Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the US Department of Agriculture ARS Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center investigated whether they could demonstrate any negative effects of low to moderate alcohol consumption on bone health in postmenopausal women.
The study was part of the Women’s Alcohol Study which involved 51 post-menopausal women who did not smoke or use hormone replacement therapy. The research team measured the effects of controlled alcohol consumption during three periods of time. In one of these experimental periods, subjects consumed an alcohol-free beverage once each day. During the other two, they consumed either 15 or 30 g of nearly pure alcohol (Everclear) served up in orange juice. These amounts of alcohol are equivalent to 1 or 2 glasses, respectively, of wine or a bottle of beer. Each study period lasted for 8 weeks.
The research did not find any negative effects of either dose of alcohol on circulating levels of vitamin D. Low to moderate intake also did not affect a variety of markers (single-nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs) which influence alcohol metabolism. These results suggest that the relationship previously documented between alcohol consumption and bone disease in alcoholics may only be seen in very heavy drinkers, or may be due to something other than the alcohol itself.
Dr Mahabir of the National Cancer Institute concluded that “It looks like low to moderate alcohol consumption, at least over the short term, does not harm bone health. Collectively, when all the available published epidemiologic data are considered, it looks like low to moderate alcohol may actually have a beneficial effect.”
Source: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). results from this study were presented on April 27, 2010 at the Experimental Biology 2010 meeting in Anaheim by Dr. Somdat Mahabir.