A vegetarian diet may protect against symptomatic gallstone disease in women, according to a study published recently by the journal Nutrients, and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health.
“Vegetarian diets may lower symptomatic gallstone disease via cholesterol lowering”, begins the study’s abstract. “This study aimed to examine the risk of symptomatic gallstone disease (GSD) in Taiwanese vegetarians vs. nonvegetarians in a prospective cohort and to explore if this association is related to cholesterol concentration.”
For the study researchers “prospectively followed 4839 participants, and in the 29,295 person-years of follow-up, 104 new incident GSD cases were confirmed.” Diet was assessed through a validated food frequency questionnaire, and symptomatic GSD “was ascertained through linkage to the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database.”
The study found that a vegetarian diet “was associated with a decreased risk of symptomatic GSD compared with nonvegetarian diet in women”. Researchers did not find this to be true of men.
“In women, nonvegetarians with hypercholesterolemia had 3.8 times the risk of GSD compared with vegetarians with normal cholesterol”, Researchers conclude by stating that “A vegetarian diet may therefore protect against GSD independent of baseline hypercholesterolemia. A nonvegetarian diet and hypercholesterolemia may have an additive effect in increasing GSD risk in women.”
The full study can be found by clicking here.