After adjusting for several other factors that may have accounted for the higher BMD, such as silicon intake, calcium intake and smoking history, the authors still saw an association between higher BMD and moderate alcohol consumption. One of the strongest associations was seen in men who reported consuming one or two servings of total alcohol (a combination of beer, wine and liquor) or one or two servings of beer per day. Hip BMD in this group was significantly greater compared to non-drinkers.
In contrast, the authors observed significantly lower BMD at the hip and spine in men who consumed more than two servings of liquor per day compared to men who consumed one or two servings of liquor per day. "There is a body of research showing alcoholism is devastating to bones," Tucker said. "It's a major risk factor for osteoporosis. No one should depend solely on alcohol to maintain bone health."
The authors hypothesize that the silicon found in beer is contributing to the higher BMD scores in the men who reported consuming one or two servings of total alcohol or beer per day, citing previous studies finding silicon has greater bioavailability as a liquid. It is less clear why liquor and wine might protect BMD.
"We cannot say definitively what component of these alcoholic drinks might be beneficial to bone health because our findings are from an observational study, as opposed to a clinical trial," Tucker said. "Future studies might dig deeper into patterns of alcohol consumption, as we relied on a self-reported dietary questionnaire. Another component of data worthy of exploration is whether the antioxidants found in wine,
|Contact: Andrea Grossman|
Tufts University, Health Sciences