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Light Alcohol Consumption May Help Bones
Date:5/23/2008

A daily drink cuts hip fracture risk and increases density, study finds,,,,

FRIDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) -- Although excessive alcohol consumption has long been associated with poor bone health, a new review suggests that people who have just one drink a day may actually have stronger bones that are less prone to fractures.

People who have one drink each day have about a 20 percent reduced risk of hip fracture compared to people who don't drink at all. In comparison, those who drink more than two alcoholic beverages daily have about a 40 percent higher risk of hip fracture, according to the study.

"Our study adds to the literature that suggests that moderate alcohol use is beneficial for many diseases," said study author Dr. Karina Berg, an assistant professor of medicine at Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Berg added that the study also found that "bone mineral density increased as alcohol consumption increased from abstinence up to about two drinks a day."

However, she said this study isn't a reason for people to start drinking if they don't already do so, and having more than two drinks a day can actually harm your bone health.

Ten million Americans have osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease that makes bones more susceptible to fracture, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). Millions more are at risk of osteoporosis because they have low bone mineral density, according to NIAMS.

Half of all women over 50 and one-quarter of men will suffer a fracture at some point due to osteoporosis, NIAMS reports.

Heavy alcohol consumption is a known risk factor for osteoporotic fractures and low bone mineral density, according to Berg's study, published in the May issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

What hasn't been clear, said Berg, is what the effect
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