Reduce gallstone risk with wine intake

How wine help to cut gallstone risk? It is seen generally that around one in three women & one in six men get gallstones at some point in their life. But the gallstones are more common in older adults. Researchers have found that a glass of wine a day can protect against gallstones. Drinking two units a day reduces the risk of developing the painful stones by a third. This latest evidence claimed that consumption of small amounts of alcohol can be beneficial to your health.

Gallbladder which is a pear-shaped sack located below your liver in the right upper abdomen. Gallstones are small, pebble-like substances that develop in the gallbladder. The stones form when liquid bile stored in the gallbladder harden into pieces of stone-like material and block the flow of bile to the small intestine. The liquid bile which helps the body to digest fats is made in the liver & stored in the gall bladder until the body needs it.

When the liquid bile contains too much cholesterol then bile salts, bilirubin can harden & causes gallstones. The stones can block the path of bile to the small intestine which is painful & without surgery can lead to death or permanent damage to the liver & pancreas. Other factors which increase the chances of gallstone forming include pregnancy, obesity, rapid weight loss and some medications.

It is the latest evidence that consumption of small amounts of alcohol can be beneficial to your health. Many trials had shown that those who consumed two units of alcohol per day had a one-third reduction in their risk of developing gallstones. Two units is equal to a pint of beer, a medium-sized glass of wine, or a double shot of whisky. For every unit of alcohol consumed per week the chances of developing a gallstone decreased by three per cent.

The researchers said it had been suggested that alcohol might reduce gallstones through its effects on cholesterol but the magnitude of the effect had not been calculated. Dr Paul Banim 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.

Dr Andrew Hart, senior lecturer in gastroenterology said, “These findings significantly increase our understanding of the development of gallstones. Once we examine all the factors related to their development in our study, including diet, exercise, body weight and alcohol intake, we can develop a precise understanding of what causes gallstones and how to prevent them.”

But nutritionists warned that people should not start drinking as a result of such studies, because alcohol was addictive & heavy consumption leads to cancer & cirrhosis of the liver.


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