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