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Findings for middle- and older-aged men and women.

Higher levels of alcohol consumption could have detrimental effects on muscle mass in middle- and older-aged men and women, according to a study published online May 25 in Calcified Tissue International.

Jane Skinner, Ph.D., from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, and colleagues assessed the relationship between a full range of alcohol consumption and components of sarcopenic risk (skeletal muscle mass and function) in middle-aged and younger older-aged men and women. Analysis included 196,561 White participants from the U.K. Biobank (12,298 participants with four-year longitudinal data).

The researchers found that modelled values of the muscle mass measures all showed a peak at medium levels of alcohol consumption and a steep decline with increasing alcohol consumption. From zero consumption of alcohol to 160 g/day, modelled differences in muscle mass ranged from 3.6 to 4.9 percent for appendicular lean mass/body mass index for men and women, respectively, and 3.6 to 6.1 percent for fat-free mass as a percentage of body weight. There was a consistent increase seen in grip strength with alcohol consumption. In longitudinal data, there was no association observed between alcohol consumption and muscle measures.

“We know that losing muscle as we age leads to problems with weakness and frailty, so this suggests another reason to avoid drinking high amounts of alcohol routinely in middle and early older age,” a coauthor said in a statement.

Abstract/Full Text

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