Gallbladder disease -- the formation of stones in the gallbladder, affects up to 20 million Americans every year. Vitamin C supplementation and regular alcohol consumption are linked to reduced rates of gallbladder disease among postmenopausal women. Among drinkers, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) supplement use was associated with a 50% decrease in the prevalence of clinical gallbladder disease but there was no similar benefit from vitamin C in nondrinkers.
So why the effect? Experts have long known that moderate alcohol consumption seems to have some protective effect against gallbladder disease. And previous research has revealed that vitamin C plays a key role in the metabolism of dietary cholesterol.
Journal of Clinical Epidemiology (1998;51(3):257-265)
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
I feel that it is an enormous tragedy that so many gallbladders are removed every year. Improving the diet and taking supplemental taurine and whole beet concentrates (I use a supplement from Biotics that has both called Beta TCP) can limit the gallbladder symptoms in most patients. I can't tell you how many patients I have seen that have had their gallbladders removed only to still have their symptoms.
It is very rare for anyone to every have their gallbladder removed if they are receiving appropriate nutritional interventions. Please review issue #26 for specific reasons why you may NOT want to consider increasing your alcohol intake.
However, like most things in life, many things in moderation probably provide some beneficial effect. I believe the take home message here is clear. I you are a female over 50 and drink alcohol you should take vitamin C. My mom falls into that category and has been on vitamin C for many years. However, she is quite thin, and gallbladder disease is prevalent mostly in heavy women.