Recent research has revealed that drinking beer in moderation, about one to two a day can help prevent osteoporosis. Researchers led by Professor Jonathan Powell , at King's College and St Thomas' Hospitals in London have found that the alcohol in beer appears to suppress the hormones that promote bone loss.
It has been estimated that about three million people in Britain suffer from osteoporosis which causes bones to weaken and fracture easily. The NHS spends around £1.7billion every year on this. The researchers state that drinking beer may be even better than calcium in preventing bone loss.
According to Professor Powell "This is a very interesting finding. Everyone knows that calcium inhibits bone loss but we found that the ethanol in beer has the same, if not better, effect."
Earlier studies have shown that silicon found in beer can help strengthen bones. Scientists conducted their studies on groups of healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 50 who were given a variety of beers with different alcoholic strengths starting with nonalcoholic drinks.The studies revealed that over a six-hour period, the ethanol in the beer appeared to block various hormones that lead to weaker bones.
Recent years of research has attributed several advantages of moderate consumption of beer including a 30-40% lower rate of coronary heart disease compared to those who don't drink. Beer has been known to contain a similar amount of polyphenols, widely acclaimed for its antioxidant property, as red wine and 4-5 times as many polyphenols as white wine.
Alcohol has also been shown to increase the amount of HDL cholesterol into the bloodstream in addition to decreasing blood clots. Vitamin B6 that prevents the build-up of homocysteine, linked to an early onset of heart and vascular disease, is also present in beer. However those who drank wine or liquor showed an increase of up to 10% in their homocysteine levels. It was also noted that those who drank beer showed a 30% increase in vitamin B6 in their blood plasma, thereby proving that moderate drinking of beer was healthier to drink than wine and other liquor.
However overconsumption of beer can kill brain cells causing causing memory deficits, and an oft seen symptom of impairment of verbal and motor skills.
Therefore Prof Powell says: 'Moderation, of course, is the key, and we know that drinking too much beer can have real adverse effects.'