I recently found out one of the most commonly searched pages on our website is “liver and gallbladder flush”. Probably because one of the most common core issues with our patients is liver and gallbladder problems (about 30-50% of our patients have a major problem with this). So I have updated the blog on the subject. Here it is.

Signs and Symptoms

Hormonal Issues

One of the signs is hormonal issues, especially thyroid. Without proper liver and gallbladder function, your body cannot convert T4 into T3, the active thyroid hormone, hence lots of hormonal issues.

Any Kind of Digestive Issue

Another sign is digestive issues, especially symptoms such as burping, acid reflux, bloating, constipation, and/or diarrhea. Liver and gallbladder issues are FAR more common than too much or too little digestive acids, regardless of symptoms.

Right-Sided Pain

If you have right-sided pain, specifically the right shoulder, right neck, right arm, right hip, right thigh, and headaches (especially on the right side) this may be a sign of liver and gallbladder issues. For people with chronic right-sided pain issues, the most common culprits are the liver and gallbladder. Some people say, “I hurt it doing such and such” to which I ask, “how come it doesn’t heal like the rest of the body?” Because there are underlying liver and gallbladder issues, usually. What tips me off as a chiropractor to an underlying liver or gallbladder problem is someone who comes in with right-sided neck, head, shoulder, or hip pain that won’t go away with chiropractic or massage.

Gallbladder Area Pain

You will usually have pain in the right upper hand quadrant of the abdomen, especially after eating fatty or sugary foods. People often tell me “I can fell something up here (pointing to the right upper abdominal region) when I eat things that I shouldn’t.” If you feel anything weird in your gut after you eat, that’s a sign.

Blood Sugar Issues

Getting shaky or “angry” between meals or waking up between 1 and 3 in the middle of the night are the most common blood sugar issues I see, and a clue the liver/gallbladder are stressed.

Nutritional Assessment

The main symptom that you will see with gallbladder issues is pain with palpation, and/or pressure to the gallbladder region, which is right underneath the ribs on the right-hand side of the abdomen. This is called “Murphy’s Sign”. It is actually so common and so easy to do, but I rarely hear that doctors do it anymore, which is the reason why it’s missed so much. (I’ve noticed on the whole doctors tend to touch their patients a lot less these days.) Also, people with any right-sided pain are often positive for Murphy’s Sign, often in over 50% of the time. I’ve heard doctors say “that test can’t be right because it shows that almost everybody has a gallbladder problem.” Wrong! If everybody has a problem, it means that everybody has that problem. Just like the obesity epidemic: just because a lot of people are obese, does not mean that it’s normal and healthy to be obese. Just like it is not normal and healthy to have a positive Murphy’s Sign. Instead, it means that we have a major health crisis.

The other symptom you will see is pain and tenderness in the right upper back and shoulder. Most commonly people with liver/gallbladder issues will be tight in the right upper trapezius, right low back, and/or the right gluteal region.

Strategy for Nutritional Healing

1. Diet

Like for just about every other problem, the first step in handling gallbladder issues and for that matter, liver issues is diet. Not surprisingly, the top three foods that screw up your gallbladder and liver are refined sugar, refined grains, and pasteurized dairy. These must be avoided to heal from a liver and/or gallbladder issue. Add to that list fried fatty foods, as they will often also cause a problem.

2. Visceral Manipulation

Oftentimes, slow gentle pressure to the liver and gallbladder region performed daily will offer relief. Be gentle with this, as this area will often be very sore in the beginning. This pain with palpation will slowly decrease over time, day by day, as long as you adhere to the dietary and supplementation guidelines.

3. Supplements

Even though Facebook does not like me to mention supplements by name, I’m going to. Mainly because is it so easy, cheap, and effective, I’d feel like a real schmuck if I didn’t say something. All these supplements are from Standard Process.

A-F Betafood

A-F Betafood, or as my patients like to call it, fish food! It is an extract of beets and carrots that thins the bile so that it comes out of your liver and gallbladder easily. A-F Betafood is incredibly simple and incredibly awesome! It was the first supplement that I took that changed my life! I can’t say enough about it. Because of dietary stress, and toxins that surround us, our livers must detoxify a lot of crap these days, that causes poor quality, slushy bile to be formed in our liver, that then gets stuck in our gallbladder. The A-F Betafood supplement helps with this. 2 to 5 per meal, depending on symptom severity gets the job done.


Choline pushes bile through the liver and gallbladder, sort of like a “rinse”. I rarely see that this is needed instead of A-F Betafood, but it is usually used in conjunction. One of the clinical signs that you see with people who need Choline is constipation. 1 to 3 per meal usually does the job.


Since bile is an anti-microbial and aids with vitamin and mineral absorption, we need to make sure that we have good quality bile. For those people who do not have a gallbladder, they need extra bile. Cholacol is extra bile, literally. 1 to 3 per meal is what people need when they don’t have a gallbladder.


Handling gallbladder issues gives tremendous results, usually within 1 to 2 weeks, if the above 3 steps are followed. I have seen this approach help all sorts of digestive problems, right-sided pain, and hormonal issues quickly. Please pass this on to people you know who have the symptoms above. Liver and gallbladder issues are common and easy to fix.

Yours in health,

Dr. Keith Sheehan

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