Moderate alcohol drinking ‘reduces gallstone risk’

June 1st, 2009 - 12:45 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 1 (ANI): Researchers in the UK have suggested that drinking a moderate amount of alcohol protects against the development of gallstones.

Analysis of data from 25,000 men and women showed that consuming two units a day cuts the chance of developing gallstones by a third.

Gallstones form in the gallbladder from bile and are generally made up of hardened cholesterol, reports the BBC.

Researchers said that their study suggests that alcohol helps reduce cholesterol in the bile from which gallstones form.

The researchers used data from a large study set up to look at the link between diet and cancer in men and women in the 45-74 age range.

They compared alcohol intake with the risk of developing symptomatic gallstones over a 10-year period.

Those who did develop the condition were an average of 62 years old and more than two-thirds were women.

The researchers found that those in the highest alcohol group had a 32 percent lower risk than those who drank no or little alcohol.

For every unit of alcohol extra drunk per week, the risk of gallstones fell by 3 percent.

Study’s lead author Dr Paul Banim, a clinical lecturer at the University of East Anglia and a specialist registrar in gastroenterology, said alcohol was known to increase levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol which was also known to be protective against cardiovascular disease and which could alter the composition of cholesterol in the bile.

The findings were presented at the Digestive Disease Week annual meeting in Chicago. (ANI)

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