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Beverage-specific alcohol intake and bone loss in older men and women: a longitudinal study



There is inconsistent evidence regarding the association between moderate alcohol consumption and bone mineral density (BMD). The aim of this study was to describe the associations between total and beverage-specific alcohol intake and bone loss in older men and women.


A total of 862 randomly selected subjects (mean age 63 years, range 51–81, 51% men) were studied at baseline and 2 years later. BMD was assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Beverage specific and total alcohol intake was assessed by food-frequency questionnaire. Falls risk was determined using the short form Physiological Profile Assessment. Incident fractures were ascertained by questionnaire.


Total alcohol intake in men positively predicted change in BMD at the lumbar spine and hip (β=0.008% and 0.006% per year per gram, P<0.05) after adjustment for confounders, but there was no significant association between alcohol intake and change in BMD in women. Lumbar spine BMD at baseline was negatively associated with frequency of spirits/liquor drinking in men (β=−0.01 g/cm2 per category, P=0.045) and was positively associated with frequency of beer drinking (low alcohol) in women (β=0.034 g/cm2 per category, P=0.002). Change in lumbar spine BMD was positively associated with the frequency of red wine drinking in men (β=0.08% per year per class, P=0.046). Neither beverage-specific nor total alcohol intake was associated with falls risk or fracture.


Alcohol intake especially red wine might prevent bone loss in older men but not women, whereas low-alcohol beer may be protective in women and spirits/liquor may be deleterious in men.

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This work was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, Tasmanian Government and Royal Hobart Hospital Acute Care Program.

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Correspondence to J Yin.

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Yin, J., Winzenberg, T., Quinn, S. et al. Beverage-specific alcohol intake and bone loss in older men and women: a longitudinal study. Eur J Clin Nutr 65, 526–532 (2011).

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  • bone mineral density
  • ethanol
  • alcoholic beverages
  • longitudinal studies

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