Believe it or not, beer intake may help to increase bone density in women. A study done in 2009 by Pedrera-Zamorano, JD, et. al. and published in Nutrition (2009;25(10):1057-1063) , stated that beer intake was associated with a significant increase in the speed of sound transmission through ultrasound—hence, increased bone density. In this study, 1697 women were either classified as non-drinkers, light drinkers, or moderate drinkers. They also had to state their likely type of alcohol consumption (wine vs. beer), whether they smoked cigarettes, drank caffeine, and their daily nutrient consumption.
Several studies have been done on beer intake and bone health. Studies done a number of years ago linked the silicon content of beer with increased bone density, howver this new study links the phytoestrogen content with greater bone density. Phytoestrogens, isolated from hops, has been shown to be helpful for hot-flashes (associated with menopause) and may lower the risk of breast cancer.
I know, I know, you’re curious as to HOW MUCH beer you can have to get the benefits. A similar article was written in April of 2009 by Tucker et al., which included 2719 men and women (post and premenopausal). 1-2 beers per day was associated with increased bone density in both men and women. Women that drank more than 2 beers per day had greatly increased bone density. Men, on the other hand, had decreased bone density with more than 2 beers per day.
While it appears that phytoestrogens in beer can be beneficial for good bone density, alcohol consumption of any kind is associated with an increased risk in breast cancer. Due to this risk, I can’t advocate for increased beer intake for women . . . unless it’s non-alcoholic beer. I know what you’re thinking . . . BOO! Hiss! BOO!
Thanks to Jacob Schor, ND, FABNO for his commentary on this study, provided by NaturalMedicineJournal.com.