Oregon State University researchers find that glass of wine or beer may do more than relax the stresses of the day, as it may also help prevent bone loss.View slideshow: Osteoporosis prevention
This new study involved 40 postmenopausal women who regularly consumed one or two drinks daily, were not on HRT (hormone replacement therapy), average age of 56 years and had no history of osteoporosis related fractures.
A week prior to the trial, the women had kept a record of their daily alcohol consumption and had blood samples taken.
The women then stopped drinking for two weeks and had blood sample drawn once more. On day 14, the women had consumed an alcoholic beverage at night and had blood drawn on the morning of the 15th.
Researchers had discovered evidence of increased bone turnover, a risk factor for osteoporotic fractures during the two weeks in which the women had stopped consuming alcohol. Surprising the researchers even more was that less then a day after the women had resumed normal alcohol consumption, their bone turnover rates had returned to previous levels.
Dr. Urszula Iwaniec, PhD, associate professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU and lead researcher of this study stated in a public release "Drinking moderately as part of a healthy lifestyle that includes a good diet and exercise may be beneficial for bone health, especially in postmenopausal women.” "After less than 24 hours to see such a measurable effect was really unexpected."
Researchers explained bones are in a constant state of remodeling with the old bone being removed and replaced. In people with osteoporosis, more bone is lost than reformed resulting in porous, weak bones. About 80 percent of all people with osteoporosis are women, and postmenopausal women face an even greater risk because estrogen, a hormone that helps keep bone remodeling in balance, decreases after menopause.
The researchers note many of the medications to help prevent bone loss are not only expensive, but can have unwanted side effects. While excessive drinking has a negative impact on health, consuming a glass of wine or beer regularly as part of a health lifestyle maybe helpful for postmenopausal women.
Dr. Suzanne Steinbuam, D.O., attending cardiologist and Director of the Women and Heart Disease of the Heart and Vascular Institute of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, had noted that recently the U. S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends against taking calcium and vitamin D supplements to prevent osteoporosis. "From that perspective, this finding is very interesting," Dr. Steinbuam says according to reports in US News.
Dr. Steinbaum remarked that this study shows that a couple of drinks might not only help in preventing heart disease, but in osteoporosis.
Researchers do caution that it is unwise to recommend drinking for the purpose of preventing fractures. Noting that chronic alcohol abuse has been linked with reductions in BMD (bone mineral density) and bone formation.
This study was published Wednesday in the journal Menopause.
For more information on osteoporosis visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation online.