Abstinence from alcohol plus physical exercise can help reclaim bone loss due to alcoholism
Alcoholism is known to cause osteoporosis, or reduced bone mineral density (BMD). New findings indicate that as little as eight weeks of abstinence can initiate correction of an imbalance between bone formation and resorption due to alcohol's toxic effects. Physical activity can also serve as a protective factor against reduced BMD.
Osteoporosis, or reduced bone mineral density (BMD), is defined by an absolute decrease in total bone mass, caused mostly by an imbalance between osteoclastic bone resorption and osteoblastic bone formation. Reduced BMD often co-occurs with alcoholism. A study of the passage of bone formation and resorption in abstinent alcoholics has found that eight weeks of abstinence may be enough to initiate a healthier balance between the two.
Results will be published in the December 2012 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.
"There are many reasons why alcoholics may develop reduced BMD: lack of physical activity, liver disease, and a suspected direct toxic effect of alcohol on bone-building cells," explained Peter Malik, a senior scientist and physician at the Medical University Innsbruck, Austria as well as corresponding author for the study. "A reduced BMD carries an increased risk of fractures with all the consequences; osteoporotic fractures also put an enormous financial burden on health care systems due to high rehabilitation costs."
"This study contributes to our understanding of various deteriorating effects of long-term consumption of high amounts of alcohol on the human body," commented Sergei Mechtcheriakov, associate professor of psychiatry at the Medical University Innsbruck, Austria. "We can see that even bone tissue which is often – and wrongly – perceived as inert, can be affected by alcoholism. It would seem that a combination of direct toxic effects of alcohol and its metabolites on bone tissue turnover as well as life style factors, such as low physical activity, may play a significant role."
Malik and his collegues examined BMD in 53 male abstinent patients, 21 to 50 years of age, at an alcohol rehabilitation clinic. Blood work was drawn for various measures at baseline and after eight weeks of treatment. Study authors also used x-rays to determine BMD in the lumbar spine and the proximal right femur, as well as a questionnaire to determine levels of physical activity prior to inpatient treatment.
"We found that BMD is reduced in alcoholic men without liver disease," said Malik. "However, the initial imbalance between bone formation and resorption seems to straighten out during abstinence. This means that an increased fracture risk could be reduced during abstinence if no manifest osteoporosis is already present. In addition, regular physical exercise seems to be 'bone-protective' in alcoholic patients, likely due to the fact that a dynamic strain on bone through physical activity increases the rate of bone formation and resorption, which is good for bone density."
"This study supports the view that recovery treatment programs should contain long-term moderate physical activity regimes," said Mechtcheriakov, "which treatment programs generally do. But the study also suggests that deficits in the musculoskeletal system, such as BMD reduction or muscular atrophy, should be taken into account during the rehabilitation. The study shows that during the first weeks of abstinence the bone metabolism is slowly improving but not fully recovered. Recovery after long-term alcoholism takes months and probably years. We need better understanding of these processes in order to be able to conceive better rehabilitation programs."
Based on these findings, Malik recommended that patients with a longer history of alcohol abuse or dependence undergo dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, a measurement of BMD, especially when other risk factors such as co-medication or smoking are present.
Mechtcheriakov added that even though a full recovery may take months or even years, it is important to remember that it is possible with abstinence.
"This is probably true for many other alcohol-associated diseases," Mechtcheriakov said. "It pays to stop drinking or at least reduce alcohol consumption to the low-risk levels recommended by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. We need a better scientific understanding of the multiple consequences of alcoholism and its associated long-term recovery processes. The latter aspect has been underestimated in alcohol research for decades. This applies also to alcohol-associated neuronal sensibility disorder, motor coordination deficits, muscular atrophy, and bone metabolism. The application of scientifically based methods to support and stimulate long-term recovery processes in post-withdrawal alcoholics can dramatically improve quality of life and rehabilitation success for this large group of patients."
Journal reference: Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research
Provided by Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research
- Mechanisms for a beneficial effect of moderate alcohol consumption on osteoporosis in women Aug 02, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Increase in physical activity in men optimizes peak bone mass May 21, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Low bone mineral density common in children and teenagers with inflammatory bowel disease Aug 23, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Moderate alcohol intake associated with bone protection Mar 03, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Use of nitrates may increase bone strength Feb 22, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Solvability of a circuit
3 hours ago Let's say I have a circuit consisting only of a finite number of batteries and resistors, all ideal. Given an arbitrary shape of this circuit, will I...
Question about perception of colors around light sources
6 hours ago When I look at a distant light source (like car headlights, or street lamp lights) I notice colors of the visible spectrum (as separated (as in after...
Does a charged particle rotate when traveling through a static Bf?
8 hours ago I have been looking at mass spectrometers, in particular the interactions between the Bf ind of a charged particle in motion in a static Bf of the...
Find a link between physics and assignment problems
9 hours ago Hi ! I've been working about assignments problems and how to solve them. I will have to do a presentation about it in few weeks. However, I'll...
Light as a source of electricity
9 hours ago Hello Dear Fellows! We all know that light is an electromagnetic wave and also we know that an antenna receives EM waves and...
A question about the energy stored in a capacitor.
10 hours ago If we imagine a simple circuit with a battery and a capacitor with negligible internal resistance, the capacitor is charged up to a point where the...
- More from Physics Forums - Classical Physics
More news stories
In order to avoid exposing vulnerable groups such as children and young adults to alcohol advertising, industry groups have developed their own self-regulation guidelines. However, these guidelines have been criticized for ...
Addiction May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
In order to avoid harms associated with alcohol consumption, in 2009 the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism issued guidelines that define low-risk drinking. These guidelines differ for men and women: no more ...
Addiction May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Treatment for alcohol use disorders works best if the patient actively understands and incorporates the interventions provided in the clinic. Multiple factors can influence both the type and degree of neurocognitive abnormalities ...
Addiction May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Researchers from Moffitt Cancer Center and the University of South Florida have evaluated how Florida health care and social service agencies distribute "Libres para Siempre", a Spanish smoking relapse prevention booklet ...
Addiction May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Declines in smoking among youths were observed from the late 1990s. "However, limited information exists on trends in smokeless ...
Addiction May 14, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have identified a potential new risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea: asthma. Using data from the National Institutes of Health (Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)-funded Wisconsin ...
9 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
In their quest to learn more about the variability of cells between and within tissues, biomedical scientists have devised tools capable of simultaneously measuring dozens of characteristics of individual ...
10 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have turned their view of osteoarthritis (OA) inside out. Literally. Instead of seeing the painful degenerative disease as a problem primarily of the cartilage that cushions joints, ...
10 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (4) | 0 |
A new study looking at sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and markers for Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and neuroimaging adds to the growing body of research linking the two.
9 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
The hunt for an HIV vaccine has gobbled up $8 billion in the past decade, and the failure of the most recent efficacy trial has delivered yet another setback to 26 years of efforts.
13 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Gourmands and foodies everywhere have long recognized ginger as a great way to add a little peppery zing to both sweet and savory dishes; now, a study from researchers at Columbia University shows purified components of the ...
9 hours ago | not rated yet | 0