Drinking Red Wine Helps Boost Spine Bone Density, Study

First Posted: Oct 17, 2014 06:27 AM EDT

Red wine, promoted for years for its health benefits, is known to increase the spinal bone density in men with metabolic syndrome.

Red wine is long celebrated by wine connoisseurs for its several health benefits that include boosting heart health, longevity and blood circulation.

Adding to the benefits, the latest study led by researchers at Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark, states that the natural compound resveratrol helps boost the spinal bone density in men with metabolic syndrome and this could lead to a novel treatment for osteoporosis.

Resveratrol is one of the groups of plant compounds - polyphenols. It is resveratrol in red wine that makes it healthy for the heart. This compound is largely present in the skin of red grapes. It is considered to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects on humans. Apart from red wine and grapes, resveratrol is present in nuts too.

In the current study, the Danish researchers examined if resveratrol helps men with metabolic syndrome, which has been tied to low-grade inflammation that leads to bone loss.

Metabolic syndrome is the name given to a cluster of risk factors that increases the risk for heart disease and other health conditions like diabetes, stroke and heart diseases. The risk factors for this condition includes high blood pressure, high fasting blood sugar, high levels of fats in the blood called triglycerides, abdominal obesity and reduced high-density lipoprotein or good, cholesterol levels.

"Our study is the first to reveal resveratrol's potential as an anti-osteoporosis drug in humans," said one of the study's authors, Marie Juul Ørnstrup, MD, of Aarhus University Hospital in Aarhus, Denmark. "Our findings suggest the compound stimulates bone-forming cells within the body."

The randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial assessed bone mineral density and signs of bone formation and resorption in 66 middle-aged men with metabolic syndrome. For this study, the men were made to take either 500 milligram dose of resveratrol or a placebo for 16 weeks period twice a day.

They observed that those who took higher dose of resveratrol had a 2.6 percent rise in lumbar spine volumetric bone mineral density as compared to those who took placebo.

"In just four months on high-dose resveratrol, we saw significant improvements in bone mineral density at the spine and elevated levels of the bone formation marker BAP," Ørnstrup said. "These are encouraging results. Additional research is needed to assess whether these bone protective effects occur in populations at risk of osteoporosis during the course of long-term treatment."

The study was published in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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