Although Reuters only recently wrote about this new study, Moderate Drinking May Help Build Bone Density, it’s based on a study published in February in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. According to the journal abstract:
Goal: Our aim was to determine the association between intake of total alcohol or individual alcoholic beverages and bone mineral density.
Design: Adjusting for potential confounding factors, we examined alcohol intakes and BMD at 3 hip sites and the lumbar spine in 1182 men and in 1289 postmenopausal and 248 premenopausal women in the population-based Framingham Offspring cohort (age: 29–86 yrs.).
Results: Men were predominantly beer drinkers, and women were predominantly wine drinkers. Compared with nondrinkers, hip BMD was greater (3.4–4.5%) in men consuming 1–2 drinks/d of total alcohol or beer, whereas hip and spine BMD were significantly greater (5.0–8.3%) in postmenopausal women consuming >2 drinks/d of total alcohol or wine. Intake of >2 drinks/d of liquor in men was associated with significantly lower (3.0–5.2%) hip and spine BMD than was intake of 1–2 drinks/d of liquor in men. After adjustment for silicon intake, all intergroup differences for beer were no longer significant; differences for other alcohol sources remained significant. Power was low for premenopausal women, and the associations were not significant.
Conclusions: Moderate consumption of alcohol may be beneficial to bone in men and postmenopausal women. However, in men, high liquor intakes (>2 drinks/d) were associated with significantly lower BMD. The tendency toward stronger associations between BMD and beer or wine, relative to liquor, suggests that constituents other than ethanol may contribute to bone health. Silicon appears to mediate the association of beer, but not that of wine or liquor, with BMD. Other components need further investigation.
There was nothing ambiguous about the results of the study, “it’s very clear,’ said Dr. Katherine Tucker of Boston’s Tufts University that the positive effect on bone density from beer and wine is “larger than what we see for any single nutrient, even for calcium.”
From the Reuters article:
Men who had a glass or two of wine or beer daily had denser bones than non-drinkers, the researchers found, but those who downed two or more servings of hard liquor a day had significantly lower BMD than the men who drank up to two glasses of liquor daily.
The women who drank more than two glasses a day of alcohol or wine had greater BMD than the women who drank less. Nonetheless, this finding shouldn’t be seen as meaning that the more a woman drinks the better it is for her bones, Tucker noted; there were simply not that many women in the study who drank much more than this.
Beer is an excellent source of silicon, a mineral needed for bone health that has become increasingly rare in the modern diet, the researcher noted. Beer’s silicon content accounted for at least some of its bone-building effects in men, she added; there were too few women who drank beer to draw conclusions about how the mineral affected female bone density.
Sounds like you your bones will thank you for drinking beer moderately. A beer a day keeps the bone doctor away?