We’ve all heard the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but how about a glass of wine? Researchers from the University of Oregon recently published a study in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society, which showed moderate alcohol consumption helps maintain the strength of bones for post-menopausal women and prevent osteoporosis.
The study, reviewed and approved by the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research, showed that drinking a fair amount of alcohol (about 19 grams) daily was comparable to taking bisphonates, drugs made to prevent bone density loss. Hundreds of thousands of women take bisphonates daily to combat the thinning of bones, often called osteoporosis.
40 healthy post-menopausal women aged around 56 participated in the study. Professor Jonathan Powell and Dr Ravin Jugdaohsingh of the Medical Research Council Nutrition Research Group at Cambridge University said the study’s, “methods appear robust. The authors seem to know what they are doing. The moderate alcohol effect on bone is really quite potent.” The results reinforce previous studies with similar results.
The study showed that women who drink about two glasses of wine a day had a reduced drop in old bone. When the women in the study were asked to stop drinking wine, however, their rate of bone loss increased again. Why exactly alcohol causes the underlying cellular mechanisms to help maintain bone density is unclear, however.
The “Silent Disease”
Osteoporosis is hard to counter because it’s often not noticed until a fracture actually occurs. With no symptoms, bones become fragile for the elderly and can be damaged without warning by even the slightest impact.
According to the National Institutes of Health, osteoporosis will cause around half of women and a quarter of men over 50 to fracture their hip, waist or back.
This study’s results reinforce the notion that wine can be good for you in small amounts. A study done by the University of California in San Diego showed that a glass of wine a day can also combat Non-Alcoholic Fatty Disease. That study, however, pertained to wine only and not beer or hard liquors. And if that doesn’t convince you, wine has also been shown to possibly preserve memory, correlate with lower weights and reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
But before you go crazy with alcohol, researchers also noted that drinking excessively can increase the risk of bone damage through fractures and falls. So don’t break your bones trying to strengthen them!