Doctor's Note

Also check out Who Shouldn’t Consume Curcumin or Turmeric?

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on cholesterol. Also, there are 1,686 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

For more context, check out my associated blog post, Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk.

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on cholesterol. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

    • Michael Gmirkin

      I’ve read that low-fat / vegetarian diets can actually CAUSE gallstone formation due to the gallbladder not being flushed regularly enough and thus bile sits there and cholesterol, et al, eventually precipitate out of solution into stones? I ask in part because I think this may have happened to me when I had tried a low-fat plant-based diet (not a pleasant experience). And it has been a… worry… about restarting said diet again.

      Among others. Wondering what the studies say? What’s the best way to avoid gallstones? High fat to empty the gallbladder regularly? Low fat, high fiber to lower cholesterol? If there’s little to no fat, does the gallbladder get triggered to expel its contents or let bile sit and precipitate into stones? Can other substances in the diet cause the gallbladder to expel its contents w/o adding lots of fat back into the diet?

      Do low-fat dieter only THINK they’re protected because they HAVE stones, but their gallbladder is never forced to strongly contract, thus reducing the chances of a painful obstruction, despite stones existing?

      Interested to know the answers…

      • Don Forrester MD

        Gallstones are much less prevalent in persons with on a plant-based diet see… Of course those of us who were on the standard american diet we may have already formed stones which won’t go away. Eating a low fat plant based diet will tend to stimulate the gallbladder less and won’t contribute to the formation of more stones or larger stones. I haven’t seen a study on frequency of gallbladder attacks but in my clinical experience patients going on a low fat plant based diet have decreased or eliminated their attacks. The presence of stones doesn’t appear to be a problem as long as they remain without symptoms. When going on a plant based diet the intestinal tract can take some time to adapt. The overall health of the body is best on a low fat whole plant based diet with Vit B12 supplementation. Hope this helps.

        • Vik

          Thank you for your input Dr. Forrester. I’ve got symptomatic gallstones, calcified, all small, under 5mm. My symptoms are slowly starting to decrease ever since I started the 80/10/10 lifestyle, cooked version, vegan; just over a month ago. What should I do? My symptoms have drastically decreased, but I still feel kind of uncomfortable with them.

          Should I consider surgical removal of the gallbladder? Would a 80/10/10 lifestyle have any effect on the purge of the stones, or am I stuck with them and will need the surgery eventually? Will my health be compromised in the long run without a gallbladder? Is my health at risk keeping the gallstones although them staying mostly asymptomatic?

          Thank you greatly for any input.

          • brydon10

            You definitely want to keep your gallbladder unless you are in a really tough spot with very frequent attacks. I’ve heard of stories where people become much worse after having it removed, even getting ghost pains etc. 2/3 people with gallstones never even get an attack, myself included. These are called “silent” gallstones. I’ve often wondered what the long term effects of having gallstones that don’t cause pain would be, but I doubt there would be anything too serious. The best thing to do is try to not get them any bigger.

          • Don Forrester MD

            I advise patients to hang on to their original parts for as long as possible. If the gallstones remain very symptomatic with alot of pain you can consider surgery. There is always a chance that your gallbladder becomes infected or you can pass a stone and it can get hung up at the valve before the intestine causing gall stone pancreatitis. Both these would require intervention although the latter can often be taken care of with endoscopy. These complications are however not frequent. All surgery carries risk so best avoided if possible. I hope your “gall stone” symptoms have continued to improve and you and your gall stones live a long healthy life.

  • HealthHiro

    Will a low fat vegan diet get rid of gallstones? I am scheduled to have GB surgery and am wondering if I can avoid it by a change in diet. I have been eating a low fat vegan diet for 2.5 months since a day spent in OR for GB pain.


      Definitely! Make your new diet your diet for life. For more discussion see Also for more great videos from Dr. Greger see

  • Sarah

    If 80-90% of gallstones are cholesterol, what are the other 10-20% made of?

  • Thing3chaos

    A friend has been taking Lipitore for years and just had her gallbladder removed – – Is there a connection?  If Lipitore is supposed to reduce the cholesterol in the blood, does it get flushed to the gall bladder?  How does not having a gall bladder affect your general health?? 

  • nerak

    If we could not live without our gallbadders, science would find a way surgeons could remove the gallstones without removing an important organ. Why hasn’t this option been explored?

    • Don Forrester MD

      Other options have been explored like dissolving the stones directly by infusing various liquids into the gallbladder but they haven’t worked. This is a case where primary prevention or avoiding them in the first place is best. But many patients with gall stones can avoid “attacks” by eating a low fat plant based diet. This strategy would probably markedly reduce the number of gallbladders that need to be removed. Most patients tolerate life without their gallbladder without too much difficulty although there are exceptions. It is nice to know that there are surgeons and safe anesthesiology for those cases that the gall bladder doesn’t respond to medical and nutritional therapy.

  • zoia Quinn

    what works for restless les syndrome. it’s so bad it goes up to shoulder/upper arms.? I have fibromyalgia .It started with sleep apnea then panic attacks, then restless les syndrome, then pain all over. Is there a link. I taken meds, but the restless legs syndrome and fatigue is worse than pain.

  • gingernut

    I have been vegan for 2 years and have recently been diagnosed with gall stones. The doctors were very quick to recommend removal of the gall bladder however I am adamant to do this if it can be treated naturally. I’ve read that milk thistle (silymarin) is a known natural remedy for the dissolution of gallstones. How true is this and are there any other natural remedies that might be tried?

  • Zaga

    Hello. I’ve vegan for about four years, and six months ago I had a cholecystectomy, I wonder why. Now my houseband is having troubles with his vesicle and his is vegan at home and lactovegetarian outside. My parents in law suspect that it’s because of the diet, what do you think it is then?

  • ariann28

    Doctor Greger, do you have any information on how gallbladder polyps are formed(multiple, 3mm). Also, if they disappear eventually by a plant based diet? My husband, 26, recently discovered while getting an ultrasound done on his liver, that he has them. Please help! Thank you!

  • Guido

    My doctor says I need to have my gallbladder removed due to gallstones but I was hoping to avoid surgery and finding a natural way to shrink and remove the stones. I’ve seen/read many quacks for solutions. Is there a legitimate method?

  • Gabriel Anjos

    Dr. What about the gallbladder and kidneys cleansy with apple juice and laxative that supposilly in six days expell the oily stones?


  • Harvey

    I can tell you that mallic acid in apples does soften gall stones and the flush as per Andreas Moritz method does work because I just flushed over a hundred stones this morning. I’ve been a veg/vegan 50/50 little bit lacto n ovo for 30 yrs next month. Stones up to golfball size can be passed by this method. Does this render surgery obsolete :-) .? First flush in 60yrs!!!

  • Leslie Stanick

    I had gallbladder pain for 6 months before I found out I had ONE big cholesterol stone. The doctor removed my gallbladder. I had no idea there were natural remedies that might reduce the size of gallstones. So I wonder if turmeric would be good for me or not. I do need liver support, and I have osteoarthritis, which is getting worse, and would like to try it. Does turmeric help with fibromyalgia?

  • Penny

    Dr. Greger, I have read, or heard in one of the many YouTube lectures I have watched, that once the gallbladder is removed if the fat intake is not drastically reduced the bile will drip into the intestine and can cause irritation or even worse. Do you have any information to share about this? Thank you in advance.

    • Don Forrester MD

      It is true that once your gallbladder is removed that you have lost your ability to store bile and that you won’t have the ability to discharge your bile from the gallbladder after a meal. Your liver will continue to make bile which will be slowly released into the intestine. I have had one patient who had a condition called bile gastritis which responded to a prescription of oral carafate. However in 30+ years of clinical practice I found that my patients tolerated the removal of their gall bladder very well especially when it was causing significant symptoms in the first place. Most folks with gall stones will not need to have their gall bladder removed. I would not be concerned unless you continue to have problems. Since there is alot of variability it is important to work with your physician(s) or other health care professionals to pick the right path for you. By eating a whole food plant diet with vitamin B12 you will minimize the likelihood of difficulties. Good luck.

  • nameless void

    about 6 months after i went vegan i passed about 10 gallstones (maybe like 1 or 2 a month), it hurt like hell and the first time i was in the emergency room because i had no clue what it was, the gallstones had formed from my old extremely unhealthy diet and after i went vegan all the stones left my gallbladder causing the attacks, i havnt had a new attack in forever, im guessing all the stones are gone now, im pretty sure a vegan diet saved me from massive trouble down the road if the stones had time to grow larger

    • EarlyManStanding

      nameless void, If you do get an ultrasound test showing that your gallbladder is now clear of previous stones, please post the results. We’re generally told the stones will not disappear but we know most people with stones are not whole plant vegan. So there’s little proof either way.

  • veronika neukirch

    so which repercussions does a gallbladder & bile duct removal have (for a vegan)?
    …how can one then lower estrogen?

  • Hermes Liberty

    I am 59 and mostly vegan. Four years ago at a good private hospital in Thailand I had imaging done which found a small cartoid atery plaque buildup on one side. And a gallstone cyst. I was told to monitor both but that they were so small as to be inconsequential to blood flow to the brain or becoming a gallstone. Six months ago after a full cardio check up at Hanoi Heart Hospital and two more relevant ultrasounds (and blood tests) the cardiologist recommended that I should start stains. I am looking into alternatives because of possible side effects. But what I don’t understand is *why* anyone would want to eliminate the ‘scab’ on a wound, if in fact the first step of plaque deposits in arteries is an injury. Wouldn’t that be like unplugging a hole?

  • Wade Patton
  • Wade Patton
  • Wade Patton

    finally another report with dietary implication: (1985) which led me to these. OK enough for now. (ADHD satisfied).

  • Jo

    Me husband is a diabetic and is on prescription medication. He takes Metformin ER, 500mg – four tablets a day.
    Losatran 100mg- one tablet a day
    Glinepiride 4mg- one tablet a day
    Can he take the golden paste recipe at 1/4 teaspoon twice a day, while on the meds?

  • Ross

    I’m been on a plant based diet with B12 supplementation for two years and it’s going well. Since our third child has been born my meat eating wife has been admitted to hospital twice with gallstone-induced acute pancreatitis, the first attack was brought on eating a McDonalds and the second from eating some cheese. I learned that he mother, grandmother and aunt have all had their gallbladders removed and insist that it’s not related to diet and instead linked to cholesterol production during pregnancy. We have two daughters and I’d very much like to them to avoid the same fate. I’ve failed to convert her to a plant based diet and for the most part unless I’m cooking, the children eat the standard British diet. What links are there between pregnancy and gallstones?

  • Bruce Cropley

    After who knows how many years, this was still not on wikipedia. I have attempted to fix this…