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Can Alcohol Improve Bone Health?

Can Alcohol Improve Bone Health?

A study published last month in the journal Menopause found that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol – about one to two glasses per day – may improve bone health for post-menopausal women.

Menopause and Bone Density Loss

Bone density loss and osteoporosis are serious concerns for women during and after menopause, because the hormonal changes in your body can contribute to an increase in bone loss.

Some post-menopausal women even take low dose hormones to combat this problem while others rely on supplements. Weight-bearing exercise can also help improve bone density, but you should always talk to your doctor before you start a new exercise regimen.

Alcohol and Bone Density

While a healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise are still incredibly important for maintaining bone density in pre- and post-menopausal women alike, this new study indicates that drinking one or two glasses of alcohol each day could also help maintain bone mass.

The study looked at 40 post-menopausal women and looked at the bone density in their hips. Not only did markers for bone turnover – another term for reduction in bone density – decrease when they were drinking one to two glasses of alcohol per day, but those markers increased when they abstained from drinking for two weeks and decreased again when they picked up the one-to-two-glass-a-day habit.

Researchers aren’t sure what properties in alcohol could be protecting these women’s bones, but the results definitely call for further study.

Related:
10 Warning Signs Your Bones Are Thinning
Best & Worst Foods for Menopause Symptoms
25 Vegan Sources for Calcium

Read more: Conditions, Drinks, Food, Health, Healthy Aging, Menopause, Osteoporosis, Women's Health, , , ,

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!

34 comments

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11:44AM PST on Jan 19, 2013

That's really fascinating. I'd love to see more research on this.

11:41PM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

thanks for the info

9:28PM PDT on Sep 24, 2012

Hmmmm

2:06AM PDT on Sep 14, 2012

thanks for the info

1:14AM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

Finally a good excuse for getting pissed. Just kidding :)

8:05PM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

I wish!

8:05PM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

I wish!

3:09AM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

Laura S., maybe young people, especially girls find excuse in this study for their alcohol addiction? and moreover, alcohol is unhealthy in all ages, even for women who don't plant to become pregnant. Alcohol destoys brain cells and other cells in the body. Grape juice - go for it! (If it's raw and organic.)

2:00AM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

Hmmm. I know for fact excessive alcohol consumption REDUCES bone density. I find this study odd and interesting. I would like to see a larger sample size for an increased length of time.

And to the person who said postmenopausal women have no bone health issues is absolutely and completely misinformed or any kind of informed. Osteoporosis is the bane of older women. When young you must get adequate calcium intake OR you WILL HAVE osteoporosis when you get old. The women's body quits creating bone density after the age of 30. From there on it is only a matter of maintaining what you have. I can't stress this enough for the younger readers.

The reason it affects women more than men, is for a couple of reasons, but the main one has to do with pregnancy. Baby needs a skeleton, right? Its not born as formless blob. Baby has a fully formed skeleton at birth. Baby makes its skeleton by taking calcium from the bones of mom. Primarily from the hips(thats why they always test hip bone density-and why postmenopausal women are at greater risk for hip factures) and, believe it or not, from the upper jaw bone that holds a persons upper teeth. Less so with the lower jaw.

5:59AM PDT on Aug 8, 2012

Hopefully more information will surface on this study. Thank you for sharing this Becky!

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