Bad to da bones

Posted by on Oct 24, 2008 in bone health | 4 comments


Many of us have reached for that third, sometimes fourth glass of wine when out with friends. An occasional trangression never hurts, right?  But for years now, researchers have been warning us to skip those last two glasses. Besides the usual suspects, like breast cancer or stroke, binge drinking (4 or more drinks in a 2 hour period for women, 5 or more for men) can also reduce bone mass and bone strength and consequently, increase the risk for osteoporosis.

Now, for the first time, researchers have identified why binge drinking is bad for da bones – it’s all about genes!

What they found that rats given amounts of alcohol equivalent to binge drinking showed altered expression of two molecular pathways directly responsible for for normal bone metabolism and bone mass. These effects remained even after factors such as body weight or bone mass density were accounted for.

The researchers also found that an anti-bone resorptive agent known as ibandronate was able to correct changes in gene expression., which suggests that alcohol-related bone loss may be correctable. The study was published in the July issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

So, why should you care?

As I’ve written before, women undergoing menopause are already at risk for bone loss and osteoporosis. Binge habits may simply exacerbate this process, leading to an even greater risk.

My grandmother always said “everything in moderation.” She lived to be 90 and was still moving furniture around her apartment in her mid-80s.  That lady was bad to the bone, for sure!


  1. 10-24-2008

    Not even at poker? Drat.

  2. 10-24-2008

    Great post. I agree with your grandmother.

  3. 10-24-2008

    Wendy – there are exceptions to every rule, like poker ;-).

    Dr. Hubbard – she was a wise woman!

  4. 10-27-2008

    Oh, you should see me with four glasses of wine in me! ha! No, you should NOT. I’m a lightweight w/alchol and I’m just tons of fun with one glass – two if you want to watch me get real giggly. Four? I’d be passed out asleep!


  1. Oh dem bones! Time to cut your losses. | FlashFree : Not Your Mama's Menopause - [...] moderately. One or two alcoholic drinks a day may be protective. More?  Not only does your liver hate you…

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