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27-04-2010 | Bone health | Article

Moderate alcohol intake does not alter vitamin D metabolism


Meeting website

MedWire News: Modest alcohol intake does not significantly alter vitamin D metabolism or levels in postmenopausal women, US researchers reported this week at the Experimental Biology 2010 meeting in Anaheim, California, USA.

“It looks like low to moderate alcohol consumption, at least over the short term, does not harm bone health,” commented presenting author Somdat Mahabir (National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland).

“Collectively, when all the available published epidemiologic data are considered, it looks like low to moderate alcohol may actually have a beneficial effect,” he said.

Alcoholics have low bone mass and bone formation, leading to an increased risk for fracture, possibly due to alterations in vitamin D metabolism and levels that prevent calcium absorption, explains the research team.

To determine whether a low to moderate intake of alcohol also poses a threat to bone health, the researchers designed a randomized crossover trial to examine the impact of no, low (one 15-g drink/day), or moderate (two 15-g drinks/day) alcohol consumption on 25-dehydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) levels in 51 postmenopausal women.

The researchers also assessed whether levels of 25(OH)D were altered by the presence of 12 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the genes encoding the alcohol metabolising enzymes alcohol dehydrogenase 1B and cytochrome P450 2E1.

Analysis of fasting blood samples taken at baseline, and again 4 and 8 weeks after consuming the set amount of alcohol showed no significant difference in serum 25(OH)D levels.

Furthermore, there was no significant association between serum 25(OH)D levels and carriage of the SNPs.

“The data indicate that low to moderate alcohol consumption for 8 weeks had no significant impact on serum 25(OH)D concentrations among postmenopausal women in a tightly controlled feeding study,” Mahabir et al therefore conclude.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Lynda Williams

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