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Alcohol Health Res World. 1998;22(3):190-4.

Alcohol's harmful effects on bone.

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  • 1Department of Human Anatomy & Medical Neurobiology, Texas A&M Health Science Center, College of Medicine, College Station, Texas, USA.


Long-term alcohol consumption can interfere with bone growth and replacement of bone tissue (i.e., remodeling), resulting in decreased bone density and increased risk of fracture. These effects may be exerted directly or indirectly through the many cell types, hormones, and growth factors that regulate bone metabolism. Alcohol consumption during adolescence reduces peak bone mass and can result in relatively weak adult bones that are more susceptible to fracture. In adults, alcohol consumption can disrupt the ongoing balance between the erosion and the remodeling of bone tissue, contributing to alcoholic bone disease. This imbalance results in part from alcohol-induced inhibition of osteoblasts, specialized cells that deposit new bone. Some evidence suggests that moderate drinking may decrease the risk of fracture in postmenopausal women.

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