Table of Contents
The causes of gallbladder cancer are not clear. Certain factors make a person more likely to develop the disease. Gallbladder cancer usually affects older people (age 70 and above). Women are also much more likely than men to develop the disease.
The gallbladder is a three- to four-inch-long pear-shaped organ located on the right side of the body, right under the liver. One of the main functions of the liver is to remove toxins and poisonous material from the blood so that they can be eliminated from the body. The liver removes all of these unnecessary toxins mixed with a digestive agent called bile.
The gallbladder stores the bile produced in the liver. Bile helps in the digestion of fats and is released from the gallbladder into the upper small intestine (duodenum) in response to food, especially fats.
There are several gallbladder diseases :
• Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder)
• Cholelithiasis (gallstones) with or without any symptoms
Regarding gallbladder cancer, some common signs and symptoms include:
• Pain on the upper right side of the abdomen
• Pain after eating fatty foods
• Weight loss
• Abdominal bloating
• Lumps in the abdomen
• Nausea and vomiting
• Loss of appetite
Treatment Options for Gallbladder Cancer
There are different treatment options for patients with gallbladder cancer, including:
- Radiation therapy
- Chemo therapy
Some gallbladder cancer patients may want to opt for a natural way to alleviate the side effects caused by these common treatment options like chemo therapy. There are several nutrients that can provide promising health benefits including,
i. Regain strength
ii. Enhance the immune system
iii. Alleviate fatigue, nausea and, vomiting
iv. Improve appetite
v. Recover faster!
Here are 5 dietary essential nutrients to help you get ready when undergoing chemo therapy for gallbladder cancer:
Seaweeds are an incredible source of vitamins, minerals, and active ingredients like Fucoidan. Fucoidan is a well-researched sulfated polysaccharide mainly obtained from the species Mozuku (C. okamuranus), Mekabu (U. pinnatifida), and Fucus or bladderwrack (F. vesiculosus).
Finding natural ingredients that may reduce the side effects caused by chemo therapy is important. Fucoidan is a natural ingredient obtained from brown seaweeds with great health benefits including anti-cancer health benefits like supporting the immune system, inducing apoptosis, and preventing the spread of cancer cells [1,2,3].
Fucoidan showed in a study to offer several health benefits like proving anti-tumor effects. In a study published in the Gut and Liver Journal, the anti-tumor effects of fucoidan extracted from the species Mozuku (C. cladisophon) were analyzed.
Based on this study, 15 human cancer cell lines (6 hepatocellular carcinomas, 1 cholangiocarcinoma, 1 gallbladder cancer, 2 ovarian cancers, 1 hepatoblastoma, 1 neuroblastoma, and 3 renal cancers) were used in an MTT assay. The changes in apoptosis were analyzed.
The results obtained revealed that cell proliferation was suppressed in 13 cell lines in a time- and/or dose-dependent manner; this suppression was marked in the hepatocellular carcinoma, cholangiocarcinoma, and gallbladder carcinoma cell lines.
The ratio of apoptotic cells significantly increased in 5 of the 6 hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines, and the ratio of G2/M cells increased in the 3 hepatocellular cell lines examined. These studies suggest that fucoidan is a possible anti-tumor agent for the treatment of bile duct cancers, such as hepatocellular carcinoma, cholangiocarcinoma, and gall-bladder carcinoma .
Artichoke has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It provides specific liver and gallbladder health benefits. The active ingredient obtained from artichokes is concentrated in the leaves. Like silymarin, cynarin has shown significant liver and gallbladder health benefits.
Cynarin is a compound that is responsible for the properties delivered when eating artichokes. This ingredient is extremely important to the liver and gallbladder. Then the bile is not appropriately transported to the gallbladder, the liver may get damaged (or more damaged).
When toxins enter the body from food or the environment, they are transported to the liver. In the liver, different enzymes try to neutralize and remove them from the body. Cynarin is a bile-stimulating compound that facilitates the removal of these toxins that are then eliminated by the body . Artichoke has also been shown to support gallbladder cancer patients by reducing the side effects caused by chemo therapy.
Gallbladder cancer is malignant and a very low 5-year survival rate is expected. Some of the issues with this condition are the difficulty with its early diagnosis and the incredibly poor prognosis of the advanced cancer stages.
Curcumin is an active ingredient obtained from turmeric, and it has been shown to induce apoptosis on gallbladder carcinoma cell lines. This ingredient that may provide an effective way to reduce the side effects caused by chemo therapy in gallbladder cancer patients is turmeric.
Turmeric contains curcumin, which is a well-researched ingredient known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties among others. Curcumin is the yellow pigment derived from turmeric and it has been used for the treatment of many diseases related to metabolism, cancer, cough, skin wounds, and inflammation [6,7,8].
Curcumin has been shown to reduce the toxicity caused by different chemo drugs, reduce inflammation, and enhance the immune system .
Beet root extract (Beta vulgaris rubra)
Beetroot extract contains a great source of nitrate. Consuming beetroot provides many natural antioxidants and phytonutrients that increase nitric oxide (NO) availability. Beetroot is also a promising ingredient for cancer, autoimmune conditions, and oxidative stress .
Beetroot is a potent dietary source of health-promoting agents that hold potential therapeutic properties for several gallbladder conditions. The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and vascular-protective health properties offered by beetroot have been clearly demonstrated by several in vitro and in vivo human and animal studies [11,12].
By increasing the popularity of the benefits of beetroot for gallbladder cancer patients, including those undergoing chemo therapy, as a nutritional approach to help manage cardiovascular disease and cancer. In human studies to date, beetroot supplementation reported to reduce blood pressure, attenuate inflammation, avert oxidative stress, preserve endothelial function and restore cerebrovascular health.
Milk Thistle (Silymarin)
Milk Thistle Extract (Silymarin) contains an active component known as Silibinin, which provides many health benefits due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties .
Different in vitro/in vivo and animal studies have studied the benefits of milk thistle extract and its ability to inhibit a variety of cancers, including gallbladder cancer, and they have found promising results. Few human trials also suggested that milk thistle and its active ingredients may be beneficial in reducing some of the dangerous side-effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy such as cardiotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, and brain edema in certain cancer types treated with specific chemo therapy [14,15].
- Senthilkumar, K., Manivasagan, P., Venkatesan, J., Kim, S.K., et al. (2013). Brown seaweed fucoidan: Biological activity and apoptosis, growth signaling mechanism in cancer. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. Pages 366-374.
- Kim, K.J., Lee, O.H., Lee, H.H., and Lee, B.Y. (2010). A 4-week repeated oral dose toxicity study of fucoidan from the Sporophyll of Undaria pinnatifida in Sprague-Dawley rats. Toxicology. 267:154–158.
- Hayashi, S., Itoh, A., Isoda, K., Kondoh, M., Kawase, M., and Yagi, K. (2008). Fucoidan partly prevents CCl4-induced liver fibrosis. Eur J Pharmacol. 12; 580(3):380-4.
- Stinton, L., and Shaffer, E.A. (2012). Epidemiology of Gallbladder Disease: Cholelithiasis and Cancer. Gut and Liver 6(2):172-87. DOI:10.5009/gnl.2012.6.2.172
- Kewensis, I. (1992). Cynarin and chlorogenic acid content in germinating seeds of
globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.). Journal of Genetic Breeding, 46: 63-69.
- Ye F, Zhang GH, Guan BX, Xu XC. (2012). Suppression of esophageal cancer cell growth using curcumin, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate and lovastatin. World J Gastroenterol. 18(2):126–135. DOI: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i2.126.
- Saha A, Kuzuhara T, Echigo N, Fujii A, Suganuma M, Fujiki H. (2010). Apoptosis of human lung cancer cells by curcumin mediated through up-regulation of “growth arrest and DNA damage-inducible genes 45 and 153”. Biol Pharm Bull. 33(8):1291–1299. doi: 10.1248/bpb.33.1291.
- Kumaravel M, Sankar P, Latha P, Benson CS, Rukkumani R. (2013). Antiproliferative effects of an analog of curcumin in Hep-2 cells: a comparative study with curcumin. Nat Prod Commun. 8(2):183–186.
- Guimaraes MR, Coimbra LS, de Aquino SG, Spolidorio LC, Kirkwood KL, Rossa C Jr. (2011). Potent anti-inflammatory effects of systemically administered curcumin modulate periodontal disease in vivo. J Periodontal Res. 46(2):269–279. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0765.2010.01342.x .
- 1. Ninfali P., Angelino D. (2013). Nutritional and functional potential of Beta vulgaris cicla and rubra. Fitoterapia. 89:188–199. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2013.06.004.
- Lansley K.E., Winyard P.G., Bailey S.J., Vanhatalo A., Wilkerson D.P., Blackwell J.R., Gilchrist M., Benjamin N., Jones A.M. (2011). Acute dietary nitrate supplementation improves cycling time trial performance. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 43:1125–1131. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31821597b4.
- 97. Cermak N.M., Gibala M.J., van Loon L.J.C. (2012). Nitrate supplementation’s improvement of 10-km time-trial performance in trained cyclists. Int. J. Sports Nutr. Exerc. 22:64–71.
- Kren V, Walterova D. (2005). Silybin and Silymarin- New effects and applications. Biomed Papers. 149:29–41.
- Mayer KE, Mayer RP, Lee SS. (2005). Silymarin treatment of viral hepatitis: a systematic review. J Viral Hepatitis. 12:559–567.
- 4. Saller R, Melzer J, Reichling J, Brignoli R, Meier R. (2007). An updated systematic review of the pharmacology of silymarin. Forsch Komp Klas Nat. 14:70–80.