BOSTON - (March 3, 2009) In an epidemiological study of men and post-menopausal women primarily over 60 years of age, regular moderate alcohol intake was associated with greater bone mineral density (BMD). Researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University found associations were strongest for beer and wine and, importantly, BMD was significantly lower in men drinking more than two servings of liquor per day. The results suggest that regular moderate consumption of beer or wine may have protective effects on bone, but that heavy drinking may contribute to bone loss.
"Previous research suggests that moderate alcohol consumption in older men and post-menopausal women may protect against BMD loss, a major risk factor for osteoporosis," said Katherine L. Tucker, PhD, corresponding author and director of the Dietary Assessment and Epidemiology Research Program at the USDA HNRCA. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines issued by the federal government defines moderate alcohol consumption as one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
"Our study also looks at the possible effects of the three alcohol classes, beer, wine and liquor on BMD," Tucker continued. "We saw stronger associations between higher BMD and beer drinkers, who were mostly men, and wine drinkers, who were mostly women, compared to liquor drinkers." The results were published online February 25 by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Tucker, who is also a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts, and colleagues analyzed BMD measurements taken at three hip sites and the lumbar spine in 1,182 men, 1,289 post-menopausal women, and 248 pre-menopausal women whose parents or in-laws participated in the original Framingham Heart Study. There was not enough data to determine the effects of more than two servings of alcohol per day in post-menopausal women or the effects of d
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Tufts University, Health Sciences