Got Beer? It's Good for the Bones
Mar 17, 2004 - Another study has concluded that moderate beer consumption may have even more health benefits, this time by preventing osteoporosis through the bioavailability of silicon rooted in the beverage. The study was widely reported in the mainstream media last week after the findings were released.
Based on previous research that suggests beer probably contains high levels of bioavailable silicon, scientists at the University of London in the UK investigated the range of beer-silicon levels and the extent of absorption in humans. The study encompassed 76 different beers, consumed by a sample group of nine men and eight women, with a mean age of 25 years. Silicon content of the beers ranged from 9mg to 39mg per liter, with no strong correlation between beer type and amount of silicon. The results showed that the subjects' blood and urinary silicon levels increased considerably following the ingestion of beer. The results could have some potential significance for those prone to osteoporosis; the World Health Organization has defined osteoporosis, a disease where bone is lost more rapidly than it is replaced which can lead to a predisposition to fractures, as the second leading health care problem after cardiovascular disease. Another UK study found a strong relationship between the intake of dietary silicon and bone mineral density in the hip sites of men and pre- menopausal women. Other studies have shown potential benefits of moderate beer consumption as well, such as the recent report from Japanese researchers that some of the components in beer appear to protect against development of colon cancer.