Moderate Drinking Reduces Risk of Developing Osteoporosis

Drinking alcohol in moderation is associated with lower risk of developing osteoporosis, according to researchers at the University of Oregon’s Skeletal Biology Laboratory.

Bones are constantly rebuilding as old bone tissue is removed and replaced with new bone, a process called bone turnover. In osteoporosis, more bone is lost than is replaces, resulting in porous, weak bones that easily break.

Past studies have shown that moderate drinkers have a higher bone density than either non-drinkers or heavy drinkers. In this study, early postmenopausal women who regularly had one or two drinks a day, who were not on any hormone replacement therapies, and who had no history of osteoporosis-related bone fractures were asked to abstain from consuming any alcohol for a period of two weeks.

Researchers found increased bone loss during the two week period when the women abstained from drinking alcohol. However, less than 24 hours after resumed their normal consumption of alcohol, their normal bone turnover rate returned.

Many of the medications used to reduce bone loss are very expensive and have undesirable side effects. Having a glass or two of beer, wine or distilled spirits (liquor) every day can be especially helpful for postmenopausal women.

The research, published in the medical journal Menopause, was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the John C. Erkkila, M.D. Endowment for Health and Human Performance.


Note: This website is informational only. It does not provide suggestions or recommendations about osteoporosis, alcohol, nutrition, health or any other matter and none should be inferred.


  • Marrone, J.A., et al. Moderate alcohol intake lowers biochemical markers of bone turnover in postmenopausal women. Menopause, 2012 (July 9) doi: 10.1097/GME0b013e31824ac071;

Filed Under: Women’s Health

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