Alcohol dependence induces low bone mineral density (BMD), predicting osteoporosis, while low and moderate alcohol consumption may even increase BMD. In recent years, undercarboxylated osteocalcin (ucOC) and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase-5b (TRACP-5b), bone turnover markers, have gained special interest as useful indicators of low BMD. However, it remains unclear whether other alcohol-related variables (eg, duration of abstinence and continuous drinking) are linked to aberrant BMD. In addition, no previous study has investigated whether ucOC or TRACP-5b is clinically useful to predict low BMD not only in the general population, but also in alcohol-dependent subjects.
We recruited 275 male alcohol-dependent subjects and collected information about their drinking habits, comorbid diseases, smoking history and walking exercise behavior. BMD in each subject was determined by ultrasonography. Serum liver enzymes (AST, ALT, ALP, ChE, γ-GTP and LDH), ucOC and TRACP-5b were measured in all subjects. T-scores were calculated according to BMD for all subjects.
The mean T-scores of our subjects were negatively shifted compared to the general population (-0.75±1.36 SD). We divided our subjects into a normal BMD group (n=137) and a low BMD group (n=138) according to their T-scores (T-score ≥-1 SD, normal BMD; T-score <-1 SD, low BMD). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that body mass index (BMI) was negatively associated with low BMD (95% CI: 0.75-0.90). By contrast, long abstinence period (95% CI: 1.40-4.21), smoking (95% CI: 1.30-5.56), hypertension (95% CI: 1.04-3.76), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) (95% CI: 1.00-1.01) and ucOC (95% CI: 1.04-1.22) were positively associated with low BMD.
In alcohol-dependent males, smoking habits and higher ucOC are associated with low BMD. Our study suggests that smoking cessation may prevent lower BMD, and ucOC may predict lower BMD in alcohol-dependent individuals.