Osteoporosis alcohol connection - fact or fiction?

Is there an osteoporosis alcohol connection? All the old publications about Osteoporosis Risk Factors state there is a clear connection between drinking and bone loss.  Authors advise, "Give up drinking" if you want stronger bones.

But things no longer seem so simple. Some recent research studies seem to show that light/moderate use of alcohol has a beneficial effect.

You be wondering: Should I continue or stop drinking? Now I can not tell you what to do.  But I can offer you information from recent research studies that might help you decide what to do.(Of course you health care provider should be able to advise you.)

Here is some of the latest information about alcohol and Osteopenia, Osteoporosis.

Research about osteoporosis alcohol connection

What research says about the alcohol connection to bone loss.  There appear to be a number of negatives about drinking and your bone density

  1. Drinking can deplete your calcium reserves. Alcohol can raise your PTH levels ( parathyroid hormone). PTH is an important regulator of your body's calcium and phosophoros levels. If someone drinks a lot, their PTH levels can remain elevated. That puts a strain on the body's calcium reserves. Since your bones are a major calcium reserve, drinking can cause you to lose calcium from our bones. That is one connection between Osteopenia or Osteoporosis and alcohol.
  2. Drinking can prevent your body from absorbing calcium from food. Alcohol interferes with liver enzymes that are necessary for converting the inactive form of Vitamin D into the active form. Without sufficient active Vitamin D, your body can not absorb calcium from your gastrointestinal tract. So that is a second Osteoporosis alcohol connection.
  3. Excessive drinking often damages the pancreas, a source of some of the enzymes that help you digest food and absorb Vitamin D, calcium and other nutrients. So excessive drinking can prevent you from getting calcium from your food. That makes for weaker bones.
  4.  Another Osteoporosis alcohol connection comes from alcohol's ability to increase your levels of Cortisol. Cortisol, the stress hormone, reduces the work of osteoblasts (bone building cells)  so less bone is formed. It also increases the work of osteoclasts (bone removal cells) and so more of your bone is resorbed (removed). This double action of lowered bone formation and greater bone resorption is likely to reduce you over all bone density. So alcohol's effect on Cortisol is that it leads to weaker bones weaker  bones.      
  5.  It appears that alcohol poisons osteoblasts while at the same time it stimulates osteoclasts.. This is a serious Osteoporosis alcohol connection since it means means that less new bone is formed by your Osteoblasts AND at the same time that additional bone is being removed/resorbed by your Osteoclasts.   
  6. Drinking often has a negative effect on your hormones. In men, excessive drinking reduces testrosterone. Since testrosterone is necessary for the work of osteoblasts, it means that less bone is formed. In women, excessive drinking can interfere with their menstrual cycle. Irregular periods lead to bone loss.
  7. Poor nutrition is common among those who drink more than 2 or 3 alcoholic beverages a day. Drinkers often avoid vegetables, salads and fruit in favor of fast food or a high protein diet. This usually leads to low levels of calcium as well as other health problems.

Positive affects of Alcohol  on your bone building.  The Framingham study showed that "Women who drink a little bit have an increased oestrogen which helps protect them against heart disease and osteoporosis, but it may increase their risk slightly of breast cancer." (Note: "drink a little bit" means no more than one drink a day; seven ounces of liquor a week. )To read more of what research studies have shown, click on Osteopenia Osteoporosis Alcohol

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