so on for better digestion. These herbs can promote producing and elimination bile and pancreatic juice so can be useful for digestive disorders.
Many Americans know about using acupuncture for lower back pain but do not realize that this ancient method is very beneficial for many liver, gallbladder and pancreas disorders. Acupuncture in experienced hands may alleviate abdominal spasms and pains, stop diarrhea, improve peristaltic, decrease appetite and even promote elimination of small gallbladder stones.
Mother Nature placed most of the digestive organs in the abdomen.
There is a large crowd there. If one organ starts to move slowly or even stops, everything goes wrong and the whole digestive system suffers. Each organ needs its space to work. The most “difficult” position holds the pancreas. The pancreas is squeezed between the stomach, duodenum, liver, spleen, left part of the large intestine, aorta, inferior vena cava and spinal column. There is really no space in this area.
If a person suffers from gas or constipation, the pressure inside the abdomen increases, similar to a tight cloth or belts. Squeezing of inner abdominal organs lead them to stick together causing adhesions. This is, in its turn, causes more restrictions in moving and congestion.
For thousands of years, healers have utilized massage techniques for “moving” and stimulating proper work of all the digestive organs to alleviate pain and discomfort.
Contrary to Europe, the American words “dieting” and “diet” mostly refer to the deliberate selection of food to control body weight but not for the healing purposes of different kinds of medical conditions. Dietary changes are vitally important in any digestive disorders. Food is the cheap, safe and effective medicine.
To summarize, all liver, gallbladder and pancreas diseases do not suddenly fall from the sky. Often they needed 5-15 years to develop. We have to listen to our body because even small symptoms of indigestion can be small alarming bell of serious problems in future.
Non-drug, non-knife approaches may stop the process and post pone deterioration of many liver, gallbladder and pancreas disorders. Do not prove them on yourself, self-treatment is risky business. The goal is to find the knowledgeable health provider or even team of professionals.
The information on this article is presented for educational, informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the diagnosis, treatment and advice of a qualified licensed professional.