health-related fact checks

FALSE: Drinking lemon juice and olive oil will help you pass gallstones

Rappler.com
FALSE: Drinking lemon juice and olive oil will help you pass gallstones
There is no evidence that olive oil or lemon juice will help you pass a gallstone. More effective and well-studied treatments for gallstones are available. Olive oil may cause loose stools and lemon juice may cause you to have hyperacidity.
At a glance
  • Claim: Drinking lemon juice and olive oil will help you pass gallstones.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: There is no evidence that olive oil or lemon juice will help you pass a gallstone. More effective and well-studied treatments for gallstones are available. Olive oil may cause loose stools and lemon juice may cause you to have hyperacidity. 
  • Why we fact-checked this: A Facebook post with this claim has over 9,100 shares and over 750 comments. 
Complete details

A Facebook post has been circulating with the image of what is claimed to be gallstones. The caption of the post reads: “Guys kagab e lang ko nag inom olive oil kg lemon amo nani nag gwa sa akon Galbstone. Effective gid cxa try nyo para wala opera nga matabo sa inyo.”

(Guys last night I drank olive oil and lemon juice for my gallstone. It’s really effective, try it and you won’t have to get surgery.)

This claim is false.

Olive oil and lemon juice will not let you pass a gallstone. 

An article published in The Lancet has debunked this claim. They found that the “stones” that were said to have passed after ingestion of lemon juice and olive oil were most likely “soap stones” and were created by the very mixture of the olive oil, lemon juice, and gastric lipases. The study also noted that these “soap stones” lacked the characteristic crystalline structure of gallstones.   

In addition, gallstones are stored within the gallbladder, and ingested food cannot go inside it. Therefore, any supposed dissolving properties of the claimed mixture of lemon juice and olive oil cannot occur, as it will not even meet the gallstones. 

There are risks in consuming large amounts of lemon juice and olive oil. Lemon juice can cause hyperacidity and induce vomiting. Ingestion of too much olive oil can cause you to have loose stools. And neither the vomiting nor the loose stools will aid in the passage of gallstones. 

The management of gallstones need not always be surgical. Medications and sound wave therapy are possible alternatives. Have a conversation with your physician to know the best options for you. – Renzo Arceta/Rappler.com

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