Women who want to prevent osteoporosis may want to raise their glass. A new study says drinking a moderate amount of alcohol may help prevent bone loss.
"It's better than medicine which has bad effects," says Judi Castro.
Researchers at Oregon State University studied postmenopausal women who regularly had one or two drinks a day. They found when the women stopped drinking for two weeks, their rates of bone turnover - when bone is lost and replaced - went up.
"Based on this study alcohol reduces bone loss by reducing the turnover that is elevated following menopause," says study author Urszula Iwaniec.
The body constantly removes and replaces bone. With osteoporosis, more bone is lost than reformed, resulting in weak bones that are more likely to break. @
About 10 million Americans have osteoporosis. Older women are more affected because estrogen - the hormone that keeps bone replacement in check - decreases after menopause.
Women like 83-year-old Sandra Crain welcome the study's findings. "My friends my age have osteoporosis. It's very common and we can all use a bit more wine. Why not?"
But researchers warn not to drink too much. "Excessive alcohol consumption is detrimental to bone health but in this moderate range it is beneficial," says Iwaniec.@
And they say eating a healthy diet and exercising will also go a long way to keeping bones healthy.
80 percent of osteoporosis patients are women.Most of the women in the study drank wine.