Ursodexychokic acid

I read this today on the Australian and Nz pbc website and found it very informative with info I never understood so am sharing here


Human bile is made up of a combination of five different bileacids, including ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA). UDCA is "hydrophilic"(mixes with water) while the other four bile acids are "hydrophobic"(don't mix with water).These four hydrophobic bile acids are highly corrosive and very thick. UDCA is the least corrosive, and because it mixes with water, is thin and flows well. The liver recycles bile from the digestive tract. Recycled bile contains vitamins and minerals that are carried back to the liver to enter the bloodstream. The liver produces "fresh" bile to replace what was excreted as waste. Bilirubin is one of the waste products that bile helps eliminate. High bilirubin indicates bile is not eliminating waste the way it should. Essentially, the bile acid production-to-reabsorption cycle is a"feedback loop" that tells the liver how much bile to produce.

When PBC goes untreated, bile acids build up in the liver due to inflammation and/or damage to the biliary tree. This inhibits the normal secretion of bile into the digestive system. Consequently, the liver does not reabsorb bile acids because the acids aren't getting out to the digestive tract. To compensate, the liver makes more bile that can't get out, which increases the damage to the liver. It's a vicious cycle...

UDCA normally makes up about 5% of the mix of bile acids in the liver. The remaining 95% is made up of the other four, more corrosive bile acids. Taking Ursodiol (synthetic UDCA) reintroduces one missing bile acid into our digestive systems. Some of the ursodiol is eliminated as waste, and some is reabsorbed. The reabsorbed ursodiol fools the liver's feedback loop into producing less of all five bile acids. The aim is to take enough ursodiol to change the mix of bile acids so that UDCA makes up about 50% of our bile. This does two things:

1) Makes the mix of bile acids in the liver less corrosive, and (2) Thins the bile, improving the way it flows.

This results in slowing down the damage to the biliary tree. The change in the mix of bile acids also affects our ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. Fat-soluble vitamins are less likely to be absorbed while water-soluble vitamins are more likely to be absorbed.....

21 Replies

  • Totally fascinating! Explains a lot. Many thanks ....

  • Thank you, that was really interesting. Urso is the first long term medication I've taken, as result, the last blood test results I had were 'normal' after 2 months treatment, this is the first time in at least 2 years. The explanation in your article explains why. Also I know what and why I am taking this medication, many thanks

  • Hello boneytoys, I am aware of different components of bile and the latest treatment that has been marketed but not as yet in the UK is also another component of bile acid.

    The one question I'd like to know and as yet I've not got an answer (would have to ask a specialist) is do we produce bile for gallbladder storage (if have one that is, I still do) as it is used. By that I mean if the gallbladder is like a storage 'tank', once it gets low does bile start to be reproduced or is is an ongoing 'thing'.

  • Hi boneytoys

    Thanks for posting this, it is really interesting. It is the explanation for taking the medication that as of yet from both my consultant and my Gp I have not received.

    Thank you for sharing this x

  • pbc-society.ca/what-is/

    This Canadian website is quite informative.

    I found the discussion on vitamins and efa's quite interesting.

  • Hi LindyRich

    This is a great piece of information thank you.

    best wishes

  • Thanks so much for that piece of information I understand how my liver works.

  • I found this interesting thank you for posting. I've been on the medication for 7 years now and do take it regularly but found it hard in the early days to accept it when I felt perfectly well. This detailed explanation would have helped, so I think it's useful for anyone just starting out, it may help them come to terms with the need for life long medication.

  • Hi boneytoys

    great article thank you for sharing

  • This is very interesting, thanks for sharing

  • this was the best and simplest explanation of the problem I've seen up to now...thanks for sharing this....I have read so many things about PBC & UDCA none of them explained so well like above how the things work what the problem is etc.

  • Fantastic article and thanks for posting it

  • Thanks for sharing with us.

  • thankyou, I wish there was a place to save articles we want to read again and again - maybe there is?

  • Do you have a link to this website. I would like to know more

  • No sorry

  • THanks really interesting. Just a question. I am taking Tumeric and ginger as a tea, I have read some where it is very good for the Liver, and the body in general, has anybody else read this?

  • Great post thanks for sharing!

  • Very interesting - thanks for posting this, boneytoys

  • Thankyou so much I didn't really understand before I read your post 👍🏽

  • Interesting reading and makes total sense. Thanks for sharing

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