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Drink red wine, become denser – in a good way

New research suggests resveratrol may have potential as a weapon against osteoporosis.

Red wine may make you denser, but not in the way you think.

A recent study suggests that resveratrol, the compound found in red wine, grapes and nuts, may increase bone density in men with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome’s been linked with low-grade inflammation that can cause bone loss.

The study appears in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Researchers at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark recruited 66 middle-aged men with metabolic syndrome for the randomized, double-blind study. Subjects were either prescribed a 500-milligram dose of resveratrol, a 75-milligram dose of resveratrol or a placebo twice a day for 16 weeks. Researchers measured their mineral density, bone formation and resorption before and after the supplementation.

"In just four months on high-dose resveratrol, we saw significant improvements in bone mineral density at the spine and elevated levels of the bone formation marker BAP," Dr. Marie Juul Ørnstrup, lead researcher, said in a statement from the university.

"Our study is the first to reveal resveratrol's potential as an anti-osteoporosis drug in humans," Ørnstrup  said in the statement. "Our findings suggest the compound stimulates bone-forming cells within the body.

"These are encouraging results. Additional research is needed to assess whether these bone protective effects occur in populations at risk of osteoporosis during the course of long-term treatment," she added.

In the United States alone, 10 million people have osteoporosis, and 18 million more are at risk of developing the disease, according to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Debate raged earlier this year about research published in the JAMA Internal Medicine about resveratrol, health and longevity.

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