How to Maximize the Bone-Building Benefits of Beer

Steve Kroening, ND

March 4, 2020

 

 

It’s no secret that Americans love their beer. The average adult in the U.S. drinks just over 26 gallons of beer each year. That’s about 6.3 billion gallons of beer we consume annually. And it’s a good thing – particularly for our bones.

You see, we’ve known for nearly two decades that beer strengthens bones. But did you know there’s a way to supercharge the bone-building ability of beer without over-indulging?

Back in 2004, a study came out showing how beer can strengthen bones. The study found that the silicon and calcium in beer can help keep your bones strong. But where do these nutrients in beer come from?

It turns out that hops is rich in silicon and calcium. And hops, as you may know, is the bitter plant that gives beer much of its flavor – and its smell.

I grew up about three miles from the Coors Brewery in Golden, Colorado. I spent many Saturday’s driving into downtown Golden with my parents – passing within a few feet of the brewery. And every time we drove by it, we were hit with a bitter aroma that I hated as a kid. Now, I think it’s quite pleasant.

That aroma came from the malt, yeast, and hops that was going into the beer. Little did I know then that those hops were great for your health. Traditional medicine has used hops for centuries to fight inflammation, bacterial infections, and even other diseases. And now we know it can keep your bones strong, thanks in large part to the silicon and calcium content. But there's more to it.

More Than Just Silicon

Hops also have compounds that act like phytoestrogens. Together, with the silicon, these compounds make hops a very powerful bone builder and protector. Two studies back in 2009 showed just how powerful. One study found that men who drink one to two beers a day had 3.4-4.5% greater hip bone mineral density (BMD). And postmenopausal women who drink more than two drinks per day had even greater hip and spine BMD (5-8.3%). Drinking more than two drinks a day, though, was actually detrimental to the bones of men. It lowered their BMD.

The other study came out of Spain. It followed 1,697 healthy women. Of these, 710 were premenopausal, 176 were perimenopausal, and 811 were postmenopausal. The researchers found that the beer drinkers had significantly better quantitative bone ultrasound values than those who didn't drink beer. And they also were better than the wine drinkers.

Beer Is Great for Your Teeth

Because the hops are good for bones, it would make sense that they’re good for your teeth as well. The silicon and calcium help all the bones in your body, including your teeth. But beer does more than just build the bone in your teeth. It also protects your teeth.

The antibacterial properties of hops that I mentioned earlier can deter the development of microorganisms in the mouth. In fact, in one study, researchers from Japan found that hops have unique antioxidant compounds that can prevent tooth decay and gum disease. How does it work? The researchers discovered that these antioxidant compounds keep bacteria from latching onto teeth and gums. They can even stop some bacteria from forming in the first place. As a result, the extract can completely prevent cavities.

The Japanese team said, “Three new compounds, one known compound identified for the first time in plants, and 20 known compounds that have not been reported in hops, were found.”

In addition to the new antioxidant compounds, the researchers also discovered that hops contain huge amounts of proanthocyanidins. Proanthocyanidins are a class of antioxidant polyphenols known as flavonols. These are extremely useful for treating many different types of diseases.

One class of polyphenols in beer are called tannins. We find tannins in the strigs and bracts of hops. These beer tannins have similar properties to the fluoride found in toothpaste, which helps strengthen the enamel on your teeth. But that’s not all these tannins do. They also help to prevent bacteria from attaching to teeth. Since dental bacteria can migrate to your heart and cause serious, even life-threatening heart problems, this is a huge benefit from a tasty beer.

Of course, that’s not the only way beer helps your heart. It can even decrease your bad cholesterol levels as well as increase your good cholesterol levels just by drinking moderate amounts of the beverage. But don’t drink too much, as too much alcohol can have the opposite effect on cholesterol levels.

Great for Digestion as Well

Along with helping your teeth and heart stay healthy, beer can help your digestion as well. Drinking beer can help you digest food by releasing more gastric acid from stomach cells. Not only does this assist in digestion, but it helps control the growth of good and bad bacteria in your belly. It encourages good bacteria and hinders bad bacteria.

A new study out of Oregon State University found that this ability to enhance the gut microbiome helps the body reverse metabolic disorders. And it also alters the metabolism of acids produced in the liver, which aids in energy production and lowering inflammation.

Beyond that, beer can help your kidneys by decreasing kidney stones. Some studies suggest people who drink beer have a 40% decrease in kidney stones. Even though you would think the extra calcium might increase kidney stones, the extra hydration of the beer flushes the kidneys and keeps them healthy.

How to Supercharge Your Bone Protection

So if you love beer and want to drink one or two a day, it could be very beneficial to your health. Drinking too much, though, can damage your body, as alcohol can take a toll on your liver and your brain when you drink too much. If you want to get the most out of your beer-drinking experience, focus on pilsners and IPAs, as they use hops that aren’t roasted. That means they have more of the nutrients your body wants.

And, please understand, the point of all this isn't to get you to drink more beer. In fact, if you're not already drinking beer, you probably won't get enough hops from beer to be therapeutic. It takes regular drinking over many years to see results.

If you want to get the most out of your beer drinking – or you don’t drink beer and don’t plan to start – there are ways to supercharge your bone-building. All you have to do is take your hops in supplement form. You can get more of its benefits in this concentrated form. For instance, Ultimate Bone Support has 300 mg of hops, along with many other bone-boosting nutrients. Most beers have only 15 mg to 42 mg of hops (Indian Pale Ales typically have the most). So you would have to drink 7-20 beers a day to get the hops included in this formula. No one needs to drink this much — not only would it be bad for your liver and overall health, it would actually destroy your bones.

Science has proven that the additional nutrients contained in this formula can build bone quickly and safely. If you look at the reviews of this product, you’ll see just how effective it can be.

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