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New Study Finds Beer Helps Increase Bone Density

Which is good news for skiers who need an excuse to head to après.
posted: 02/16/2010
by Jessica Higgins

Après might need a new saying: “Bone up to the bar.” Skiers can raise their pints to the findings of a new study suggesting that beer is a significant source of dietary silicon, a key ingredient for increasing bone mineral density. Researchers from the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California, Davis, studied commercial beer production to determine the relationship between beer production methods and the resulting silicon content, concluding that beer is a rich source of dietary silicon.

Based on these findings, this study suggests that moderate (read: not 10 beers, maybe two) beer consumption may help fight osteoporosis, and is also obviously good news for skiers who wish to keep bone density high to prevent injury fractures and breaks. The beer type with the highest silicon level was India Pale Ale, with an average of 41.2 mg/L. Bottoms up.

"Beers containing high levels of malted barley and hops are richest in silicon," concluded Dr. Charles Bamforth, lead author of the study. "Wheat contains less silicon than barley because it is the husk of the barley that is rich in this element. While most of the silicon remains in the husk during brewing, significant quantities of silicon nonetheless are extracted into wort and much of this survives into beer."

Details of this study are available in the February issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Society of Chemical Industry. Article: "Silicon in Beer and Brewing."

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