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Alcohol, when consumed in moderation, may have a protective effect on women's bones, according to a study published in the journal Menopause. This may be relevant to women are considering undergoing a lab test to screen for osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is the result of an imbalance between the rate of the resorption, or break down, and formation of bone tissue. Risk factors for this condition include low levels of calcium and vitamin D intake, excessive alcohol consumption and, in women, menopause.
However, moderate alcohol intake may have a protective effect.
In order to investigate further, a team of scientists conducted an experiment in which 40 postmenopausal women drank 19 grams of alcohol per day during the study period. The researchers measured markers of bone turnover during stretches of alcohol consumption, abstinence, and resumption of drinking.
Results showed that bone turnover marker levels tended to be lower during the periods when alcohol consumption began and when it resumed. Conversely, the amounts of these markers were higher during the time when study participants were not drinking. These results may be the product of alcohol's effects on cellular processes.
Postmenopausal women who are concerned about their bone health may want to consider undergoing a lab test for osteoporosis to measure disease markers in their urine.
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