After reviewing 13 studies on alcohol and hip fracture risk, the authors concluded that people who had less than 0.5 drinks a day had a 16 percent reduced risk of hip fracture, compared to people who didn't drink at all. When alcohol consumption increased to 0.5 to one drink per day, the risk of hip fracture was reduced by 20 percent. Those consuming one to two drinks daily had a 9 percent reduction in hip fracture risk, while those who drank more than two drinks a day increased their risk of hip fracture by 39 percent, according to the study.
Berg said alcohol's beneficial effects likely come from the fact that alcohol has an influence on circulating estrogen levels, which in turn may improve bone health. However, this study wasn't designed to find the exact reason light drinking might help bone health, only to examine if there was an association.
Dr. Bruce Kaplan, a rheumatologist at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich., pointed out that this study doesn't prove cause and effect, but added that, "moderate drinking, particularly wine, has been associated with good health and may have some beneficial effect."
Berg added that current federal government guidelines recommend no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
To learn more about osteoporosis, as well as ways to keep your bones strong, visit the U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
SOURCES: Karina Berg, M.D., assistant professor, medicine, Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; Bruc
All rights reserved