I’m sometimes asked by readers who like to have an occasional alcoholic beverage if there is a “better” choice for their health. Well, a recent study has shown that a glass of cold beer might be one answer.
That’s because beer contains dietary silicon in the soluble form of orthosilicic acid. This important element may be important for the growth and development of bone and connective tissue, according to the National Institutes of Health.
If you do like to have a beer now and then, you may want to choose a variety that has the highest amount of silicon. Here’s what researchers discovered last year after testing one hundred commercial beers purchased at a local grocery store:
• India Pale Ale beers tend to have more silicon because they are traditionally stronger and “hoppier,” containing more silicon-rich malt and hops.
• Wheat-based beers contain less silicon, which seems to be related to the lower levels of silicon in wheat malt. Wheat beers are also produced with much less hops than many others.
• Light lager-style beers are also lower in silicon, likely because corn is used during the brewing process
Before you start celebrating too much, I want to remind you that too much alcohol — of any kind — is toxic to bone and very acid forming. Many studies suggest that more than two standard servings of alcoholic beverage per day can actually increase bone loss and fracture risk.
Casey et al. Silicon in beer and brewing. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, February 2010; DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.3884
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture press release, accessed 12.14.11. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-02/w-rrl020310.php
ASBMR 26th Annual Meeting: Abstract SA330. Presented Oct. 2, 2004.