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Alcohol in moderation boosts bone health

July 14, 2012 at 12:03 AM

CORVALLIS, Ore., July 13 (UPI) -- Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol as part of a healthy lifestyle may lower a post-menopausal woman's risk of developing osteoporosis, U.S. researchers say.

Urszula Iwaniec, associate professor at Oregon State University, and colleagues measured a significant increase in blood markers of bone turnover in women after the subjects stopped drinking for just two weeks.

Bones are in a constant state of remodeling, with old bone being removed and replaced. In people with osteoporosis -- 80 percent of whom are women -- more bone is lost than reformed resulting in porous, weak bones.

Researchers in OSU's Skeletal Biology Laboratory studied 40 early post-menopausal women who regularly had one or two drinks a day, were not on any hormone replacement therapies, and had no history of osteoporosis-related fractures.

The study, published in the journal Menopause, found evidence for increased bone turnover -- a risk factor for osteoporotic fractures -- during the two week period when the participants stopped drinking. The researchers found less than a day after the women resumed their normal drinking, their bone turnover rates returned to previous levels.

"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," Iwaniec said in a statement. "After less than 24 hours to see such a measurable effect was really unexpected."

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