Today I learned that new studies show that a glass or two of wine a day builds bone, and as a small, fair female, that is important to me. I obviously have not been drinking enough wine. Many of my readers know that I spent the biggest part of my adult working life in the wine industry. I put on many, many wine tastings for individuals and groups. I worked as a sales manger for a wine brokerage, taught wait staffs, was a wine manager for Oklahoma’s largest liquor store, and I owned a wine and liquor wholesale operation. I’ve traveled much of the world’s wine areas (alas, never made it to Australia). I love wine. I’m not a wine snob, but I love good wine – not meaning expensive wine, but wine that has good fruit, good acidity, and a nice finish. So about that study (and it is a small study):
A new study shows drinking a couple glasses of wine each day boosts bone health in women going through menopause. This is an interesting contrast to previous studies which show alcohol abuse contributes to bone loss.
Menopause and bone health
As women enter menopause estrogen levels decline. This leads to a number of side effects including hot flashes, memory problems, fatigue, loss of bone density, and other physical symptoms. Some doctors recommend estrogen treatments to help prevent bone loss, but in this study published in the journal Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society, the women participating were not on hormone replacement therapy.
Study shows wine boosts bone health
While the results of this study may be news to some, it isn’t a surprise in the research community. Past research including the Framingham Heart Study, have suggested moderate drinkers consistently show higher bone density when compared to heavy drinkers or people who don’t drink at all. The results of this study seem to confirm these findings.
Caution: if your GrandMom thinks Mogen David 20/20 is a good option for their bones quash that thought immediately. I had an Aunt, bless her, who was told to drink a small portion of wine every night to help her sleep. A liquor store owner near her house called me one day to tell me she was buying way too much Mogen David, which is 20% 18% alcohol – and it’s sweet – very sweet.
This study is recommending dinner wines, generally 10% – 14% alcohol. Dinner wines are generally not sweet. Wine is a food product – or hit the main drag in Napa and you’ll hear, “wine is food.” For many, many years we have known that alcohol, whether wine or a gin and tonic, dilates the arteries and unknown numbers of strokes and heart attacks have NOT happened, due to that evening drink, with or without dinner.
Drinking too much is another subject. Many people in my industry were alcoholics. They “sampled” with customers – a definite danger in the business, and they couldn’t handle it. That was and is not a problem for me. I’m grateful for it. So, while hubby and I have a glass or two (about 4 or 5 ounces each – no more) a couple of times a week (on Thursday late afternoon, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere), maybe my bones will become stronger with one drink each evening. I don’t know.
In general, we have been told that while alcohol is good for heart health, it is not good for bones, but take a look at this:
Researchers drew blood from participants at the beginning of the study so they could determine the levels of indicators related to bone turnover. Once these initial findings were recorded, participants were asked to abstain from drinking alcohol for two weeks. After the two weeks, blood samples were drawn again and findings compared. The results showed bone removal had increased.
The night following the two weeks of abstention, researchers gave the women specific amounts of alcohol to drink (based on their average intake). The following morning they returned to have their blood tested. The results showed a rapid reduction in bone turnover. Read the entire story at The Examiner.
How exciting it will be if this study is proven to be accurate. The thing is: if you cannot stop at two glasses of wine – climb back on the stairclimber, because building bone with wine isn’t a good idea for you.
A conversation about wine is never complete without some chat about who is drinking what. Hubby and I generally drink Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays. Our go-to favorites both have good quality Cabernet and Chardonnay characteristics. Right now, we like Bogle Vineyards and Chateau Ste. Michelle. Bogel is a California appellation, not specifically Napa, Sonoma or Central Coast, and not one of their specific vineyards. It’s less expensive – about $11 here in Oklahoma. Chateau Ste. Michelle is a Washington State wine and while they have numerous appellations and specific vineyards, we buy the Columbia Valley. Ste. Michelle is more expensive than the Bogel, but still affordable (and so luscious), and both are admirable examples of their grape varietals.
But many evenings (beginning on Thursday – Saturday) we unscrew the cap on a bottle of Black Opal Cabernet Sauvignon (Australia) and for about $8, it is delicious (not so crazy about the Black Opal Chard). (Disclaimer: I am not an ‘affiliate’ of either winery. If you click the links to visit their sites, I receive no credit).