Is Beer Good for Your Bones?

For years, we have been hearing that wine is good for the heart. Now, research suggests there may be a body benefit for beer lovers, too.

Turns out beer has a secret. It's a good dietary source of silicon, a chemical that's important for bone health and development.

Strength from Silicon
The news is no reason to run out and buy a six-pack if you aren't a beer drinker. And if you are a beer drinker, that's no reason to go above and beyond moderation when it comes to imbibing. But for those who enjoy the occasional brew, it's good to know that in a study that tested the silicon content of a hundred different commercial beers purchased from grocery stores, most contained between 6 and 57 milligrams of silicon per liter. And the ones with the most hops and malted barley scored highest.

More Foods Bones Love
Silicon stimulates collagen production -- an important protein that makes bones strong and joint cartilage flexible. And research suggests that people with higher intakes of silicon tend to have better bone-mineral density. Most people get between 20 and 50 milligrams of silicon per day from their diets. And although beer has a more bioavailable form, it's also found in certain foods, like bananas.

Brew Ha Ha
Not a drinker? No problem. Alcohol consumption comes with risks and benefits, so abstaining can be a smart choice as well. Find out what types of exercise help build bone density.

Alcohol & Health

Alcohol & Health

Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol daily, such as two 12-ounce beers or two 5-ounce glasses of wine, offers some health benefits, especially for the heart. It can reduce your risk of developing heart disease and peripheral vascu...

lar disease, lowers your risk of developing gallstones, and possibly reduces your risk of stroke and diabetes. Anything more than moderate drinking can lead to serious health problems, however, including strokes; pancreatitis; cancer of the liver, pancreas, mouth, larynx or esophagus; heart-muscle damage; high blood pressure; and cirrhosis of the liver.