Healthy Living

Osteoporosis Causes 2019: Smoking And Drinking Alcohol Reportedly Increase Risk

Drinking alcohol can cause a lot of problems down the line. Of course, there’s no denying the pleasurable effects of alcohol, which only increase the more you drink it. Unfortunately, every part of your body is affected negatively by too much drinking, especially the brain and liver. On the other hand, there’s smoking, which is linked to many diseases and conditions, particularly lung cancer that is known to affect mortality rate.

There’s no question that excessively doing the two has some life-threatening consequences. Interestingly, new research has shown that smoking and drinking alcohol can also increase the risk of developing the bone disease osteoporosis early, even more so when done together. Researchers were able to find a cell mechanism that can help explain why these two would lead to the bone condition.

The cell mechanism in question is found in the mitochondria, which is known for being the cell’s powerhouse. To be more specific, the mitochondria that get affected are the ones in macrophages, which are immune cells that helps fight cell waste and foreign objects by absorbing them.

According to the research, certain lifestyle factors like the couple mentioned above triggers the mitochondria of macrophages, causing them to be under stress and triggering a process that would essentially turn the cells itself into osteoclasts. Osteoclasts are a type of cells known to gradually dissolve bones. This mechanism is the one that triggers the start of osteoporosis.

“We show in this paper that when mitochondrial function is affected, it not only affects energy production but also triggers a type of stress signaling that induces the overproduction of osteoclasts,” Narayan G. Avadhani, senior study author and a professor of biochemistry at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine, said. Avadhani and the team’s findings were published in the FASEB Journal.

Over time, age is usually the culprit behind osteoporosis. That’s because the more we age, the more imbalance there is between bone generation and bone absorption, causing our bones to become brittle and more porous.

However, the research suggests that the disease can develop early due to certain lifestyle factors, like smoking and drinking alcohol, that cause changes in macrophages. At the moment, the researchers are trying to find out whether reversing this can help decrease the risk.