Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Effect of moderate alcohol consumption on biochemical markers of bone turnover in postmenopausal women

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  • Epidemiological studies have reported that postmenopausal women who consume moderate quantities of alcohol have higher bone mass than non-drinkers. However, the mechanism for the putative bone-sparing effect of alcohol is unknown. Postmenopausal bone loss is due, in part, to increased bone turnover. This study investigated the hypotheses that alcohol slows bone loss by reducing bone turnover. The serum bone formation marker, osteocalcin (OC) and serum bone resorption marker, C-terminal telopeptide (CTx) concentrations in response to alcohol withdrawal for two weeks and acute as well as chronic restoration of alcohol consumption were measured in postmenopausal women who consumed a moderate amount of alcohol (4-14 standard drinks/week on average) the year prior to the beginning of the study. A total of 40 non-osteoporotic postmenopausal women (56.3 + 0.5 years, mean ± SE) completed this study. There was an association between trochanter and total hip BMD and alcohol consumption. Compared to baseline values, serum OC and serum CTx were increased after the 14-day abstinence interval (4.1 + 1.6%; p= 0.008 and 5.8 + 2.6%; p = 0.016, respectively). Following abstinence, participants were administered alcohol and evaluated the following morning (day 15). The participants were re-evaluated for a final time two weeks following restoration of unsupervised alcohol consumption. On day 15 vs. day 14, OC was significantly lower (3.4 + 1.4%; p = 0.01), and CTx showed a similar but borderline significant decrease (3.4 + 2.1%; p=0.05). There was no significant difference found between OC and CTx on day 15 vs. baseline (0.1 + 1.6%; p =0.9 and 1.7 + 3.4%; p=0.56, respectively). CTx increased at the end of the study (day 28) compared to baseline (8.0 + 3.0%; p= 0.02), but there was no significant difference found for OC between baseline and day 28 (14.8 + 7.9%; p=0.06). In conclusion, BMD was positively associated with alcohol consumption, and abstinence from alcohol intake increased markers of bone turnover. These results support the hypotheses that moderate alcohol attenuates bone turnover in early postmenopausal women.
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