Liver Pain / Discomfort



First time poster but long time reader. I have been doing the bulletproof diet since January which includes BP Coffee each morning with unsalted grassfed butter from a local farm (I live in Ireland). I use upgraded beans and upgraded MCT oil.


Everything was going fine until about 6 weeks ago. When I would drink BPC in the morning by about midday I would start to get a dull pinching like pain in my liver area. Very uncomfortable and worrying. I find on mornings if I don't have BP Coffee then I don't suffer that day.


Also, and this is interesting: When I have the pain - if I eat starchy carbs such as rice then within 30 mins there is immediate relief from the pain. This leads me to believe this might be something to do with ketosis?


Can anyone shed any light on this?





  • I forgot to note that my Gallbladder was removed over 10 years ago. I'm 36, Male.
  • DManDMan Master of Arts ✭✭✭

    Do you have refeed/protein fasting days every 4-7 days????


    Ketosis is stressfull on your liver! The liver is the organ that has to produce the ketone bodies. So after having you BPC this is exactly the time when you get into ketosis. and why the hell do you have starchy vegetables duriing the day when you are following the bulletproof diet?


    Before following it any longer go to a doctor who know about ketogenic diets and who can check you liver....

    May you be well, may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be loved.

    How much to eat:
    advanced | How to train: bulletproof training | HRV: HRV FOR TRAINING HRV BASICS What Affects HRV | Brain  & Memory dual n back training advanced training



  • Hi,


    Thanks for the reply. I don't usually eat any starch but one day when doing a refeed I had the pain and when I ate rice it went away. I then tried this again and it worked.


    I've had BPC this morning at 7am. Still no sign of any pain but the discomfort usually begins at around midday - 1am.


    I do the refeed each Saturday with some rice and sweet potato. I haven't done any protein fast? Could you tell me more about that?

  • DManDMan Master of Arts ✭✭✭

    look carefully at the bp die info graphic. at the top right you will see the plan layed out. during a refeed day you will have moderate amounts of carbs while having as few protein as possible 20-30g.


    What happens if you have more fat instead of carbs? (without coffee)?


    How many carbs do you have during the day?


    are you an active guy (exearcise/stressfull job...)


    do you have anyathing else with your coffee or do you do intermittent fasting?


    Still I recommend going to the doctor and checking it. also ask a doc who knows about ketogenic diets. My liver is working at optimal levels and i have bulletproof coffee/tea almost every day....

    May you be well, may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be loved.

    How much to eat:
    advanced | How to train: bulletproof training | HRV: HRV FOR TRAINING HRV BASICS What Affects HRV | Brain  & Memory dual n back training advanced training



  • I'm not a doctor but I'd suppose without a gallbladder your body will having problems with digesting fat very good. The gallbladder is storing gall from the liver for exactly this reason.

  • Have you tried taking 125 mg of ox bile along with the coffee?


  • Hi,


    I seem to be ok if I exclude MCT oil from my day. I can have butter, steak, avocado and any other fats and I don't get that pain. Usually I would have 20 - 40g of carbs per day. On a refeed I would have about 150g. My job is pretty full on as I'm the CEO of a company.


    My routine is:


    6:30am - Fresh lemon juice in warm water (makes this pain side effect less)

    7am - BPC with unsalted butter, MCT and upgraded coffee.

    12:30pm - Lunch which is brocoli, tomatoes, spinnach leaves, parma ham or fish, lots of extra virgin cold press olive oil, eggs, some beetroot and walnuts. It's a significantly sized lunch.

    6pm - Dinner which is either fillet grass fed steak with green veg or fish with green veg. I sometimes make a sauce from tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. All cooking done with grassfed salted butter.


    Each morning I have:

    500mg Choline

    Vit B complex


    Vit C x 1000mg

    Milk thistle


    Also worth noting, some of the days recently when I've not had BPC in the morning I have instead eaten an Avocado, some walnuts, a boiled egg and a cup of black coffee and no negative symptoms.


    One final thing I notice is if I drink (clean spirit or organic apple cider) my hangovers are a lot worse than before BP diet.


    Could MCT be having a negative effect on me? Or is it Ketosis which is driven more by MCT?


    Thanks guys, this helps a lot. I will definitelty look into trying the ox bile recommendation.

  • Just a quick update on this. I did a lot of reading over the weekend and this morning I tried the following 30 mins before the BPC:


    Glass of warm water with lemon juice and teaspoon of sea salt followed by 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.


    I then had some water with apple cider vinegar at around 10am. So far so good and symptoms are far less with no pain and a very slight feeling of tightness.


    I will be sticking to the bulletproof way of eating but will be coming off the BPC for a period to see what happens. In the absence of BPC in the morning what is my best option?

  • DManDMan Master of Arts ✭✭✭
    edited July 2014

    If you are doing it right and if it was from ketosis you would have it during the night and all day long...


    Well of course it can be the MCT.


    Leave it out, see what happens.


    If it is the coffee, try some tea instead. Mate tea or green tea. Better yet white tea if you want anti oxidants. You can try coconut oil and coconut milk if it works better for you but if things are kryptonite for you then simply avoid it.... like Superman does it. :D But still get the blood work done in order to make sure your liver is doing fine...

    May you be well, may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be loved.

    How much to eat:
    advanced | How to train: bulletproof training | HRV: HRV FOR TRAINING HRV BASICS What Affects HRV | Brain  & Memory dual n back training advanced training



  • I would avoid the coffee and spirits altogether for the time being since these heavily tax the liver. Lay off dairy as well (don't know if you are eating any). Milk thistle is good. Dandelion root, lipoic acid, and N-Acetyl-l-Cysteine are also good. Eat more leafy greens, especially dandelion greens if you can find them. Artichoke and beets are good too. Drink plenty of water. Lemons in your water is excellent, so good job with that. I usually add some lemon or lime juice to my sole in the morning. Have you had your Vitamin D3 levels checked? Getting enough electrolytes?

  • John BrissonJohn Brisson The Legend Formerly Known as Ron Swanson ✭✭✭
    edited July 2014

    Liver bile dump from not having a gallbladder could be a cause of the pain. I am surprised that you don't get diarrhea. MCT oil is mostly absorbed in the stomach and doesn't effect the gallbladder, but in your case it might be a real possibility.

    My book Fix Your Gut, is offered on Amazon for $9.99.


    I also offer coaching:


    Please join or like the Fix your Gut Facebook. Also please add me on twitter @FixYourGutJB.



  • Going to cut out MCT completely and see how I get on. Thanks for the input - very valuable information and worth my while posting on here.

  • Eat less fat.  Problem solved. 

  • Hi,


    I thought I would update on this as I have sinced solved this and it might benefit anyone else with the same problem (see original post).


    I had to stop bulletproof and start eating starch again while cutting out a lot of fats. The liver pain / discomfort went away. This lasted for three months before I decided to go bulletproof again but this time armed with a lot of information on the liver and its role in digestion.


    I now have full strength BPC with brain octane and really good 100% Grass Fed butter that I found here in Ireland. The difference this time is I have now introduced something else 30 mins before my BPC and 30 min before bed. What is it? Fresh lemon, fresh ginger - nutribullet - add to hot (not boiling) water. I consume this first thing in the morning and last thing at night and stay completely bulletproof in between. As lemons and ginger are also rated highly on the BP Infograph then I think it is a good solution.


    Hope this info helps others!


  • Hi Bulletproofer IRL,


    Thanks much for sharing your experience and how you solved it! I will give it a try.


    I have something similar going on. I'm male/40s/gallbladder removed 10 years ago. When I was overweight, I had a similar liver-ish pain for a few years and then it magically disappeared when I lost 40 pounds (on the slow carb diet). In hindsight I'm wondering if that was my fatty liver!  :-)


    Now I'm dabbling with BPC and a keto diet. I have a similar low level but very spot specific liver pain/ache when I go into keto (twice now). It's hard to isolate this to any one thing but for me I suspect it's more the keto diet or nutritional ketosis rather than BPC.


    I'm curious how you arrived at this concoction. Do you still take it or need it?


    Also, do you know in your case what exactly is going on with your liver that caused the pain (or do you have a theory)?



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