Moderate Drinking May Improve Bone Health

But high liquor consumption may be harmful to bone health in men

THURSDAY, March 19 (HealthDay News) -- In men and postmenopausal women, moderate alcohol consumption may be beneficial to bone health. In men, however, consumption of more than two drinks per day of liquor is associated with significantly lower bone mineral density, according to a study published ahead of print Feb. 25 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Katherine L. Tucker, Ph.D., of Tufts University in Boston, and colleagues studied 1,182 men, 1,289 postmenopausal women and 248 premenopausal women aged 29 to 86 who were enrolled in the population-based Framingham Offspring cohort.

Compared to non-drinkers, the researchers found that men who drank one to two drinks per day of total alcohol or beer had a 3.4 to 4.5 percent higher hip bone mineral density and that postmenopausal women who drank more than two drinks of total alcohol or wine per day had a 5 to 8.3 percent higher hip and spine bone mineral density than non-drinkers. Compared to men who drank one to two drinks of liquor per day, however, those who drank more than two such drinks had a 3 to 5.2 percent lower hip and spine bone mineral density, the report indicates.

"The association between alcohol intake and bone health deserves further exploration," states the author of an accompanying editorial. "In light of possible harm with increased dose of alcohol and in agreement with Tucker et al, we would advise caution before making recommendations."

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Rick Ansorge

Rick Ansorge

Published on March 19, 2009

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