Alcohol can interfere with the absorption of calcium in the bones.
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Drinking alcohol affects the health of your body, this includes bone health. Prolonged and excessive alcohol consumption can make you suffer from osteoporosis, as it leads to less dense bones and an increased risk of fractures.
The National Resource Center on Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) notes that Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to the highest risk of fractures, including the most serious, which is hip fracture. It is also indicated that vertebral fractures are more common in chronic drinkers.
Osteoporosis is described as a silent disease because it can progress for many years without symptoms until a fracture occurs, which can cause significant pain and disability.
How does alcohol damage bones?
There are a number of ways that excess alcohol affects bone health. The alcohol interferes with vitamin D production, a vitamin that is necessary for the absorption of calcium.
Alcohol consumption too can affect hormone production involved in bone health, such as testosterone, estrogen and cortisol.
The NIH explains that men with alcoholism produce less testosterone which is related to the production of cells that stimulate bone formation. Alcohol abuse in women can lower estrogen levels and increase the risk of osteoporosis. In men and women with alcoholism the levels of Cortisol can be elevated, which also contributes to bone breakdown.
Finally, alcohol consumption affects balance and causes difficulty walking, which makes the drinker prone to more falls than a sober person. Also, weak bones are easier to break.
Refraining from alcohol can help partially restore bone loss. Another important way to promote bone health is with a healthy and balanced diet that provides essential nutrients for bones, among them is calcium and vitamin D.
It is important to get enough calcium from the foods we eat since the body cannot make its own calcium. The National Osteoporosis Foundation explains that every day we lose calcium through our skin, nails, hair, sweat, urine, and feces. The problem is that “when we don’t get the calcium that our body needs, it is extracted by our bones.”
Alcohol is not the only thing that can weaken your bones. There are also other foods and drinks that can decrease the absorption of calcium and cause the body to lose more than it should. Among these foods are those that are rich in salt.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.