Date PostedOctober 31, 2013

Binge Drinking Bad for Bone Healing

The link between alcohol consumption and bone strength and regeneration has been established by numerous studies. Moderate drinking has now been hailed as the solution to weak bones in post-menapausal women who often suffer from osteoporosis and other bones diseases.

A healthy diet, together with good and regular exercise when combined with moderate alcohol intake is said to increase the bone turnover and result in strengthened bones.A recent study assessed the effects of alcohol withdrawal on bone turnover in postmenopausal women who drank one or two drinks per day several times a week. But this doesn’t mean that drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is also going to be good for the bones – the key is moderation.

We all know that binge drinking is bad for us, but now research has emerged which proves that alcohol abuse will actually stop your broken bones from healing.

Researchers at the Loyola University Medical Centre in The United States have found that binge drinking can impair the ability of bones to repair themselves after a fracture.

This is ironic because people who are injured and in pain normally use alcohol to soothe the pain but this can in fact delay the process of healing.

The following excerpt from a post on explains:

Close up of male with broken leg walking on crutches in hospital.   AEB3KWIt’s not uncommon for injury victims to hit the bottle to try to ease their pain but doing so only delays the healing process.

Binge-drinking can significantly impair the ability of our bones to repair after a fracture, researchers found.

Experts hope the findings can be used to devise treatments for both alcohol abusers and non-drinkers who suffer breaks.

‘Many bone fractures are alcohol-related, due to car accidents, falls and shooting incidents,’ said Dr Roman Natoli, of the Loyola University Medical Center in the US.

‘In addition to contributing to bone fractures, alcohol also impairs the healing process.

‘So add that to the list of reasons why you should not abuse alcohol.’


The research entailed giving a group of mice alcohol equivalent to 3 times the drink-drive limit and researchers discovered that this inhibited their bone regeneration. There were 3 ways which bone growth was hampered, the main one was found in the callus, which is the hard tissue that forms around the end of fractures.  This hard tissue or callus was less mineralised in those mice who were exposed to alcohol. This resulted in less bone formation and the bone that was formed wasn’t as strong as it was in mice that weren’t given alcohol.

The article went on to explain,

The alcohol-exposed group also had higher levels of oxidative stress, which prevents cells functioning normally, and also a reduced presence of the protein OPN, which recruits stem cells to the injury site.

Dr Natoli said he would follow up the research presented to the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in Baltimore with a study on two potential treatments to reverse the effect of alcohol on bone healing.


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Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning, OH&S training, and web strategy firm based in Little Edward St. Spring Hill, Brisbane, Australia. Urban E-Learning provides compliance related online , Distance and Face-to-Face training products in the construction, hospitality and heavy vehicle transport sectors, to name a few. Examples include the White Card Construction induction course and the RSA - Responsible Service of Alcohol course. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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