Thursday, April 26, 2012

Beer consumption and bone mass

While trolling through literature on PubMed relating to bone metabolism I found an entry with an eye catching title--one which will cause some of my readers to roll their eyes while others will say "Yeah baby! Finally some goods news for a change!"  Anyway, here's the abstract of the article (I love the last phase of the conclusion):

Effect of beer drinking on ultrasound bone mass in women.


Department of Nursing, University of Extremadura, Caceres, Spain.



To study the effect of beer consumption on bone mass in a group of healthy women, by using phalangeal bone ultrasound to evaluate the amplitude-dependent speed of sound.


This was a cross-sectional study of 1697 healthy women (mean age 48.4 y, body mass index (BMI) 19.0-32.0 kg/m(2)), recruited in a clinical convenience sample and screened for the existence of disease and/or medication that would affect calcium metabolism. Of this total, 710 were premenopausal, 176 were perimenopausal, and 811 were postmenopausal. The women recruited completed a questionnaire that contained detailed sections on current cigarette, alcohol, caffeine, and nutrient consumption. In terms of current alcohol intake, the subjects were classified as moderate drinkers, light drinkers, and nondrinkers. Drinkers were also analyzed according to the kind of alcohol consumed: wine or beer.


Quantitative bone ultrasound values were greater in the beer drinkers compared with the no beer and/or wine drinkers. Taking the amplitude-dependent speed of sound as a dependent variable, and age, BMI, gonadal status, intake of beer and wine, and number of cigarettes per day as independent variables, we found age (beta = -1.52), BMI (beta = -3.86), gonadal status (beta = -27.47), and beer intake (beta = 1.06) to be significant.


The greater bone density found in women beer drinkers might be a result of the phytoestrogen content of this alcoholic drink; this requires further investigation.

Those interested in reading the entire paper can find it at this link:

Enjoy!  (Remember to skate and drink responsibly...)


  1. You read 'em all eh George :) Inquiring minds want to know: how can I be a volunteer for this study? lol

    1. Hi Lori! Yeah, can't do much at the lab other than read, go to seminars and annoy co-workers. Sadly I see that when I cut and paste the link for the full article from my home computer I don't get free access like I do from my work machine. So most peeps reading my blog will have to make do with just the abstract.

      Later in the day I found another similar j. article which included men as well as women. That paper leads one to conclude that the silicon content in beer is more of a driver for the improvement seen in bone mineralization than either the alcohol or the estrogenic metabolites supplied by the hops in the beer. Either way: Skol! and good skating!