Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Menopause

by Laura Ramirez on September 29, 2012

Moderate alcohol consumption in menopausal women helps build bone density.

Yes, you read that right! Before you start to raise a glass in toast, here are the facts:

According to a study done at Oregon State University by researcher Urszula Iwaniec, drinking a small amount of wine consistently (1-2 four-ounce glasses per night) is actually better for your bones than drinking milk. Alcohol appears to slow the process of bone turnover (breakdown, reabsorption and building of new bone), keeping bones strong and preventing fractures. The key here, Ladies, is consistency and moderation … I don’t know about you, but this is certainly something that I can live with 🙂

As a health researcher and menopause transition coach, I was thrilled by this news because I enjoy a 4 ounce glass of wine every night while cooking dinner.   It’s a ritual that helps me to unwind after a long day of running several businesses and taking care of my family. Who knew my vice (which I had been feeling guilty about for years and had been planning to give up) was actually building my bones.

moderate alcohol consumption

Of course, red wine is better for you than white wine (which is also better for your heart), but white is my preference. Red wine makes me sleepy.

This news was almost as good as the news that moderate coffee consumption helps prevent cancer and dementia. What a year this has been! My two remaining vices have been vindicated and I no longer have to give them up.

Published in Menopause, Iwaniec’s study shows a link between moderate alcohol consumption and a slower bone turnover rate. This makes for stronger bone.

It’s important to understand that many of the bone density building drugs on the market have been known to build new bone while preventing the breakdown of old bone which may initially show an increase in bone density while in actuality, the body is building a fragile bone structure (made primarily of old bone) and thus more susceptible to fractures.

Since the study only included 40 women (ages 50-60), a more extensive study needs to be done to confirm the findings. While menopausal women around the world may be ready to raise their wine glasses in a toast, it’s important to remember that we’re talking about moderate alcohol consumption here. Also, these findings do not apply to younger women who are in the midst of building the bone mass that will carry them through their adult lives.

Until a new study disproves the findings in this most recent study though, I plan to continue to enjoy my nightly glass of wine. Please share your comments below.

Copyright © by Laura Ramirez. All rights reserved.

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