Any nutritionists here that can advise me on supplements?

Long story short: I am 29. 6 years ago, I had my gallbladder removed due to severe gallstones (genetic thing; my mom, aunt and cousin had theirs out at an early age as well). My surgeon at the time told me that I would be perfectly normal afterwards and would be able to eat perfectly normally. Well, that ended up being no so true. Ever since, I’ve had bouts of “dumping syndrome” - the body dumps excess bile directly into the colon, causing bad cramps and painful, acidic diarrhea. I feel like I definitely digest things more slowly than before, and I know some things don’t get digested properly - for instance, I can eat a salad, and see little pieces of lettuce in the toilet bowl not 4 hours later, meaning it’s moving through my system way too fast. Makes sense, as I was diagnosed with a vitamin B12 deficiency a few months ago.

Overall, I feel gassy, crampy, bloated and tired much of the time ever since that surgery. My weight has risen as well, despite me eating like a rabbit and working out 2 hours a day, 5 days a week (I have a healthier lifestyle now than I did BEFORE the surgery!). I’ve seen my doctor several times, gotten tests for any possible ailments that could be presenting these symptoms, and gotten a clean bill of health. She did tell me that she has other patients who have had their gallbladders removed, who are having the same problems as me. But, she said, she “can’t really do anything about it,” and I just have to “put up with it.”

I’ve put up with it for long enough and I’m sick of it. I would really, REALLY appreciate if there’s any knowledgeable people here who could tell me the answers to the following:

  1. Are there any supplements I can take that will help my body to emulate the missing gallbladder function, and;

  2. Are there any foods that I MUST HAVE or MUST NOT HAVE, now that my digestion has changed?

I absolutely can’t afford to visit a nutritionist right now…I called around and just a consultation is $80 a pop. I can’t even get the time off work to see one even if I could afford it.

Any help is much appreciated, I don’t want to live like this anymore.

Oh, here’s an idea of a daily meal for me, if that can help gauge if I’m eating gallbladder-healthy or not:

Breakfast:

-1 cup bran cereal
-1 bottle Yop
-1 apple

Lunch:

-Tuna salad sandwich, whole wheat bread, lettuce and tomato
-Small glass orange juice

Dinner:

-1 palm-sized portion baked chicken breast
-2 cups steamed broccoli, carrots, bok choy, lima beans, with small pat of lowfat butter
-baked potato or sweet potato

I very rarely snack during the day, though I occasionally will have one medium sized coffee (1 cream, one sugar).

I also drink water all day like it’s going out of style.

We don’t like giving specific medical advice here. See your MD is the best advice we can give you.

I did look through Google Scholar and a few articles seemed to suggest that some good results were gained by Enzyme therapy. You can get Enzymes and Probiotics at most health food stores. Note that these simply treat the dumping syndrome symptom. Most also are more concerned with the incidence of dumping syndrome after gastic bypass surgery, and similar weight loss surgical efforts,

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/119075201/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0
CONCLUSIONS
Self-administration of octreotide proves an effective symptomatic treatment of severe dumping, even on the long-term. Its use is frequently limited by the occurrence of side-effects.

But note that last “Its use is frequently limited by the occurrence of side-effects.” Thus, you need to see your MD or at least call his office and ask what advice he would give re self dosing with enzyme therapy.

There’s also a book for further research.
http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=qwc1aWFgmEMC&oi=fnd&pg=PT183&dq=bile+“dumping+syndrome”+enzymatic+therapy&ots=ZVGCFoTGP0&sig=Y9lddIu1-5F2_7vdXoMWzC3T4z4

There seems to be some hope, anyway.

Neither of your cites have much to do with nutritional supplements, I am afraid.

Octreotide is a prescription drug, which is injected and the book is about people who cannot eat at all -

But “see your MD” is good advice.

Regards,
Shodan

It seems these bits may have been overlooked in my OP:

and

I HAVE seen my doctor, several times, and have gotten the “there’s not really anything we can do” story. I just have a hard time believing that. She refuses to give me a referral to a specialist, though.

No, there are no over the counter supplements that have been shown to do this. A nutritionist who tells you different is a quack.

See what foods do not agree with you, and avoid them.

Eliminate one food from your diet for a week, and see if your symptoms are reduced. Then eliminate a different one, and see what happens.

I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well, but if there were easy, cheap answers, your doctor would have told you about them.

Regards,
Shodan

I’m not sure why your surgeon has to be the one to OK a referral to a specialist who might be able to help you - is there a primary care doc who can help in this matter? There should at the very minimum be a physician in the picture who can give dietary advice that’ll improve symptoms.

I’d hoped this was clear the first couple times, but I guess it wasn’t:

By “doctor”, I mean family doctor. I don’t know how it could be interpreted any other way.

My surgeon, I had called with my concerns about 3 months after my surgery and I asked him what I could do to make it better. He literally yelled at me, saying, “This isn’t my problem! Your surgery went perfectly!” and then hung up on me. Good support system there.

Since you previously had only referred to your surgeon, there was no reason to think you were talking about any other doctors. But thanks for the clarification.

I still think you’d benefit most from seeing a qualified and sympathetic M.D. (they exist). Switching from a poorly responsive physician to getting advice from online strangers and supplement hucksters is not likely to help.

Has anyone told you that you should be taking the B12 sublingually? I’ve avoided getting injections by doing so. It’s absorbed via your bloodstream that way. If you don’t absorb nutrients properly you really MUST do this. This is according to my nutritionist. I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, but I also have nutritional absorption issues and have had VERY extensive counseling about this. I don’t really fear handing out this information…after all, you’re ‘big’ enough to look it up or call and ask a nurse or doctor to double check. Just know that I’m only passing on what I was told.

For what it’s worth, if you can afford it it’s nice to be able to go to GNC and get their sublingual B12 because it sits in your mouth for some time and theirs tastes TONS better. If you can’t afford it, you can get the stuff cheap at Walmart.

Additionally, what causes “dumping syndrome” for other people with malabsorption issues is often sugar or excess fat. Cutting out sugar can be harder than you think, since it hides in a lot of stuff. Even fruit sugar counts (I get dumping syndrome from more than a handful of grapes). So if you’re asking questions, you might get some tips on finding hidden sugar or cutting it out.

I am currently taking a nutrition course and most (almost all) supplements are worthless. I completely agree with the cut out one food a day, but would do one every 3 or 4 days to give the body time to adjust. My wife lost her gallbladder, no stones, it just “died”. She was not happy for months but has finally figured out how she has to eat to stay healthy and happy, it is not easy but your body will let you know what you need to do if you take it slow and easy. Generally the less fatty foods the better.

I will definitely look into oral B12. I’ve been trying to up my intake by eating leafy greens by the bushel, but this might be a better idea.

I can’t eat fried/greasy things - it causes major cramps within 10 minutes - and I avoid junk food. I do, however, love fruit - particularly strawberry, pineapple, and oranges. I can see that providing a lot of sugar. I’ll pick some less sugary fruits for awhile and see how that goes. Thanks for the advice!

More unsolicited and non-professional information:

You have to put the B12 tabs under your tongue and let them dissolve. There are lots of blood vessels under there and they’re taken up that way. Anecdotally (and you know what that’s worth) I know people who have reversed B12 deficiency this way.

I’ve had a gastric bypass, so had to sit in lectures on this type of thing. Not what to do for NORMAL people, but what to do if you don’t absorb all your calories/nutrients, ways to compensate for things you’re likely to be deficient in, etc. As I said, this in NO WAY makes me an expert on the subject. But we did get a stern lecture on B12 since deficiency causes irreversible brain damage. I regularly have contact with people who have some shortage of a nutrient or other and get to hear how they resolved the issue. With B12 and Iron they sometimes end up on injections and I’m a fainter so I’ve tried hard to avoid that!

I have regular blood checks for nutrient deficiency and I have a) followed the ‘rules’ I was given pretty closely, and b) never had a blood test come up ‘problematic.’

Yeah…canned pineapple makes me hurl!