Beer boosts bones

Posted by on Aug 21, 2009 in bone health | 2 comments


Beer boosts bones. Say that three times fast.

Seriously, the weekend is fast approaching and it’s a beer sort of day; well sort of. A newly-published study is touting the news that bone density is better in beer drinkers than in non-beer drinkers. On the otherhand, drinking more than two alcohol drinks a day can be harmful to bone. Confused yet?

Researchers say that at appropriate doses, alcohol stimulates calcitonin, a hormone that inhibits the breakdown of bone cells and stimulate bone formation. As women age, they experience a deficit in calcitonin, which is one reason why osteoporosis is so prevalent after menopause. Key components in alcohol that promotes calcitonin and also inhibit postmenopausal bone loss are flavones, which are a type of flavanoid primarily found in certain cereals and herbs. Evidently, beer contains flavones.

In this particular study, which was published in the journal Nutrition, researchers measured bone density of the bones in their fingers, and evaluated weight, age and alcohol use in 1697 women. Women who participated in the study were on average, 48 years old; 710 were premenopausal, 176 were perimenopausal and 811 were postmenopausal. All participants were classified as moderate drinkers (1/2 cup to 10 ounces of alcohol per week), light drinkers (less than 1/2 cup alcohol per week) or non-drinkers, and were also classified according to whether they were beer or wine drinkers.

Study findings showed that women who were characterized as moderate beers drinkers had superior bone density compared to non-drinkers and wine drinkers, regardless of menopausal status and independent of age.

The researchers point out that it is likely that certain components of hops, namely the female flowers, have high estrogen-like properties. Moreover, they say that two isoflavones — daidzein and genistein — have been shown to have bone-protective properties and are present in beer. Beer is also a major dietary source of silicon, which studies show plays a major role in bone formation.

So, what to make of this study? Should you run out and buy a six-pack? Forgo that glass of wine for a cold one? The researchers say that they are not recommending that peri- and postmenopausal women start drinking beer to decrease their risk of osteoporosis. Still, one or two beers can’t hurt, right?


  1. 8-21-2009

    I think a half hour of exercise a day vs. two beers is a better bet. Beer has a tendency to accumulate around the middle and posterior regions — so I’ve been told. 🙂 Interesting post.

    • 8-21-2009

      Snow – interesting comment and I totally agree with you. Actually, everything tends to accumulate around those regions these days 😉

      Thanks for commenting!


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