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Alcohol May Boost Bone Density

Moderate drinking may protect women against osteoporosis

THURSDAY, July 1, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may help protect women against osteoporosis, claims a study in the current issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

The study findings are based on 46 pairs of identical female twins. Within each pair of twins, one drank moderate amounts of alcohol while the other drank very little. Researchers measured the twins' bone mineral density at the hip and also measured chemical markers of bone turnover in the twins' urine.

The study found moderate drinking (an average of eight units of alcohol a week) was associated with significantly denser bones at the hip and spine. The researchers suggest alcohol may improve the micro-architecture of the bones.

The findings confirm that alcohol doesn't increase the risk of brittle bones in women and may even be beneficial.

The study also found that smoking was associated with reduced bone density.

More information

The University of Alabama has advice about how to tone your bones.

SOURCE: Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, news release, July 1, 2004
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