Could Moderate Drinking Improve Bone Health?
The occasional glass of wine has been advocated and defended by those who believe it may have positive effects on health. Actually, studies of alcohol health effects have found that benefits of moderate drinking include longer life and improved heart health. And, the positive effects of alcohol continue to be found.
A new study shows that drinking alcohol may improve bone density in women, indicating that alcohol improves osteoporosis. Even milk has come under fire for maybe not being the bone strengthening beverage of choice. So now, maybe woman can enjoy moderate drinking with the positive alcohol effects!
To understand how alcohol use may improve bone density, it’s important to understand the bone remodeling process. Bones are constantly breaking down old sections and building up news ones. That turnover becomes weaker with age, making bones weaker. The new study finds that alcohol may counteract this weakening of the turnover process.
Past research has shown that those who drink moderately have higher bone density than those who didn’t or drank heavily. The link between osteoporosis and alcohol? It could downright prevent it! However, no cause and effect relationship was ever shown, so this is not proven.
Many speculated that the correlation between bone health and drinking is that people who lived healthy lifestyles were simply more likely to drink moderately, sparking a bit of a “chicken and egg” debate. A new study, published in the journal Menopause and led by Oregon State University’s Urszula Iwaniec, may actually given some substance to the positive alcohol effects in regards to bone density.
The study included 40 women that were healthy, postmenopausal and under 65, which is when women start to become at risk for osteoporosis. The women were classified to be at least near-daily drinkers and the study said they had half a drink to one drink daily. The women were asked to abstain from alcohol for two weeks, and then start drinking again for two days. During this time, researchers tracked their bone health.
The alcohol health effects seen by researchers was that bone health responded positively to the moderate alcohol, noticing a definite correlation. When the women abstained, researchers found that the bones were less able to rebuild themselves. They study read that changes were “small but significant” when they started drinking again and restored their bone health.
Iwaniec said in a statement that drinking moderately can be part of a healthy lifestyle, along with other healthy measures. However, the study did not show that alcohol was beneficial in preventing fractures, which can be a problem among older women. In addition, even with the many positive effects of alcohol, there are some downsides, such as increased risk for breast cancer. Also be sure not to drink too much, as that alcoholism effects are negative at any age.
So, depending on each woman’s own health situation, a glass or two of wine can indeed improve your bone health. Enjoy it, but don’t take advantage of it!