What are liver stones made of

«Guinea pig» # 10 - Douching does not help against gallstones

The recipe is circulating on the Internet, in esoteric books and is propagated in online shops that sell laxative salt. "It is either stupidity, ignorance or manipulation that surgical intervention is necessary to remove gallstones," claims a man in a YouTube video. And immediately announces the recipe for gallstone cleansing, which costs only a few francs. The ingredients: olive oil, grapefruit and laxative salt.

In fact, at the end of the “miraculous liver flush”, greenish stones float in everyone's toilet bowl. Thousands have already tried it and are thrilled. They report how their health is much better since the cure. After all, as the author Andreas Moritz writes, gallstones are responsible for all kinds of ailments. They kept the liver from detoxifying the body and led to heart disease or cancer, joint problems, diabetes, psoriasis, or oily hair.

Green lumps in the toilet

"Pulse" wanted to know exactly. "Guinea pig" Sarah Allemann tests the Rosskur on her own body. And indeed: after a lot of stomach ache, the ominous green stones suddenly swam in her toilet bowl. As promised, the lumps were dark green, buttery soft and a few millimeters to 3 centimeters in size.

Only: Allemann had had "pulse" examined by a specialist using ultrasound before the irrigation. The result: almost certainly no gallstones. But if the lumps in the toilet can't be gallstones - what are they?

"Pulse" brought the stones to the stone laboratory at the Institute for Clinical Chemistry at the University Hospital Zurich. Here thousands of gallstones and kidney stones are examined for their composition every year. An examination using X-ray diffraction showed that the stones in the mud did not contain any crystalline components. This would necessarily be the case with real gallstones. "The globules melt under a warm lamp - real gallstones, on the other hand, are rock-hard," explains Prof. Katharina Rentsch, laboratory doctor and head of the stone laboratory. In a further laboratory analysis, she brings to light what the supposed gallstones mainly consist of: oleic acid, the main component of olive oil. Probably the same olive oil that was drunk before.

No surprise for Laboratory Manager Rentsch: She receives such liver flushing “stones” regularly from doctors, who in turn receive them from patients. “The result is always the same: the lumps are made up of fatty acids and stool. Gallstones are definitely not. "

Nonsensical or even dangerous

All of the gastroenterologists and surgeons asked - who know real gallstones very well from their everyday lives - consider the "liver flushing" to be outright nonsense. "The olive oil saponifies into lumps in the stomach," explains Miriam Thumshirn, gastrointestinal specialist at Claraspital Basel. If someone really has gallstones, flushing with several deciliters of oil could even be dangerous: "With so much oil, the gallbladder contracts strongly: this could even trigger biliary colic," she warns.

Gallstones: Crystallized juice

Real gallstones arise in the gallbladder or in the bile ducts of the liver, where the bile juice is produced. The stones are crystallized bile. This clumps if its composition is out of balance.

A good 15 to 20 percent of the population have gallstones. The risk of developing gallstones is increased in women in their 40s who were already pregnant. In addition, being overweight promotes the growth of gallstones.

However, these often have no health consequences - only about a quarter of the stones cause problems. For example, if the gallbladder becomes inflamed or if a stone blocks the bile duct. Then, after eating, colic with nausea, vomiting and pressing pain in the right upper abdomen can occur.
To date, gallstones are removed with an operation. It is true that there are also drugs that dissolve gallstones. However, they are usually not recommended because they have to be taken for a lifetime. Otherwise new stones will soon form again - rock-hard ones.