Abstinence, exercise helps reclaim bone loss
Osteoporosis, or reduced bone mineral density (BMD), is defined by an absolute decrease in total bone mass, caused mostly by an imbalance between loss of bone mass (resorption) and bone formation. Reduced BMD often co-occurs with alcoholism.
A study of the passage of bone formation and loss in abstinent alcoholics has found that eight weeks of abstinence may be enough to initiate a healthier balance between the two, the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research reports.
"There are many reasons why alcoholics may develop reduced BMD: Lack of physical activity, liver disease, and a suspected direct toxic effect of alcohol on bone-building cells," said study co-author Peter Malik, senior scientist and physician at the Medical University Innsbruck, Austria.
"A reduced BMD carries an increased risk of fractures with all the consequences; osteoporotic fractures also put an enormous financial burden on health care systems due to high rehabilitation costs," added Malik, according to an Innsbruck statement.
"This study contributes to our understanding of various deteriorating effects of long-term consumption of high amounts of alcohol on the human body," said Sergei Mechtcheriakov, associate professor of psychiatry at the Innsbruck.