Bottoms Up! Research Reveals Booze Boosts Bone Health

Bottoms Up! Research Reveals Booze Boosts Bone Health

Written by Alex Reid
Posted July 30, 2012

According to a new study, drinking a moderate amount of alcohol as part of a healthy lifestyle may lower a post-menopausal woman's risk of developing osteoporosis.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and an increased susceptibility to fractures, especially of the hip, spine and wrist, although any bone can be affected.

In the U.S. today, 10 million individuals are estimated to already have the disease and almost 34 million more are estimated to have low bone density, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis and broken bones.           

Women can lose up to 20 percent of their bone density in the five to seven years after menopause, making them more susceptible to osteoporosis.

Published in the journal Menopause, the study examined how alcohol might affect “bone turnover,” or the breaking down of old bone cells, in women who are at especially high risk for fractures late in life.

Bones are constantly being removed and replaced with new bone. However after menopause, women's production of new bone cells slows, while the rate of shedding old cells remains the same.

The study examined 40 healthy post-menopausal women under 65— the age at which the risk for osteoporosis and fractures starts to increase.

Participants were asked to refrain from alcohol for two weeks, and then start drinking again for two days.

During the period the women were not drinking, researchers discovered their bones were breaking down more than they were being rebuilt. However when they commenced drinking, healthy levels were restored.

“After less than 24 hours, to see such a measurable effect was really unexpected," said Urszula Iwaniec, lead researcher and associate professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University.

Moderate alcohol consumption has also been linked with lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and arthritis.

However it’s never to late to protect and improve your bone health. Getting enough calcium, vitamin D, eating fruits and vegetables and regular exercise are all ways to protect your bones.  

For more information on how specific foods affect your bones, click here.

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