Vitamin C and the Gallbladder

A large study was performed at the University of California at San Francisco where blood levels of vitamin C was measured on more than 13,000 people. The study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (2000;160:931-936). It was found that women (but not men, interestingly enough) with low vitamin C levels are more likely to have gallbladder disease or undetected gallstones.

In order to break down cholesterol, you need vitamin C. Most gallstones occur because bile becomes saturated with cholesterol and hardens. One of the functions of vitamin C is that it helps break down cholesterol to bile acids.

Among women, an increase in ascorbic acid levels was associated with an approximately 13% lower instance of the symptoms of gallbladder disease. Women who took vitamin C supplements had a lower occurrence (34% lower) of gallbladder disease or undetected gallstones. Earlier studies have shown that vitamin C deficient guinea pigs have a tendency to develop gallstones.