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Study links heavy alcohol use to muscle loss


Photo: JoeChristensen/iStockphoto

Heavy drinkers may be at increased risk for muscle loss and frailty as they age, results of a recent study out of England suggest.

Researchers looked at UK Biobank data for more than 12,000 people between the ages of 37 and 73. When studying the participants’ muscle mass and alcohol intake, the researchers took into account other factors such as body size, protein consumption and physical activity.

The participants with the lowest amounts of muscle mass drank, on average, a bottle of wine each day, or about 4 to 5 pints of beer.

“We know that losing muscle as we age leads to problems with weakness and frailty,” study co-author Ailsa Welch, a professor in the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School, said in a press release, “so this suggests another reason to avoid drinking high amounts of alcohol routinely in middle and early older age.”

The study was published online in the journal Calcified Tissue International.

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