Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hoist a Beer for St. Patty—and Your Bones

If you’re contemplating a heavy Guinness-swigging session in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, hey, now you’ve got a great excuse. Beer is actually good for fending off osteoporosis. And isn’t beer just a little more palatable than osteoporosis drugs like Fosamax and Boniva, with all the side effects? (Naturally, it’s essential to ensure that a DUI isn’t the side-effect of beer therapy).

A study from the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California, Davis, recently found that beer is a great source of silicon with 50 percent bioavailability. And dietary silicon is, according to the National Institute of Health, apparently vital for bone and connective tissue growth, and also for slowing down the thinning of bones. This follows last year’s Tufts University’s epidemiological study of men and post-menopausal women, which found that moderate—emphasis: moderate—alcohol intake was associated with greater bone mineral density. Of course, it’s possible that all the study participants were just getting in extra weight-bearing exercise by walking to the pub, but that’s unlikely given that the study was done here in the US.

However, the news isn’t all good for Guinness drinkers. The study found that the beers with the highest levels of malted barley and hops, like pale ales, are the richest in silicon.


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  2. I wonder if bear bones work as well as beer?