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Calcif Tissue Int. 1990 Mar;46(3):173-8.

Alcohol decreases serum osteocalcin in a dose-dependent way in normal subjects.

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University Department of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, Aarhus Kommunehospital, Denmark.


The acute effect of 25 and 50 g of alcohol on the variation in serum osteocalcin, a specific and sensitive marker of bone formation, and on serum cortisol and serum parathyroid hormone (PTH)(1-84) was calculated in 6 normal young adults. They were studied during three periods, each lasting from 4 p.m.-7:30 a.m. Alcohol was ingested between 4:15 and 5 p.m. during period two and three. Blood was taken at 4 p.m. and every 15 minutes from 4:30 til 6 p.m., followed by hourly sampling until 12 p.m. The last blood sample was taken after an overnight fast at 7:30 a.m. Initial and end values before and after alcohol ingestion did not differ significantly from control values. Repeated measures analysis of variance showed that 50 g of ethanol decreased serum osteocalcin significantly (P less than 0.02) and increased serum cortisol (P less than 0.05) during the 4-12 p.m. interval. The interaction of 50 g of ethanol on the variation in serum osteocalcin was already significant during the first 2 hours (P less than 0.02), where no significant effect on serum cortisol could be detected. Although insignificant, the same pattern was observed after 25 g of alcohol. There was no significant change in the variation of serum iPTH(1-84) during the 4-6 p.m. after alcohol intake. We conclude that 3-4 drinks of alcohol taken over 45 minutes decreases serum osteocalcin in a dose-dependent way. The time lag between changes in serum osteocalcin and cortisol indicates that the decrease in serum osteocalcin is not related to the increase in serum cortisol.

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