News: Can alcohol improve bone health?

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News: Can alcohol improve bone health?

Got wine? Hopefully—because next time you reach for a glass of milk in hopes of keeping your bones strong, you may want to opt for merlot instead.

A new study, published in the journal Menopause, shows that moderate alcohol consumption may benefit women's bone health and lower their risk of developing osteoporosis.

The researchers asked 40 women who regularly drank one or two drinks a day to stop drinking for two weeks. During that time, they found increased bone turnover (which increases the risk of osteoporotic fractures). Even more surprising is that just one day after they resumed normal drinking, their bone turnover rates returned to previous levels.

"After less than 24 hours to see such a measurable effect was really unexpected," Urszula Iwaniec, associate professor at the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU and one of the study's authors, told Science Daily.

The key, of course, is moderation. Past studies have shown that binge drinking has the opposite effect—it can decrease bone mass and bone strength, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Moderate drinking, on the other hand, has been shown to have many health benefits (most recently, a study found that it can improve quality of life).

"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 told Science Daily.

I may not be postmenopausal, but I do love a glass of wine in the evening—and I’ll enjoy it even more if I know I’m keeping my bones strong.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I conveniently have a wine tasting event to attend. Cheers to bone health!

What do you think of this study? Do you drink alcohol daily?

-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor

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