What are the best supplements for bile production?

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Answered by: Jonathan, An Expert in the Herbs and Supplements Category
Bile is a vital liquid used to aid the digestion process. This complex fluid is a combination of organic molecules such as cholesterol, bilirubin, phospholipids as well as electrolytes and water. Bile not only aids in the breakdown of foods, but it also supports the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and streamlines the elimination of waste matter. While your body naturally produces 400 to 800 mL per day, if you are unable to produce ample amounts of bile or if bile flow is inhibited supplements for bile production may be taken. Talk with your doctor before taking any nutritional supplements to ensure its safety.

Milk thistle has been utilized as an herbal remedy for over 2,000 years, and while modern science has debunked some its traditional uses, research has found this herb enhances liver and gallbladder functionality. The primary active compound in milk thistle is a group of flavonoids known as silymarin. These compounds are known to have potent antioxidant benefits and directly influences the health of your liver and gallbladder. Proponents of this herb claim it can stimulate bile flow, however solid scientific data regarding this use is unavailable. To utilize milk thistle, consume 280 to 450 mg in divided doses throughout the day. Make sure the milk thistle supplement contains a 70 to 80 percent silymarin concentration. Discuss the use of this herb with your physician. If you have gallstones, do not use milk thistle without the direct consent of your physician.

Dandelion is considered nothing more than a yard weed to many, however, this herb contains a high concentration of nutrients that researchers believe help stimulate the production and flow of bile. The primary constituents found in dandelion include flavonoids, coumarins, acids, terpenoids and vitamin A. Preliminary evidence suggests dandelion root stimulates the flow of bile, however upon publication scientific studies regarding dandelion root and bile production are inconclusive. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center suggests those with a bile duct obstruction should not take dandelion root due to its potential of increasing bile flow. Dandelion root may be taken as a tea or in capsule form.

To make the tea, bring 8 oz. of water to a rolling boil and add ½ to 2 tsp. of dried dandelion root to the water. Allow the tea to steep for 5 to 10 minutes, strain and consume up to three times per day. To consume in capsule form, take 500 mg of powdered dandelion extract up to three times per day. Talk with your doctor about the safety and recommended dosage of dandelion before starting a supplementation routine.

Chicory is a member of the compositae family, and is closely related to the daisy. While modern science is investigating the value of this supplement for bile production and flow, proponents of this herb claim it has numerous digestive benefits. The primary constituents of chicory include amino acids such as arginine, threonine, lysine and valine, as well as minerals, acids and cichoriin. Jurriaan Plesman reports in the article “Herbal Remedies for Diabetes and Hypoglycemia” chicory stimulates the production of bile and works to fully evacuate the gallbladder.

To utilize chicory for this purpose, steep 30 g. of dried chicory roots in 1 to 2 liters of water for 12 hours. Drink a 3 to 6 oz. cup of chicory root tea in the morning before breakfast. Because this nutrient is not well-studied by scientists, use extreme caution if you have gallbladder disease or gallstones. Talk with your doctor regarding this herbs safety.

Burdock has been used throughout Asia and Europe as an herbal remedy for conditions ranging from eczema to purifying toxins from the blood. Although scientists have disparaged many of its traditional uses, specific research on its use as propellant of bile production and flow is limited. Dr. Winston W. Greene states on DCNutrition.com burdock root may help support bile production and healthy liver functions. The University of Utah also states burdock is a choleretic and hepatic herb, which means it has the potential of stimulating the production of bile in your liver. Burdock may be consumed in capsule and tea form.

To make burdock tea, place 2 to 6 g. of dried burdock root in 2/3 cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes and consume up to three servings per day. To take in supplement form, consume 1 to 2 g. of burdock supplements per day. Talk with your doctor about the safety and recommended dosage of burdock before starting a supplementation program.

While supplements for bile production may help naturally stimulate the production of this digestive enzyme, the use of natural supplements should not override medication suggestions from your physician. If you begin to experience any adverse side effects, immediately discontinue use and contact a health care professional.

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