According to a recent study by researchers at the University of Oregon, one or two glasses of wine a day could be as effective as drugs in the protection against thinning bones in post-menopausal women.
The study, published in the journal entitled Menopause, and reviewed by experts from the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research, intimated that abstaining from alcohol leads to a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. The research concluded that two small glasses of wine (19g of alcohol a day) had a similar effect on women who take the daily postmenopausal drug, bisphosphonates, which combats thinning bones.
The report, which appeared in the Daily Mail, suggested that when women were asked to stop drinking, their ‘bone turnover’ (the balance between old and new bone) went up. The findings suggested that alcohol is a natural remedy that can in part correct the imbalance between the dissolving of old bone and poor production of new bone that can lead to osteoporosis in older women, when consumed in moderation.
40 healthy postmenopausal women with an average age of 56 were involved in the research at the University of Oregon and the aforementioned Forum concluded that the study demonstrated changes at a cellular level linked to alcohol and that moderate consumption could improve bone mineral density.
Prof Jonathan Powell and Dr Ravin Jugdaohsingh of the Medical Research Council Nutrition Research Group at Cambridge University, described the study as “novel”.
They added: “Methods appear robust. The authors seem to know what they are doing. The moderate alcohol effect on bone is really quite potent.
“This is the 'big issue' in determining the relation of moderate alcohol intake and bone that needs resolving.”
Osteoporosis affects around 300,000 people in the UK a year and is often referred to as the ‘silent disease’ as there are no symptoms prior to a fracture. According to the Mail, hip fractures lead to 1,150 deaths every month.
While other recent studies have uncovered similar findings in regards to the positive effects of moderate drinking, Sarah Leyland of the National Osteoporosis Society warned against drinking more to protect bones.#
“Moderate amounts of alcohol might be beneficial for bones, but excessive alcohol increases the risk of fractures, as well as increasing the risk of falls.” Leyland told the Daily Mail.
Main Image by Dave Dugdale