Fat Fiction Fat, lies and measuring tape

28Oct/104

The first update: crash and burn

Yes, this is what gallstones feel like

To recap : 2 months ago I got several gallstone attacks. Once it was diagnosed, I pretty much went wheat free straight away, half by accident and half by design, but as I started researching it, it made more and more sense. It’s led to a semi-Paleo diet, getting rid of grain pretty much altogether, and gluten 100%. Things immediately started improving. This is my first update...

So two months in, you might be expecting a first update post to say how wonderful everything is. If only. Tonight is the first time I’ve had a gallstone attack since I decided to go wheat free, and no, I haven’t accidentally eaten a baguette, mistakenly wolfed down a pizza, or even anything remotely resembling gluten. I can’t tell you how gutting this is.

The constant gnawing pain of gallstones, which as anyone knows is like someone cutting your stomach open with a bag of rusty spoons, has gone right up today, having been completely absent for… well, since I got better and dumped the wheat. For those that haven’t got a clue what this is about – gallstones are stones formed in the gallbladder. You can get an inflamed gallbladder by just having these stones there (though not everyone does). Galllbladder ‘attacks’ are either when your gallbladder gets inflamed, or worse when one of the stones works itself loose and gets stuck in the common bile duct. That is generally not a good thing, and by all accounts 30% of these obstructions require surgery. If you don’t, in can get serious pretty quick.

I feel like shit; my pulse rate is up from 50 to 80, and I’m generally fucked off with what started as a slight pain having transformed into an almighty punch in the ribs. I’m doing the sensible thing tomorrow which is to get a doctor’s appointment but I’m concerned they’ll just say get your gallbladder removed now. Which is the last thing I want to do.

This maybe utterly wishful thinking, but I’m hoping that the stones are dissolving, but in getting smaller they’re more likely to start flowing down the bile duct, and this latest one was just a bit too big so it’s had a few problems getting through the network of tubes . Yeah tubes, not a medical term but you get the gist. I half-jokingly asked for an ultrasound machine for Christmas – only £1600 on Ebay apparently (link). Whenever grandma starts rattling on about food rations in the war, you could entertain yourself by watching turkey breast work its way around your small intestine, while checking your gallbladder to see if still looks like a kid’s marble bag or a normally functioning organ. She said no...

Incidentally, I’ve continued to lose weight at a fairly steady 2 pounds/week with seemingly no effort, except for increasing the range of nutrients in my diet and eliminating grains. That’d be some cause for celebration, except I couldn’t give a toss about that – what I’m really concerned about is these bloody gallstones.

Self indulgent rant over.

Picture copyright : Isubiker

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  1. Mike, I have a story similar to this if you’ll bear with me while tell it. Back in January, I stopped eating wheat (I figured out it was the cause of my 20-pound weight gain) and in February cut way back on the carbs. I had stopped taking acid blockers and had to find a way to get rid of the acid reflux. The low-carb diet did the trick, and I started losing weight faster. I developed a taste for coffee, too, which contains a good deal of Mg.

    With the wheat and acid blockers gone (both of which inhibit magnesium absorption), any magnesium deficiency problems should have been resolved or abated, right? Wrong. My lifelong problem swallowing food came back. Some months later, through careful observation, Google Scholar and sheer dumb luck, I discovered this was a symptom of Mg deficiency. (More info in my blog post here http://relievemypain.blogspot.com/2010/10/trouble-swallowing-read-this.html)

    So what’s happening with Mg deficiency and weight loss? I was working out less than I was before, so I don’t think it was a matter of sweating it out. Do some people lose some of their Mg with the water weight that they lose? Does the body flush out more than just fat when you lose weight? Is Mg deficiency the real reason a lot of people get constipated on a low-carb diet? I don’t know.

  2. Lori, great story and couldn’t be more relevant. A couple of weeks after this, which I haven’t got around to writing yet, I put two obvious pieces of the puzzle together. Epsom salts – which you mentioned in your post – have for a long time been part of the ‘liver flush’, where you ingest a load of salts, then olive oil and supposedly pass gallstones.
    As it’s been medically proven they’re not gallstones people are passing, I ignored it as a folk remedy before finally realising that epsom salts = magnesium. It’s the epsom salts, not the half ton of olive oil that’s helping people. And sure enough, I started getting twinges of gallstone pain, and simply adding a few tablespoons of epsom salts to the bath and it went, instantly. I figure that absorbing through the skin is more effective, given residing problems of healing GI tract from gluten damage. It was also pretty much instantaneous.
    What is happening with mg deficiency and weight loss? Here’s my theory – bile is used to digest dietary fats but also to eliminate waste products. Fat is used to store toxic waste as well as the fat itself, so it makes sense that fat loss > increased waste > increased production of bile to do so > increased requirement for mg. If you have a paleo style diet with more fat than you’ve been previously used to, that also increases mg requirements.
    Amazing you managed to sort out acid reflux with something so simple. you should start a miracle cure company and package up cheap epsom salts as the magic antidote ;)

  3. Well done figuring out that epsom salts were what you needed!

    It’s curious that even though the epsom salt treatment works, it apparently isn’t gallstones that are being passed. Maybe the epsom salts chemically alter them, rendering them different from what a surgeon might dig out of a patient or find in their waste.

    Yes, I eat a lot more fat then I used to. It was too many carbs (not Mg deficiency) that was the cause of my acid reflux. As much as I’d like to be credited with great insight, this carb theory of acid reflux was developed by a biologist named Norm Robillard and written up in a book called Heartburn Cured. Also, Dr. Aktins’ 1972 book stated that heartburn cleared up within days on his diet, but I don’t think he knew why. Since I can’t handle much carb, I have to get most of my fuel from fat.

    So if we do need more Mg on a high-fat diet, this really could be the reason that constipation is common on low-carb diets, and could be a reason that some people don’t feel good on them. Mg deficiency has been associated with migraine headaches, heart trouble, Asperger’s Syndrome, and nervousness, among other things. If a higher-fat diet depletes their Mg, those things will get worse.

  4. Epsom salts in a flush are taken as a muscle relaxant to open up the bile ducts to allow the stones to pass, according to the batty Hulda Clark. As for what they’re passing, man, what some people publish on the internet… don’t google it whatever you do!
    Acid reflux thing is puzzling, but you can’t argue with your own personal experience. thanks for sharing


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