A toast to stronger bones

A new study shows that having a drink now and then might just be the key to preventing osteoporosis.

Oregon State University researchers studied 40 women who were in their early years of menopause. All of the women reported drinking regularly (one or two alcoholic drinks, a few times a week). But the researchers had them stop drinking for two weeks. Then they tested the women’s blood.

They found significant levels of two different markers of bone turnover. A sign their bones were starting to weaken.

Researchers instructed the women to resume their normal drinking habits that evening. The next morning, they tested the women’s blood once again. And believe it or not, the levels of bone turnover markers had gone down.

In other words, their bones had already starting to rebuild.

Of course, like most things, moderation is key here. And I also advise choosing your drink carefully. Beer and wine contain too much sugar. So if you’re going to have a nightcap, make it a real cocktail.

Try an ounce of vodka mixed with club soda, cucumber, and mint. It’s low in sugar but delicious and refreshing–and may just help strengthen your bones.

“Moderate alcohol intake lowers biochemical markers of bone turnover in postmenopausal women,” Menopause 2012; Jul 9 (epub ahead of print)