Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones, increasing the risk of falls and fractures. Researchers have published several studies investigating the link between alcohol and osteoporosis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), osteoporosis affects about
This article discusses links between alcohol and osteoporosis, and osteoporosis risk factors. It also discusses tips for managing osteoporosis and when to speak with a doctor.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
According to a
- Interfere with the way their body uses calcium and vitamin D: Calcium is an essential nutrient for healthy bones, and people need vitamin D for their bones to absorb calcium.
- Cause hormone deficiencies: Males may produce less testosterone, a hormone linked to helping bones form. Females may experience decreased levels of a hormone called estrogen as a result of drinking too much alcohol. This can lead to bone loss.
- Cause people to fall more frequently: People may fall more easily when under the influence of alcohol. This can increase their risk of bone fracture.
The authors of the study summarized evidence of the link between alcohol consumption and osteoporosis. They found a steadily increasing risk of fractures as people increased their alcohol consumption. However, they also noted that moderate alcohol consumption may decrease the risk of hip fractures in older people.
The researchers highlighted that the study had some limitations.
They only measured people’s alcohol intake during interviews and visits, rather than directly measuring them. This meant they were unable to identify drinking patterns, for example, whether someone drinks alcohol with a meal or how long they have been consuming alcohol throughout their life.
Therefore, the researchers concluded that future studies investigating the relationship between alcohol consumption and bone health are necessary.
The researchers suggested that avoiding alcohol consumption may be beneficial for a person’s bone health.
A person’s risk of developing osteoporosis
Researchers have identified some conditions and lifestyle factors that can
- eating a high calorie diet
- not getting enough of certain vitamins, such as vitamin K or vitamin D
- eating a diet low in calcium or low in fruits, whole grains, and vegetables
- having a sedentary lifestyle
- losing weight loss or being underweight
- high levels of air pollution
- a history of falls
- a family history of osteoporosis
- having previously broken bones
- prolonged use of some medications, such as corticosteroids
- inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis
- other health conditions, including:
People should speak with a healthcare professional about any existing health conditions and their family medical history, as a range of conditions may increase the risk of developing osteoporosis.
People can also
- taking medications that slow down bone loss or help rebuild bones
- avoiding activities that may cause fractures, such as golfing or sit-up exercises
- eating a balanced diet that supports bone health
- quitting smoking
- preventing falls by:
- managing any underlying health conditions
- speaking with a doctor about whether to keep taking certain medications, such as corticosteroids
People with osteoporosis may need to limit their alcohol intake. Limiting alcohol consumption may help manage osteoporosis and avoid bone breaks.
People with alcohol use disorder (AUD) may need
Symptoms of AUD can include:
- excessive alcohol consumption
- inability to fulfill responsibilities due to drinking
- withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop drinking
If a person thinks they or someone close to them may have AUD, they should seek professional medical attention. Healthcare professionals can offer guidance and recommend appropriate treatment.
Additionally, a doctor can help assess a person’s risk of developing osteoporosis and provide further information for people living with the condition.
There are many risk factors that may contribute to the development of osteoporosis, including excessive alcohol consumption. Several studies have explored links between alcohol consumption and osteoporosis.
People may help reduce their risk of developing osteoporosis by limiting their alcohol consumption, as well as making other lifestyle changes, such as eating a balanced diet and quitting smoking.
A person should speak with a doctor about their risk of developing osteoporosis and how to manage the condition if they have it. People can also discuss their alcohol consumption levels and AUD with a healthcare professional.