As some of you (Beer Drinkers) may have already heard, a new(ish) study suggests that beer is a significant source of dietary silicon, a key nutrient for increasing bone mineral density. Researchers from the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California studied commercial beer production to determine the relationship between beer production methods and the resulting silicon (silica) content, concluding that beer is a rich source of dietary silicon…The trick here is to actually dig up the results, without spending a fortune on Science Journal subscriptions!
Details of this study are available in the February issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Society of Chemical Industry…Unfortunately, for curious Cyclists, amateur Science Buffs, and Librarians, and of course all cash-strapped bonefide Researchers the world over, the Publishing industry behind Science Journals presents a very significant and expensive barrier to the free spread of important information…Even if the research was publicly funded to begin with!
…So as soon as I can figure out how to access this privileged information, I’ll be sure to post the details here. Here’s what I’ve been able to glean so far :
Since the bio availability of silica is largely derived from fluids, it’s been determined that beer is one of the richest sources of silica in the diet. However, little is known of the relationship between silicon content and beer style and the manner in which beer is produced. The purpose of this study was to measure silicon in a diversity of beers and ascertain which grist selection and brewing factors that impact the level of silicon obtained in beer.
Commercial beers ranged from 6.4 to 56.5 mg L-1 in silicon. Products derived from a grist of barley tended to contain more silicon than did those from a wheat-based grist, likely because of the high levels of silica in the retained husk layer of barley. Hops contain substantially more silicon than does grain, but quantitatively hops make a much smaller contribution than malt to the production of beer and therefore relatively less silicon in beer derives from them. During brewing the vast majority of the silicon remains with the spent grains; however, aggressive treatment during wort production in the brewhouse leads to increased extraction of silicon into wort and much of this survives into beer.
- Water and beer are the best sources (by far) fo Silica so, it stands to reason that combining both (in the form of beer) is the safest bet
- Barley based beer is better, so forget wheat (weiss/witte) beer for bone growth)
- “Hoppy” beers like Pilsners have an added boost of silicon
It’s not much to go on if you want to treat beer as a dietary supplement (winks), but In the meantime, maybe you have something to add to another concept I’m researching….That Science Journals are a possibly a big part of the problem when it comes to communicating good science to the Public ( hello, ClimateGate! ), maintaining a positive PR profile for the entire (recently sullied) field of Science, and of course allowing researchers and schools more liberal access to previous work, and thus lowering the cost of better and new research for everyone…..You can read more HERE