A new study suggests that beer is a significant source of dietary silicon, a key ingredient for increasing bone mineral density.Researchers from the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California-Davis studied commercial beer production to determine the relationship between beer production methods and the resulting silicon content, concluding that beer is a rich source of dietary silicon.
“The factors in brewing that influence silicon levels in beer have not been extensively studied,” said Charles Bamforth, lead author of the study. “We have examined a wide range of beer styles for their silicon content and have also studied the impact of raw materials and the brewing process on the quantities of silicon that enter the wort and beer.”
Silicon is present in beer in the soluble form of orthosilicic acid (OSA), which yields 50 percent bioavailability, making beer a major contributor to silicon intake in the Western diet. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), dietary silicon (Si), as soluble OSA, may be important for the growth and development of bone and connective tissue, and beer appears to be a major contributor to Si intake. So, perhaps moderate beer consumption may help fight osteoporosis.
The study also tested 100 commercial beers for silicon content and categorized the data according to beer style and source. The average silicon content of the beers sampled was 6.4 t0 56.5 mg/L. Most silicon is in the husk of the barley, and pale malts contain more silicon than darker malts. Maybe this means the Czechs have better bones than the Irish?