Rolling Stones

Here's another reason to take your vitamin C: Women who don't get enough of this potent antioxidant run a greater risk of developing gallstones (Archives of Internal Medicine, 2000, vol. 160). Gallstones, hardened masses of cholesterol that form in the gallbladder, can cause painful spasms as they irritate the gallbladder or obstruct the bile duct. Researchers believe that vitamin C helps convert built-up cholesterol into bile, which is then harmlessly excreted into the intestine. Study results showed that even a small increase in vitamin C — 0.5 mg/dL, or the amount in one large orange — lowered the risk of stones by 13 percent. A vitamin C supplement, providing at least 60 mg/dL, decreased gallbladder troubles by 34 percent.

— Angela Pirisi