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Does Apple Juice Help in Treating Gallstones?

Medically reviewed by Elfred Landas, MD · General Practitioner · Maxicare Primary Care Center

Written by Jen Mallari · Updated Sep 02, 2021

    Does Apple Juice Help in Treating Gallstones?

    Gallstones are hard particles that are made from either calcium bilirubinate or cholesterol, which form in the gallbladder. Gallstones vary in size as some may be tiny or large (similar to the size of golf balls). Moreover, the gallstones that form in the gallbladder can either be one big chunk or hundreds of small particles. What treatments are effective? Is using apple juice for gallstones a good choice?

    Before we discuss using apple juice for gallstones, it’s important to first understand the effects of stones in the gallbladder.

    Once gallstones form in the gallbladder, they start to gradually block the bile ducts and biliary tract. Ultimately, this will cause sudden pain in the upper right area of the abdomen. Although not all gallstones are capable of blockage as some do not actually cause pain, these are called silent gallstones. These do not require immediate medical attention. 

    Now there have been debates in regards to what natural treatments can soften gallstones and make them go away by means of exiting the body through the stools. One of the most notable natural remedies would be apple juice for gallstones. The question is, do these really work?

    Apple Juice for Gallstones: Does it Really Help?

    Drinking apple juice for gallstones is not an effective remedy for softening gallstones. Although, there have been claims wherein people vouch for the efficacy of apple juices in softening gallstones.

    According to Dr. Brent A. Bauer of the Mayo Clinic¹, doing a gallbladder cleanse or flush is used to remove gallstones from the body. However, there is no sufficient data or evidence to prove that it does indeed prevent or treat gallstones. Or any other digestive condition, for that matter.

    Aside from apple juice, there are those who eat or drink herbs and olive oil, believing that this will help dislodge or dissolve gallstones. Then, it encourages the body to release it during defecation.

    While it’s true that olive oil is a known laxative, more research is needed to find out if it can work for gallstones.

    Like most remedies or treatments, this type of cleansing comes with its own set of risks. There are those who report experiencing pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

    If gallstones do not cause symptoms, treatment is not usually required. But in the event that these stones do require treatment, it’s best to consult a doctor. Treatments may involve sound wave therapy or surgical removal.

    Other Possible Treatments

    apple juice for gallstones

    Now that we are aware of the fact that apple juice for gallstones, and other fruit juices, for that matter, do not have any capabilities of softening gallstones, there is no other way to treat gallstones than to rely on other possible treatments. 

    Below is a list of other remedies (instead of apple juice for gallstones):

    If a person is experiencing symptoms related to gallstones, then surgical removal of the gallbladder would be the best option. A person who will undergo surgery would have to stay hospitalized for a week.

    Now, there is a minimal invasive surgical approach for removing the gallbladder that may not require a person to be hospitalized for a week.

    This new method is laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

    The surgeon removes the gallbladder through small incisions made on the abdomen. These come with a risk of injuring the bile ducts though.

  • If a person cannot undergo gallbladder removal surgery, then they can opt for a medical option. There are certain types of medications that can dissolve small gallstones. The course of treatment will last from six to 12 months. And there is a possibility that the gallstones will return after five years. An example of this medication is ursodiol, which helps dissolve cholesterol gallstones, but it takes a few months to take effect.
  • Another treatment is the use of Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy or ESWL. This process uses sound waves to break the gallstones. ESWL has a high recurrence rate of gallstones after 5 years.
  • Your doctor may also suggest percutaneous therapy if you have a high surgical risk and cannot undergo immediate surgery. In this procedure, a tube is inserted into the gallbladder to facilitate drainage and/or gallstone extraction.
  • Learn more about keeping your gallbladder and digestive system healthy, here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Elfred Landas, MD

    General Practitioner · Maxicare Primary Care Center

    Written by Jen Mallari · Updated Sep 02, 2021

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