It appears that alcohol-induced bone loss resulting from excessive binge-alcohol drinking can be prevented by vitamin D or the anti-osteoporosis drug Boniva® (ibandronate), a Loyola University Health System study shows.
“Repetitive binge-alcohol drinking reduces bone mass, which is detrimental to youngsters and young adults, and increases the rate of bone loss in osteoporotic post-
menopausal women,” said principal study investigator Dr. Frederick Wezeman, professor of orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and associate dean, Loyola University Chicago Graduate School at Loyola University Medical Center, both in Maywood, Ill.
The underlying reason is that bone mass peaks when people are in their mid-20s and is progressively reduced as they age. “Before that, in the teen and young adult years, the skeleton is developing and requires exercise, calcium, vitamin D and good nutrition to achieve optimal health,” said Wezeman, director, musculoskeletal biology research laboratory, Loyola University Health System, Maywood, Ill.
“This sets the stage for how healthy your bones will be in subsequent decades when requirements for calcium and vitamin D intake increase,” he said. “Postmenopausal women already at risk for osteoporosis are especially susceptible to alcohol-induced bone damage.
“We do feel it important to share the research findings as they may provide therapeutic intervention for individuals affected by alcohol abuse,” said Wezeman.
It also points to the importance of keeping your bones healthy, Wezeman noted.
Youngsters who spend hours indoors sitting in front of a computer and surfing the Web are putting their bones at risk. They should be active out-of-doors, weight-conscious, and properly nourished for calcium and vitamin D intake.
“Teen and young adult “Web potatoes” face future bone problems even without drinking,” said Wezeman. “If they go on binge-drinking sprees on top of that, they can harm their bones even more.”
Bone is a constantly changing tissue. Binge alcohol treatment decreased bone mineral density and bone strength of rats in the study, except for the groups that also received vitamin D or ibandronate.
“Don’t take your skeleton for granted,” Wezeman cautioned. “Of course individuals should speak to their physician, but generally adults need 1,200 – 1,500 milligrams of calcium daily plus they should get 600 – 800 IUs of vitamin D. For a long time, the standard thought was 400 IUs of vitamin D was enough; now we know more is needed.”
Bone health will help reduce older people’s risk of fracture if they fall.
Co-authors of the study, with Wezeman, are Dr. Dainius Juknelis, research associate, and Dr. John J. Callaci, assistant professor, department of orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation and the Alcohol Research Program, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded the study. Roche Diagnostics GmbH provided the ibandronate. No benefits in any form have been or will be received by the authors from a commercial party for this investigation. For more information on Loyola University Health System, log onto www.loyolamedicine.org
Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus, Loyola University Hospital, is a 569-licensed-bed facility. It houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 264-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.