It is not infrequent that a patient will ask me whether there is any validity to do the gallstone flush. The regimen usually consists of drinking apple juice during the day with no food and then in the evening consuming 600ml of olive oil and 300ml of lemon juice over several hours. Patients of mine that have done this protocol usually will report seeing multiple semi-solid green “stones” passed per the rectum. Most people assume that these “stones” came from the gallbladder. But common sense say no.
First, anyone that has passed a kidney stone knows how extremely painful the process can be. The same goes for anyone who has passed a gallstone it is as painful or more painful than delivering a baby.
Secondly, these “stones” have been analyzed and found to contain no cholesterol, bilirubin or calcium the most common components of gallstones. Instead the stones were made up of 75% fatty acids. Experimentation with mixing equal parts of olive oil and lemon juice produced semi-solid white balls after the addition of a small amount of potassium hydroxide. It seems that the action of the gastric lipase on the oil combined with the lemon juice resulted in “soap stones.”
However, the treatment may not be entirely worthless as there is one case report in which treatment with this regimen resulted in the passage of numerous gallstones, as demonstrated by ultrasound examination.
Terry Pfau DO HMD