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A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
Date:3/18/2009

Moderate consumption offers the most protection, study finds,,,,

WEDNESDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- Older men and postmenopausal women who have one or two glasses of beer or wine a day appear to have stronger bones than both nondrinkers and heavy drinkers, a new study suggests.

Moderate drinking has been associated with decreasing the risk for heart disease, but it also has been linked to increasing the risk for some cancers. And though their study found that beer and wine could be beneficial to bone strength, the researchers cautioned that people need to balance the risks and benefits of alcohol with their individual health concerns.

"We were looking at the relationship between different types of alcohol and bone mineral density [BMD] because there is a controversy about how it might affect bone," said lead researcher Katherine L. Tucker, director of the Dietary Assessment and Epidemiology Research Program at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston.

Alcohol was protective of BMD in older men and postmenopausal women, Tucker said, "but we didn't see any relationship in premenopausal women."

Among women, she said, wine was very protective, and in men, beer was the most protective, "partly because men drink more beer and women drink more wine," she said. Drinking liquor was less protective, she added.

And men who had more than two drinks a day actually had the lowest BMD, Tucker said.

What that suggests is that the relationship is complex but there might be components in beer and wine that could help protect bone. For example, beer contains silicon, which has been associated with stronger bone. In wine, polyphenols, which have been linked to protection from heart disease, might also protect bone, she said.

The report is published in the April issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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