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Moderate drinking protects against gallstones

A study by the University of East Anglia has found that a glass of wine a day or a pint of beer can protect against gallstones. Drinking two units of alcohol a day reduces the risk of developing the painful stones by a third.

It's been know for some time that moderate drinking can reduce the chances of gallstone formation, but this is the first study to show how much was required.

The study examined the dietary habits of 25,639 people with questionnaires over a 10-year period, during which time 267 patients developed gallstones.

Results showed 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 medium-sized glass of wine, a pint of beer or a double shot of whisky.

Gallstones are small, pebble-like substances that develop in the gallbladder and block the flow of bile to the small intestine.