Written by Divinity Nutra, Updated on March 21, 2022
Throughout history, apple cider vinegar has been used for a wide variety of medicinal purposes. Families all over the world turned to ACV for almost everything, not just as a vinaigrette for salads.
Today, in much the same way, ACV has become a wonder supplement of sorts, just like our mothers foresaw years back. Apple cider vinegar and gallstones could be a beneficial combination, given the versatility of the beverage.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Gallstones
The kind of vinegar produced from the fermentation of apples is referred to as apple cider vinegar. The fermenting process delivers many useful properties including its antimicrobial and antifungal activity. ACV also includes beneficial compounds like acetic acid, polyphenols, flavonoids, and magnesium.
Interestingly, research has backed many of apple cider vinegar’s health claims. ACV is used for diet and weight loss routines, and even for high blood pressure and keto diets. Other popular medicinal applications include helping UTI, acid reflux, neuropathy, and allergies.
Given its track record, it’s only fair to hope that apple cider vinegar may be the answer for how to get rid of gallstones using natural remedies. Let’s explore gallstones in a bit more detail, and see what the research says about the utility of ACV.
What are Gallstones?
Gallstones are solid masses of bile that accumulate in the gallbladder, the small pear-shaped organ beneath your liver on the right side of your abdomen. Bile is a fluid produced in the liver as digestion takes place. Waste materials from bile, such as cholesterol, form gallstones. (1, 2)
Types and Causes
Gallstones occur in two different types depending upon the kind of waste material accumulated.
- Cholesterol Stones: This is the most common type, made from fatty substances in the bile fluid. Nearly 80% of gallstones are cholesterol stones.
- Pigment Stones: The breakdown of red blood cells releases a yellow pigment called bilirubin. Excess bilirubin in bile causes pigment stones.
The following factors put you at a greater risk of forming gallstones:
- Being female
- Age above 40
- Being pregnant
- Not getting enough exercise
- Putting on too much weight
- Losing too much weight too quickly
- Taking certain antibiotics or cholesterol-lowering drugs
- Having diabetes
- Blood disorders or genetics
- Eating a high fat and high cholesterol diet, with little fiber
- You’re intermittent fasting
Warning Signs of Gallstones
Gallstone symptoms vary depending upon the size of the stone formed. Some stones pose no warning signs at all, called the “silent stones,” or asymptomatic gallstones. This type often requires no treatment at all.
However, those that do require medical attention present the following symptoms:
- Pain attacks in the upper right abdomen
- Pain radiating to the back or right shoulder
- Nausea, fatigue, and vomiting
- Fever and chills
- Belching, bloating and gas
- Repeated episodes of pain
Gallstones vs Kidney Stones
Gallstones and kidney stones both occur due to the accumulation of substances in the body. While they are similar in the symptoms caused, they affect different organs, have distinct causes, and present varying degrees of threat.
The kidneys are part of the urinary system, filtering blood to create urine. Kidney stones form from tiny crystals of calcium, oxalate, and uric acid gained as by-products of the urine. On the flip side, gallstones form due to digestive fluid from the liver, referred to as bile or gall.
While gallstones block the gallbladder, kidney stones block the flow of urine. Lastly, both will cause pain in the abdomen, but kidney stone pain will extend to the lower back.
Apple Cider vinegar is a popular remedy for treating kidney stones, but is there any evidence to suggest we can use ACV for gallstones, too?
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Dissolve Gallstones?
Proponents tout ACV’s acidity to be capable of dissolving gallstones. That claim, however, is unsupported by research. A few studies suggest that ACV might still be useful in some cases.
One study suggests that apple juice might be a good natural remedy for softening gallstones. A 1999 anecdotal account is the basis of this claim. The letter detailed a woman who treated gallstones using an apple juice diet for seven days. She successfully passed her stones in the stool on the 8th day due to the softening effect of the diet. (3)
Of course, the evidence does little in the case of ACV as its composition is largely different from that of apple juice. In 2009, research came forward regarding a nutritional diet to prevent and treat gallstones. Despite being a popular natural remedy, ACV was yet again nowhere mentioned. (4)
With that said, many still claim that ACV is good for inflammation and may help with pain management when dealing with gallstones.
- More Reading: Apple Cider Vinegar pH Level
How to Get Rid of Gallstones with ACV
Even though it lacks scientific evidence, ACV is a safe nutritional supplement when consumed correctly, and it may be worth a shot. Remember, never replace prescription medication or recommended treatment options with ACV alone.
When using ACV to dissolve gallstones, be mindful of its high acid content. Do not consume it in its concentrated form and always dilute it with some water.
ACV Detox Drink
One way to do it is by making apple cider vinegar and honey shots at home. Making this detox drink is an easy procedure to add to your morning routine. You’ll need the following ingredients:
- A cup of warm water
- 1 tablespoon of raw, organic ACV
- 1 teaspoon of honey
Take the warm water and mix it in with the vinegar. Stir well and add in the honey. You may replace the honey with a stevia-based sweetener of your choice. But, honey also has additional health benefits that you may want to consider.
Lastly, you can personalize the drink by adding other natural ingredients like cayenne pepper, ginger, or turmeric to the mix.
- Read More: When to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
Other Ways to Take ACV
Perhaps you’d like to skip the trouble of making a drink each day for a more practical option. ACV is a versatile beverage, available for consumption in many different forms. Try any of the following methods:
- Make apple cider vinegar pills a part of your supplement routine.
- Make ACV part of your everyday meals by cooking it alongside meat, adding it to salads, or including it in your marinade recipe.
- For an easier, more appealing option, you can buy delicious apple cider vinegar gummies.
Potential Side Effects
While ACV’s acidic composition grants it many of its health benefits, it also means you should be mindful of its potential side effects.
- Prolonged exposure to undiluted vinegar can damage the tooth enamel and cause throat burns. To avoid direct contact, always drink ACV with a straw.
- Excessive ACV may alter blood sugar levels and lower potassium levels.
- It may interfere with digestion and cause delayed stomach emptying.
Other Natural Remedies for Gallstones
- Gallbladder Cleanse: A gallbladder cleanse is the most popular approach to softening gallstones. It asks for consuming a mixture containing olive oil, juice, and herbs for consecutive days to detox the body.
- Apple Juice: Anecdotally, this is a tried and tested method to soften gallstones.
- Artichoke: Artichoke extract combined with water can be taken twice a day to treat the issue.
- Peppermint Leaves: Use two teaspoons of peppermint leaves to make a soothing cup of peppermint tea.
- Milk Thistle: It is available as a supplement to consume, and has been used for centuries in detoxing the liver.
Final Thoughts on ACV and Gallstones
While we cannot quote you much scientific evidence to support the use of apple cider vinegar for gallstones, we still do not condemn it. Many of ACV’s health benefits are backed up by anecdotal claims only and require further research.
Given its limited side effects that are avoidable with safe use, why not reap the many benefits of ACV? If it helps relieve you of the brutal gallstone pain, you’d only be glad you tried it.
- Our Picks: Best ACV Gummies