23 March 2009

Moderate drinking may help build bone density

Photo by Reuters

From Denny: This study really drew a fine line on either side of success about moderate drinking being good for your bone density. The basic conclusion that one drink a day of beer or wine, preferably beer, was good for actually building bone density compared to nondrinkers. Hard liquor is not. Beer is the best because it is an excellent source of silicon. Silicon is difficult to acquire in the modern diet.

What's interesting is that moderation really does help keep your balance in life. This study found that drinking beyond the limit of one a day of beer or wine actually weakened bones!

Many studies these days offer conflicting reports. We find that drinking can be good for the heart but actually increase breast cancer risk.

What was clear cut in this study? That moderate amounts of alcohol had a larger effect on building bone mineral density than any single ingredient like calcium. I guess alcohol is the new milk!

Men who drank more than two drinks a day or hard liquor actually suffered bone density loss compared to the moderate one drink a day drinkers of beer or wine.

What's also interesting from this study is that for women the results were different for those who drank more than two drinks a day: they did better than those who did not drink as much. The conclusion might be that the more a women drinks the better it is for her bones. The researchers take issue with this logic as they felt there really wasn't enough evidence to prove it because not enough women participated in this area of the study.

The researchers offered a reason that beer and wine have more beneficial effects than hard liquor. Beer and wine have resveratrol which is a plant substance thought to be beneficial. Hard liquor tends to have all the beneficial substances distilled out of it.

Why do the researchers think that alcohol helps build strong bones? They think it has to do with boosting estrogen levels. Those elevated estrogen levels also account for increased breast cancer risk even in female moderate drinkers.


In short, you decide. Moderate drinking of low alcohol drinks like beer and wine can help your bones and your heart. Just be aware of breast cancer risk if you are a woman who enjoys a martini every day. It might be a good idea to switch to a lower level of alcohol in order to keep your estrogen levels closer to normal.

You might want to put down that tequila shot and pick up a hearty Guinness Stout! Besides, Guinness has chocolate in it and so does Samuel Adams Stout and Abita Turbo Dog. Chocolate and beer: can life get any better?

For more details on the study click on the title link.


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