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What is Ox Bile & What Does Ox Bile Do?  5 Major Benefits of Ox Bile

What is Ox Bile & What Does Ox Bile Do?  5 Major Benefits of Ox Bile

Are you suffering from some form of digestive issues? Perhaps your health care practitioner or, even a friend recommended that you try supplementing with ox bile. Great, you’ve come to the right place. 

Today I am going to answer the three most common questions that I receive on this topic: 

  1. What are the benefits of ox bile? 
  2. What does ox bile do?
  3. What is ox bile used for?

And, drumroll, be sure to stick around as we will also dive into the 5 major benefits of ox bile. This incredible supplement can help with everything from improving cholesterol levels to enhancing weight loss and supporting our body’s detoxification process.

Welcome to Ox Bile 101. Let’s get started!

What is Ox Bile?

Bile is a yellow-ish digestive fluid that lives in our gallbladder, but it is produced by the liver. Adequate bile production is critical for human health because bile helps our body digest and absorb the fat from our food in addition to fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K. 

After the liver makes bile, it is stored in the gallbladder and then released after we eat to help break down our food. Bile helps smooth out the digestive process by creating proper pH balance in our small intestine. In certain situations, bile supports the liver in removing excess cholesterol.[1]

Now, arguably, in some ways, even more important than digestion is the fact that bile helps our body remove toxins, metabolic waste, medications, bilirubin, and more. Bile binds to these fat-soluble toxins, which are then removed during a bowel movement. 

Many of my clients who do not experience a formed stool regularly tend to see improvements with ox bile supplementation. What was once greasy and floating with pieces of food scattered throughout the masterpiece is now more formed.

Ox bile is essentially the supplemental form of bile acid. We recommend it for individuals who are having trouble producing bile on their own. And yes, ox bile is exactly that- bile from an ox!

What Does Ox Bile do? 

What does ox bile do, you ask? 

Ox bile serves as major support for our digestive system. As mentioned, ox bile enhances fat absorption by breaking down fat in the digestive tract. This allows our body to better absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.  Ox bile also improves our body’s natural detoxification process by allowing the liver to remove waste more effectively.[2,3]

Ox bile, in particular, is the most common supplemental form of bile because it is so chemically similar to what our bodies naturally make. Therefore, there is no interference upon incorporation. 

For what it’s worth, taking a bile supplement is certainly convenient and effective. However, as a practicing dietitian behind this post, I’d like to give a few pointers on how a few diet changes can improve your body’s natural production of bile.

  1. Focus on a well-balanced, anti-inflammatory diet. Trust the process, not the processed!!  (Sorry, I had to.)
  2. Incorporate healthy, plant-based fats every day- think avocado, olive oil, and almond butter. Extremely low-fat diets can increase your risk for gallstones.
  3. Introduce more foods that are known to increase bile production and flow, such as garlic, radish, broccoli, lemon, lime, beets, celery seeds, kale, and arugula.

P.S. If you feel your digestion is suffering and you’d like a little nutritional guidance in addition to ox bile supplementation, check out our Ultimate Elimination Diet Meal Plan.

What is Ox Bile Used for?

Ox bile is most commonly recommended for the following conditions as these particular health issues can result in a lack of bile production [4]: 

  • Gastrointestinal disorders/IBS/Chronic Diarrhea [5]
  • Pancreatitis
  • Gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy)
  • Autoimmune conditions, particularly psoriasis
  • Diabetes
  • Fatty liver
  • Hormonal imbalance/low estrogen [6]
  • Chronically poor diet, often a diet low in taurine 
  • Bile acid deficiency due to genetics 
  • Bile acid sequestrant medications like Welchol and Cholestyramine

What are the Benefits of Ox Bile?

Now that we’ve answered the question “What is ox bile” and understand what ox bile is used for, let’s dig into ox bile benefits. If you are someone in need of extra bile support, the benefits of ox bile supplementation spread far and wide.

Bile is a key component of the digestive system. When someone is healthy, and all organs are working the way that they should, bile is released when we eat. This release helps us properly break down our food. When food is properly digested, macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are absorbed, allowing our body to run like a well-oiled machine, free of disease. 

When this mechanism has a wrench in it (AKA poor bile acid production), digestion, particularly of fat and fatty acids, is impaired. If this continues then eventually, this can cause gallstones, cholesterol levels that are out of whack, constipation, and fatigue. 

We often recommend ox bile to our client’s whose digestive system is not functioning properly because supplementing with bile can open the path for bile salts to flow the way they were intended to flow. The goal is to help to break down gallstones that are likely to develop. In these situations, we are also preventing damage and infections in the gut enhancing the removal of toxins. For many, this is a major step in restoring gut function.

If inadequate bile production is left unaddressed, you may experience aggravating stomach issues, nutrient deficiencies, chronically high cholesterol despite a well-balanced diet, and sometimes even the inability to lose weight.[7] In some cases, gallbladder removal is deemed appropriate.

Now that we’ve laid the foundation of how ox bile works, here are the 5 major benefits of ox bile:

  1. Oxbile serves as a digestive aid, in particular, it helps our body break down fat and better utilize fat-soluble vitamins.
  2. Oxbile helps to treat and stave off gastrointestinal infections.
  3. By serving as a bile acid sequestrant, ox bile can help bind to and remove toxins from our body.
  4. Ox bile can help reduce cholesterol gallstone formation. This ultimately means less risk for gall bladder removal and an easier time keeping cholesterol within the normal range.
  5. Ox bile can improve liver function and therefore improve conditions where liver function is often impaired, such as cystic fibrosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and primary biliary cirrhosis.

Is Ox Bile Safe?

As you might have guessed, it is always best to speak with your doctor or a licensed dietitian before beginning a new supplement routine. However, generally speaking, ox bile is safe under the following terms:

  1. You are truly in need of bile production support. 
    • Your healthcare provider may order advanced stool testing or even an in-depth symptom questionnaire to see if you are in need of digestive support. Your medical history may also suggest the need for ox bile supplementation.
  2. You are choosing a professional grade supplement from a reputable company.
    • There is a LOT of garbage on the market. I strongly recommend that you do not go to your local corner store and purchase whatever ox bile is available. Less regulation typically means less quality and a higher risk for contamination, especially because this product is being sourced from an animal.
    • We highly recommend choosing one of our favorite ox bile products from Wellevate. Here is a list of our favorites, plus you’ll receive 20% off all orders for life by using this link when you create your account.
  3. You are taking the correct dose of ox bile at the correct time.
    • Your healthcare provider will advise you on dosing. Typically, the stronger the need for the support, the higher the dose of supplemental bile will be recommended. 
    • Taking ox bile immediately before or during meals can help offset any potential digestive distress that may arise with supplementation. This will also help to effectively digest and absorb the food that you are consuming,

If you’re interested in taking ox bile, we have our top ox bile supplement recommendation here and more details on why these are the top ox bile recommendations in this post.

Have you supplemented with ox bile? If so, how did you feel? What brand worked best for you? Please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

Are you looking for individualized one-on-one nutrition coaching to determine if ox bile is right for you and to map out a detailed plan to help you achieve optimal health? If so, be sure to Google “FWDfuel Sports Nutrition” to see our 70+ 5-star reviews, then book a free 15-minute strategy call to map out a plan for achieving your health dreams!

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/artic
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5067249/
  3. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09712119.2011.580999
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25110425/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4413966/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4073476/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6287190/

About The Author

Michael Bogden

Michael is a residency and fellowship trained sports physical therapist. A life long advocate for exercise and nutrition, he unexpectedly ran into issues with fatigue and recovery which significantly hindered his training. After working closely with his wife, Kylene, a dietitian trained in functional nutrition, he learned an entirely new approach to eating and living a more holistic lifestyle. This dramatic life change lead to remarkable improvement in his overall energy and performance. In 2017, with the help of a Functional Sports Nutrition approach, he improved his half marathon PR by 5 minutes. These improvements inspired him to create the FWDfuel blog with Kylene in order to spread the word so that others could experience the same success.

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