Alcohol reduces bone brittleness
Women who drink a moderate amount of alcohol are less likely to develop osteoporosis, an American study has found.
The condition is caused by bones losing their density, making them more vulnerable to fractures.
Researchers at Oregon State University found the bones of women used to having one or two drinks a day several times a week grew weaker once they stopped for two weeks.
Even more surprising was that less than a day after they resumed their normal regular drinking their “bone turnover” rates – a measure of density – returned to previous levels.
The findings were published only a day after a Swedish team showed three glasses of wine a week halves the risk of certain forms of arthritis in women.
Oregon’s Professor Urszula Iwaniec says: “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.”
Past studies have shown moderate drinkers have a higher bone density than non-drinkers or heavy drinkers but have provided no explanation for the differences.
Alcohol appears to behave similarly to oestrogen – which falls after menopause – in that it reduces bone turnover, the researchers say.