, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 173-178

Alcohol decreases serum osteocalcin in a dose-dependent way in normal subjects

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The acute effect of 25 and 50 g of alcohol on the variation in serum osteocalcin, a specific and sensitive marker of bone formation, and on serum cortisol and serum parathyroid hormone (PTH)(1–84) was calculated in 6 normal young adults. They were studied during three periods, each lasting from 4 p.m.–7:30 a.m. Alcohol was ingested between 4:15 and 5 p.m. during period two and three. Blood was taken at 4 p.m. and every 15 minutes from 4:30 til 6 p.m., followed by hourly sampling until 12 p.m. The last blood sample was taken after an overnight fast at 7:30 a.m. Initial and end values before and after alcohol ingestion did not differ significantly from control values. Repeated measures analysis of variance showed that 50 g of ethanol decreased serum osteocalcin significantly (P<0.02) and increased serum cortisol (P<0.05) during the 4–12 p.m. interval. The interaction of 50 g of ethanol on the variation in serum osteocalcin was already significant during the first 2 hours (P<0.02), where no significant effect on serum cortisol could be detected. Although insignificant, the same pattern was observed after 25 g of alcohol. There was no significant change in the variation of serum iPTH(1–84) during the 4–6 p.m. after alcohol intake. We conclude that 3–4 drinks of alcohol taken over 45 minutes decreases serum osteocalcin in a dose-dependent way. The time lag between changes in serum osteocalcin and cortisol indicates that the decrease in serum osteocalcin is not related to the increase in serum cortisol.