Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

More evidence low-moderate alcohol consumption does not impair vitamin D status in women

Date:
April 28, 2010
Source:
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Summary:
Whether alcoholic drinks provide health benefits is an area of active and on-going research and debate among health and nutrition experts. A new study finds that low to moderate alcohol consumption, at least over the short term, appears not to harm bone health.

For as long as our ancestors have been drawing pictograms or writing prose about food and culture, humans have been imbibing various forms of alcohol. Once simply a process by which nutritious beverages could be preserved and stored for later use, there is no doubt that the production and consumption of wines, beers, and spirits now provides integral texture to the fabric of many cultures.

However, whether alcoholic drinks provide health benefits is an area of active and on-going debate and research among health and nutrition experts. For instance, moderate alcohol consumption is linked to increased risks of some forms of cancer. Conversely, drinking in reasonable amounts is associated with protection from cardiovascular disease and premature death.

Because many of the studies that have been conducted on this topic have utilized epidemiologic (observational) study designs, they unfortunately cannot provide definitive information on whether alcohol actually influences health or is just related to other lifestyle factors that are actually more physiologically relevant. Indeed, one of the basic tenets of scientific method is the phrase "correlation does not infer causation." In other words, just because people who drink alcohol tend to have fewer heart attacks does not mean that drinking alcohol actually prevents heart disease. In addition, there is a relative dearth of information on low to moderate alcohol consumption and bone health, especially in women. This may be particularly important because alcoholics tend to have weak bones -- possibly due to low levels of vitamin D which would hinder absorption of dietary calcium in the small intestine.

To help fill in a knowledge gap in this area, researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the US Department of Agriculture ARS Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center teamed up to rigorously test whether they could demonstrate any negative effects of low to moderate alcohol consumption on bone health in postmenopausal women. As part of the scientific program of the American Society for Nutrition, home to the world's leading nutrition researchers, results from this study were presented on April 27, 2010 at the Experimental Biology 2010 meeting in Anaheim by Dr. Somdat Mahabir.

This study was part of the Women's Alcohol Study which involved 51 postmenopausal women who did not smoke or use hormone replacement therapy. The research team measured the effects of controlled alcohol consumption during three periods of time. In one of these experimental periods, subjects consumed an alcohol-free beverage once each day. During the other two, they consumed either 15 or 30 g of nearly pure alcohol (Everclear) served up in orange juice. These amounts of alcohol are equivalent to 1 or 2 glasses, respectively, of wine or a bottle of beer. Each study period lasted for 8 weeks, during which time all meals were also provided to the women- either in the USDA's Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center or provided as "take-out" for the weekends.

The good news for those of us who enjoy a glass or two of wine or beer with dinner or at the football game, is that the scientists did not find any negative effects of either dose of alcohol on circulating levels of vitamin D. Low to moderate intake also did not affect a variety of markers (single-nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs) which influence alcohol metabolism. These results suggest that the relationship previously documented between alcohol consumption and bone disease in alcoholics may only be seen in very heavy drinkers, or may be due to something other than the alcohol itself.

Dr. Mahabir concluded that "It looks like low to moderate alcohol consumption, at least over the short term, does not harm bone health. Collectively, when all the available published epidemiologic data are considered, it looks like low to moderate alcohol may actually have a beneficial effect." In the end, nutritional scientists once again remind us that all foods and beverages can be part of a healthful diet and urge us to carefully balance the risks against the benefits of our daily dietary choices.

Dr. Somdat Mahabir (National Cancer Institute); Dr. David Baer (US Department of Agriculture); Dr. Ruth Pfeiffer (National Cancer Institute), and Dr. Philip Taylor (National Cancer Institute) were coauthors on this paper.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "More evidence low-moderate alcohol consumption does not impair vitamin D status in women." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100427131355.htm>.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. (2010, April 28). More evidence low-moderate alcohol consumption does not impair vitamin D status in women. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100427131355.htm
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "More evidence low-moderate alcohol consumption does not impair vitamin D status in women." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100427131355.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins