Alcohol and bone

Wien Med Wochenschr. 2014 Jan;164(1-2):15-24. doi: 10.1007/s10354-013-0258-5. Epub 2014 Jan 30.


Alcohol is widely consumed across the world in different cultural and social settings. Types of alcohol consumption differ between (a) light, only occasional consumption, (b) heavy chronic alcohol consumption, and (c) binge drinking as seen as a new pattern of alcohol consumption among teenagers and young adults. Heavy alcohol consumption is detrimental to many organs and tissues, including bones. Osteoporosis is regularly mentioned as a secondary consequence of alcoholism, and chronic alcohol abuse is established as an independent risk factor for osteoporosis. The review will present the different mechanisms and effects of alcohol intake on bone mass, bone metabolism, and bone strength, including alcoholism-related "life-style factors" such as malnutrition, lack of exercise, and hormonal changes as additional causative factors, which also contribute to the development of osteoporosis due to alcohol abuse.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol-Induced Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Alcohol-Induced Disorders / physiopathology
  • Alcohol-Induced Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Animals
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Bone Regeneration / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Ethanol / toxicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Osteoporosis / diagnosis*
  • Osteoporosis / physiopathology
  • Osteoporosis / rehabilitation*
  • Rats
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Temperance


  • Ethanol