Moderate alcohol consumption suppresses bone turnover in adult female rats

R. T. Turner, L. S. Kidder, A. Kennedy, G. L. Evans, J. D. Sibonga

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90 Scopus citations


Chronic alcohol abuse is a major risk factor for osteoporosis but the effects of moderate drinking on bone metabolism are largely uninvestigated. Here, we studied the long-term dose-response (0, 3, 6, 13, and 35% caloric intake) effects of alcohol on cancellous bone in the proximal tibia of 8-month-old female rats. After 4 months of treatment, all alcohol-consuming groups of rats had decreased bone turnover. The inhibitory effects of alcohol on bone formation were dose dependent. A reduction in osteoclast number occurred at the lowest level of consumption but there were no further reductions with higher levels of consumption. An imbalance between bone formation and bone resorption at higher levels of consumption of alcohol resulted in trabecular thinning. Our observations in rats raise the concern that moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages in humans may reduce bone turnover and potentially have detrimental effects on the skeleton.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-594
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2001


  • Alcohol abuse
  • Bone formation
  • Bone resorption
  • Rat bone


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