Beer and Wine: Good for Your Bones!?
Sure, milk is good for your bones, but it isn’t much fun at cocktail hour. New research is showing that a moderate drink or two can actually strengthen your bones.
The secret is moderation. Excess alcohol can actually harm bones-and the rest of your body
“Previous research suggests that moderate alcohol consumption in older men and post-menopausal women may protect against bone mineral density loss, a major risk factor for osteoporosis,” says Katherine Tucker, director of the Dietary Assessment and Epidemiology Research Program at the HNRCA of Tufts University. Tucker and her colleagues analyzed bone mineral density measurements in 2,471 men and postmenopausal women. It was found that those who consumed one to two glasses of beer or wine daily had up to 8 percent denser bones than teetotalers.
Tracing Beer Elements
One reason may be that beer is especially high in silicon, a trace mineral that promotes bone formation, says researcher Tucker. Previous studies have found that silicon is absorbed more easily as a liquid. It is less clear why liquor and wine might protect bone mineral density.
Reverting to Wine
“Another component of data worthy of exploration is whether the antioxidants found in wine, such as revesterol or polyphenols, have a protective effect on bone in addition to other health benefits,” said Tucker.
Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes and is a constituent of red wine. It’s been proven to protect against bone loss in animal studies.
Let’s Toast to That
More research is needed to prove that moderate drinking is what’s actually producing stronger skeletons. “We cannot say definitively what component of these alcoholic drinks might be beneficial to bone health, because our findings are from an observational study as opposed to a clinical trial,” Tucker says. “No one should depend solely on alcohol to maintain bone health.”