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Drinking alcohol in young people can damage bones


Alcohol consumption could affect bone growth in young people

It has long been known that high alcohol consumption can harm health. A study by Austrian researchers has now shown that alcohol consumption can also influence the bone formation of young people and thus have long-term consequences.

High alcohol consumption endangers health

Regular alcohol consumption affects muscle performance, damages nerves and organs and promotes the development of overweight or obesity as well as mental disorders and cancer. Doctors also point out that drinking too much increases the risk of fatty liver and gastritis. It also increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks. And those who drink alcohol regularly and for a long time are not doing their bones any good either. This has now been shown in an Austrian study.

Effects of binge drinking

If you want to prevent osteoporosis, you should better hold back on beer, wine and schnapps. After all, alcohol addiction has been shown to be a risk factor for osteoporosis.

The bone mass breaks down and the metabolism of the bone deteriorates overall.

A pilot study funded by the Science Fund FWF, which was carried out at the Medical University of Vienna, now suggests that excessive alcohol drinking, so-called coma drinking, also has a negative effect on bone tissue even in adolescents.

Anyone who drinks regularly and excessively in youth could sustainably damage their bones, even before the peak of bone formation has reached the age of around 20, according to a contribution from scilog - the magazine of the Science Fund FWF.

Alcohol reduces bone growth

At the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, the cooperation partner of the study, young pigs were given an alcohol-apple juice mixture twice a week for drinking over a period of two months.

The animals in a control group received only apple juice. At various times, a team of scientists led by project manager Peter Pietschmann initially took serum samples and certain different markers of bone and muscle metabolism.

In a further step, the bones were examined two months after the start of alcohol administration. The researchers found changes in the bone caused by alcohol.

"Our results suggest that new bone formation processes decrease," Peter Pietschmann told scilog in an interview.

For this purpose, the team took bone samples from fragile parts of the body, which were examined both microscopically and by means of micro-computed tomography in order to analyze the bone structure, remodeling processes and the number of bone cells.

The team also performed blood tests and histological examinations at the Institute for Pathophysiology and Allergy Research (IPA) at the Medical University of Vienna.

In addition to the changes in the bones, the blood samples showed reduced phosphorus and calcium levels, as is also typical for changes in alcohol consumption in humans.

Long-term consequences of drinking comrade

Based on these results, Pietschmann suspects that coma drinking has long-term effects on the function of the bones in humans.

"If our hypothesis that the bone formation is reduced by drinking continues to be true, it means that the young people who have this problem cannot build up their bone mass as much as would normally be the case," said the expert.

As a result, the risk of developing osteoporosis at a later age could be increased. (ad)

Author and source information

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