UDCA: Secondary Bile Acid for Gallstone Elimination


UDCA: Secondary Bile Acid for Gallstone Elimination

Liver and gallbladder conditions can result not only to problems with digestion and nutrient absorption but also to many other illnesses affecting various organ systems, primarily, the cardiovascular system. In order to support bile production and prevent formation of gall stones made of cholesterol, experts began to explore and study further on UDCA or Ursodeoxycholic acid, a compound claimed to reduce cholesterol content of fluids created by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. While primarily used for liver and gallbladder health improvement, UDCA is also said to provide other health benefits to individual users. Obese and overweight individuals, as well as those who are at high risk for Diabetes Mellitus Type II and other lifestyle associated conditions, are advised to take the compound through health supplementation.

What is UDCA?

More commonly known as Ursodiol or Ursodeoxycholic acid, UDCA is a classified as a secondary bile acid found in many mammals, including bears. It has become an interesting compound in the field of health care following discovery that it may increase bile flow among patients suffering from cystic fibrosis. In the conduct of actual human subject studies to confirm the claim, however, it was found that the results vary depending individual patients. It was, therefore, not recommended for use among patients with cystic fibrosis unless certain parameters for its use are established. The secondary bile Ursodeoxycholic acid is very important in the digestion of fats from diet. Supplementing the compound can be beneficial to modern adults.

Health uses of Ursodeoxycholic acid

Due to varying findings on both qualitative and quantitative studies, Ursodeoxycholic acid or UDCA remains to be a health supplement compound not recognized for all its claims by the US FDA. It is, however, recognized by the US FDA as a potential treatment for primary biliary cirrhosis. The following are other health claims associated with use of Ursodeoxycholic acid:

  • It helps dissolve gallstones

Instead of surgical operations, experts say that Ursodeoxycholic acid may help dissolve gallstones and eliminate them for good. According to physicians, the compound can indeed dissolve small gallstones but it may not be very effective for those which are already too huge as to cause obstruction of the biliary tract.

  • It may be useful for obese patients

Obese patients who are undergoing rapid weight loss programs are at high risk for developing gallstones due to the nature of the treatment measures. In one study, it was claimed that Ursodeoxycholic acid supplementation among obese patients can help prevent gallstone formation and promote health.

  • It may inhibit cellular apoptosis

Studies also show that the compound Ursodeoxycholic acid may inhibit cellular apoptosis, which is a chemopreventive measure. It may be treated as a benefit to some individuals but it can also be a disadvantage, depending on individual condition.


The use of Ursodeoxycholic acid for overall digestive health has been proven by several quantitative studies. It must be taken only within recommended doses.

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