Long-Term Vegetarianism Could Cause Gallstones
Gallstones, which can obstruct the digestive system and cause severe abdominal pain, may be related to a person's diet. Experts say that women who follow a long-term vegetarian diet are particularly susceptible to them.
Zheng Qichang, a professor with the Hepatobiliary Department at Peking Union Medical College Hospital (PUMCH), explained that bile in the body is generated by the liver. The gallbladder acts like a reservoir, storing the bile and making it more concentrated.
When people eat certain greasy food, the stomach can press on the gallbladder and make it shrink. This helps the liver secrete bile into the gallbladder and promotes food digestion.
One result of long-term vegetarianism is that the high-fiber diet affects the secretion and concentration of bile. As a result, the silting of bile occurs, Zheng said.
Although many people with gallstones experience little or no discomfort, intrahepatolithiasis and extrahepatic bile duct stones could occur again if they do not adjust their diet, he continued.
The best ratio of vegetables to meat, Zheng said, is 7:3 or 8:2.