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Want to Keep Your Bones Strong? Drink a Beer

Good news for beer drinkers; the hoppy beverage may actually be good for your bone health.

Researchers from the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California recently analyzed 100 commercial beers and found high levels of dietary silicon, an key ingredient for bone health.

The researchers published their findings in the February 2010 issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

The silicon content of the beers ranged from 6.4 mg/L to 56.5 mg/L. While there are no official daily recommendations for silicon intake in the US, the researchers say most Americans only get between 20- 50 mg daily.

The researchers found that the type of beer you drink has a significant effect on the silicon you will get. The averages for some common beers were:

India Pale Ale (IPA): 41.2 mg/L
Ales: 32.8 mg/L
Pale Ale: 36.5 mg/L
Sorghum: 27.3 mg/L
Lagers: 23.7 mg/L
Wheat: 18.9 mg/L
Light lagers: 17.2 mg/L
Non Alcoholic: 16.3 mg/L

A liter of beer is the equivalent of two beers, so it is possible to get upwards of 35mg daily from drinking two beers.

Beers with the most hops had much higher levels of silicon and pale colored beers beat out darker products.

The researchers noted that these findings support prior research that has linked moderate beer consumption with health benefits. One study published in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that moderate beer drinkers have an average life expectancy 2.5 years longer than non-drinkers.

However, they also note that drinking more than 1-2 beers can quickly negate any potential benefits.

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