A glass or two glasses of wine a day works just as well as medicine at maintaining bones strength and protecting older women from osteoporosis or thinning of bones.
Researchers from the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research the found that after menopause regular moderate consumption of alcohol helped preserve bone strength.
In fact, experts analyzing a study by researchers from the University of Oregon concluded that abstaining from alcohol led to a higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
The study, published in the Menopause journal, found that modest drinking appeared to work just as well as bisphosphonates, a type of drug used by hundreds of thousands of women to combat thinning bones.
The study found that women who drank 19 grams of alcohol, or about two small glasses of wine a day, had a drop in the loss of old bone, which improved the balance between their old and new bones and maintained their bone strength.
The latest findings, which consisted of 40 healthy postmenopausal women with an average age of 56, adds to the growing evidence that links moderate alcohol consumption to higher bone mass in older women.
Researchers noted that when participants were asked to stop drinking, their "bone turnover" or bone resorption and formation increased. Experts say that high bone turnover can lead to weaker and thinner bones, which can result in more fractures and can often result in osteopenia and is the major cause of osteoporosis.
However, the day participants began drinking again, their bone turnover was again reduced, according to researchers.
“The results suggest an effect of moderate alcohol consumption similar to the effects of bisphosphonates,” one reviewer said, according to a statement.
Another reviewer said that although the latest findings suggest that drinking increases levels of bone formation markers of bone turnover, it does not necessary mean that alcohol intake will increase bone density.
"Longitudinal studies are required to determine if regular moderate alcohol consumption increases bone density, and more importantly, if it could reduce the risk of fracture,” the reviewer said.
Campaigners warned women against alcohol consumption to protect bones against osteoporosis because excessive drinking also increases the risk of fractures and falls.
Osteoporosis, the most common form of bone disease, is often dubbed the "silent disease" because there are no symptoms before a fracture, and once a person has broken a bone, their fragility fracture, or risk of breaking other bones, significantly increases.
The National Institutes of Health estimates that about half of all women and a quarter of men over the age of 50 will have a hip, wrist or vertebra fracture due to osteoporosis.
“The study is novel and methods appear robust. The authors seem to know what they are doing," scientists from the MRC Human Nutrition Research Group at Cambridge University, Professor Jonathan Powell and Dr. Ravin Jugdaohsingh, commented.
“This is the 'big issue' in determining the relation of moderate alcohol intake and bone that needs resolving,” they added.
The forum concluded that moderate intake of alcohol, especially of beer and wine, improved bone strength in men and postmenopausal women.