- The low bone mineral density experienced by many alcohol-dependent men appears to be alleviated by abstinence.
- Note that positive correlations also were seen between recent exercise and bone density at the lumbar spine, the femoral neck (where the leg bone connects to the hip) and total hip.
The low bone mineral density (BMD) seen in many alcohol-dependent men appears to be alleviated once they stop drinking, European researchers reported.
Among a group of men undergoing inpatient treatment for alcoholism, BMD below normal for age was present at the lumbar spine in 15.1%, at the femoral neck in 5.7%, and for the total hip in just under 2%, according to Peter Malik, MD, and colleagues from the Medical University Innsbruck in Austria.
However, after 2 months of in-hospital abstinence, significant increases were seen in plasma osteocalcin, from 21.47 mcg/L to 25.54 µcg/L (P<0.001), reflecting a rise in new bone formation, the researchers reported online in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
Osteoporosis is a recognized complication of alcoholism, possibly resulting from multiple factors including malnutrition, impairments in the metabolism of vitamin D, inactivity, and lack of sunlight exposure.
In addition, studies have suggested that alcohol dependence may interfere with new bone formation, yet not all researchers have agreed that BMD is decreased in alcohol-dependent patients.