Bile is a bitter tasting green liquid made by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. Its principal job is to help the absorption and dispersal of fats. Acting like detergent, it permits the emulsification of fats and water – like washing up liquid on a greasy plate.
As the liquid chyme passes out of the stomach, large amounts of bile are released from the gall bladder into the duodenum. If fats remain in the stomach too long, some bile may be permitted to back flow through the pyloric sphincter to help. [a-i]
Bile is produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. Along with enzymes produced by the pancreas, bile passes into the duodenum via the hepatopancreatic sphincter, usually referred to as the sphincter of Oddi. If required in the stomach, it may be permitted to backflow through the pylorus, the normal exit route from the stomach.
Vitamins A, D, E and K are all fat soluble and require the action of bile to be absorbed into the body.
Bile also helps in the transport of waste materials, including those filtered out in the liver, from the body and helps remove harmful bacteria from the body. The bile salts used in this transport system are reabsorbed into the blood stream at the end of the intestinal tract and returned to the liver for recycling.
Too much bile can cause diarrhoea. [b-i] Too little bile can result in malabsorption of essential vitamins, a build up of toxins in the liver and excess acid problems through inadequate neutralisation of it. Bloating after food may be a symptom of insufficient bile.
It has been suggested that reduced stomach acid resulting in poor initial breakdown of foodstuffs in the stomach, may trigger production of more bile to travel to the stomach to assist or, conversely, may mean less bile is required leading to a build up of bile in the gallbladder. Whatever the reason, those coping with stomach acid problems, seem to be more likely to experience problems with their gall bladder.