HealthDay News — Greater alcohol consumption is associated with lower serum levels of bone formation markers among patients living with HIV and substance use disorder, according to a study published online March 2 in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Theresa W. Kim, MD, from Boston University, and colleagues used data from 198 patients (median age, 50 years) seen at 2 HIV clinics who met diagnostic criteria for substance dependence or reported ever-injection drug use. The association between alcohol and bone turnover markers was evaluated.

The researchers reported that 13% of participants had ≥20 drinking days/month, with a mean of 1.93 drinks/day. Mean serum procollagen type 1 N-terminal propeptide (P1NP) was 73.1 ng/mL, and mean serum C-telopeptide type 1 collagen (CTx) was 0.36 ng/mL. There was a significant association between higher drinks/day and lower P1NP (slope −1.09 ng/mL per each additional drink). Patients who drank on ≥20 days/month had lower P1NP (−15.45 ng/mL) on average vs those who did not. Similarly, there was an association seen between phosphatidylethanol level ≥8 ng/mL and lower P1NP. An increase in drinks/day was associated with a nonsignificant decrease in P1NP. There were no significant associations for either alcohol measure with CTx.

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“If I were counseling a patient who was concerned about their bone health, besides checking vitamin D and recommending exercise, I would caution them about alcohol use, given that alcohol intake is a modifiable risk factor and osteoporosis can lead to fracture and functional decline,” Kim said in a statement.

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