Researchers at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, UK have found that moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with slightly higher bone mineral density (BMD) in women.
Dr. F. Williams and colleagues conducted a twin study to examine the effect of moderate alcohol consumption on BMD and fracture risk after controlling for genetic effects and other potential risk factors. The team assessed BMD at the hip and lower spine in 46 pairs of identical twins who consumed different amounts of alcohol.
The twins identified as ‘minimal drinkers’ consumed a mean of 0.2 units of alcohol per week, while those identified as ‘drinkers’ consumed a mean of 8.0 units per week. The drinkers and minimal drinkers had mean BMD values of 0.982 and 0.964 grams per square centimeter, respectively, at the hip, and 1.020 and 1.011 grams per square centimeter at the spine.
“Alcohol consumption was found to be positively associated with BMD at the lumbar spine and sites at the hip reflecting both cortical and trabecular bone,” Dr. Williams’ team reports.
Source: Williams FMK et al. The effect of moderate alcohol consumption on bone mineral density: a study of female twins. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2005;64:309-10.