Alcohol and Osteoporosis, Positive Changes

Alcohol and OsteoporosisAre beer, wine and spirits good for your bone health?

A new report has been published on alcohol and osteoporosis indicating that moderate alcohol consumption may improve bone health in older women, decreasing chance of osteoporosis and loss of bone mass. This is in contrast to many earlier studies showing the opposite. The premise of this new study shows the slowing of bone turnover, which would the result in a more dense outer layer around the bone.Not all researchers would agree if this is a positive result, or not.

Understanding Bone Turnover (Bone Metabolization)

Bone cells have a cycle of life that is in constant repetition. There are two processes the body has in this cycle. One is where the body metabolizes the old bone tissue, called “bone turnover” them replaces it with newer none tissue, called “bone resorption.” This takes place in the osteoblasts, which form newer bone, and osteoclasts, which break down the older bone. As long as these two processes balance each other, bone mass density stays the same. If the more old bone metabolization happens than creation of the newer bone tissue, lower bone mass, osteopenia, and osteoporosis can occur. It is important to point out that the older bone tissue that is metabolized, provides calcium many other processes in the body, and almost every process in the body requires calcium, especially the central nervous system.

Is Keeping Older Bone Good?

The general consensus is that keeping older bone, which resides in the outer layer of the bone, is good, as the overall strength of the bone is increased. This is the process of the bisphosphonate drugs on the market today. They stunt osteoclastic activity (the bone metabolism) which keeps the old bone and minerals from being used by the other systems of the body. Also, many longer term observations of pharmaceutical treatments that stunt the process of older bone shedding, actually show a increased chance of fracture in some bones of the body. This would potentially indicate that the process of keeping the older layer of bone is just making the bones look better in our current testing standards, but with little to no strength difference. More research is needed to determine the best recommendations for potentially altering the rate at which bone is metabolized by the body.

Light Alcohol Consumption Reduces Osteoporosis

The researchers did find that light alcohol consumption can reduce the chances of osteoporosis by slowing the process of older bone metabolization, however the above observations questions the logic of this, for the same reason many of the osteoporosis drugs on the market are being questioned. Before reaching for another drink with the promise of bone health, one must also consider that research has also shown that the same light alcohol consumption, can increase female risk for breast cancer, as well other health complications.
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