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Moderate Alcohol Consumption And Bone Density Amongst Menopausal Women
In postmenopausal women moderate alcohol consumption may help to maintain bone density by increasing oestrogens or by promoting secretion of calcitonin

A prospective study was made among a sample of 188 white postmenopausal women (ages 50-70) from the Nurses' Health Study who participated in health examinations between 1993-1995.Assessment included bone density analysis of the lumber spine and proximal femur as well as a food frequency questionnaire and long-term alcohol intake. The study was made by Feskanich D et al and published in the Journal of Women's Health, Vol 8, No 1, 1999.


Compared with non-drinking women, women who consumed 75g or more of alcohol per week had a significantly higher bone density after adjustments were made for age, age at menopause, body mass index, postmenopausal oestrogens, and smoking status. Results did not alter after further adjustments were made for physical activity, daily intakes of calcium, vitamin D, protein and caffeine.

An alcohol intake of less than 75g per week may also be beneficial as a linear increase in spinal bone density over increasing categories of alcohol intake was observed. This positive association was seen among users and non-users of postmenopausal oestrogens. In contrast to lumber spine, femoral bone density was not higher among drinkers compared with nondrinkers, although density did increase with increasing levels of alcohol consumption.

In order to determine whether moderate alcohol consumption can help to protect against spinal fractures in postmenopausal women further research is needed. The findings also need to be evaluated within a larger scope of risks and benefits of alcohol on heart disease, breast cancer and hip fractures.

Source:Feskanich D; Korrick SA; Greenspan SL; Rosen HN; Colditz GA, "Moderate alcohol consumption and bone density among postmenopausal women", Journal of Women's Health, Vol 8, No 1, 1999, pp65-73

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