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How can alcohol intake affect bone mass?

For better bone health, it's important to avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can inhibit bone formation. In people who already have osteoporosis, alcohol can affect your balance, making you prone to falling and breaking a bone. If you choose to drink alcohol, drink in moderation to protect your overall health, including your bone health. For women, moderate drinking is no more than one drink per day, equal to 12 fluid ounces of beer, 5 fluid ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.
 
David Slovik, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
Heavy alcohol use can reduce bone mass. Experts believe that alcohol may interfere with the body's ability to convert inactive vitamin D into its active form. It also appears to hamper bone formation and increase losses of calcium and magnesium from the body. While it's clear that heavy drinking has a negative effect on bones, some studies have found that moderate drinking is associated with greater bone mass. The Nurses' Health Study found that women who had one drink a day had more bone mass in the spine than women who didn't drink at all. Still, alcohol may be more harmful than helpful. That's because alcohol interferes with balance and makes falling more likely. That same study revealed that women who had one drink a day were twice as likely as nondrinkers to break a hip.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.