Bone Metabolism

The observations of increased fractures sustained by alcoholics has prompted investigations about the role alcohol may play in disturbances of the structure and mechanical properties of bone. Some studies have shown reduced bone mass in alcoholics, while others have reported decreases in compact and trabecular bone mass—a condition called osteoporosis. Some of these disturbances in new bone formation may be mediated by alcohol's impairment of calcium and Vitamin D metabolism, both of which are crucial to bone metabolism. Nevertheless, there does remain considerable doubt as to whether the bone complications are due to alcohol itself or due to alcohol-related liver disease, to malnutrition, or to a potential host of other factors. Chronic liver disease unrelated to alcohol has also been a cause of osteoporosis and other bone diseases.

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