Prof. Jonathan J. Powell
Silicon, ethanol and connective tissue health: a case for moderate beer consumption
A role for dietary silicon in optimal connective tissue health has long been proposed. Bone has been identified as a target organ by our group for silicon accumulation and bio-activity. Recently we have extended our investigations into the effect of dietary silicon on cardiovascular health and demonstrated that silicon deficiency leads to a reduction in aortic circumference. Beer contains high levels of well absorbed silicon and interestingly, moderate intake of alcoholic beverages, such as beer, is well reported to affect bone mineral density (BMD) positively. Subsequently, such associations had been questioned as confounding lifestyle factors. But working with colleagues in Aberdeen, we recently confirmed that this (alcohol-BMD relationship) is real and independent of lifestyle factors. Moreover, mechanism-based acute ingestion studies identified a novel effect of ethanol, but not silicon, in inhibiting bone resorption. In contrast, cellular and animal studies have suggested more of a metabolic role for silicon (i.e. it is “bone forming”). Thus, the moderate ingestion of beer could have two complimentary effects on bone health: ethanol would inhibit bone loss, while silicon would enhance bone formation and given the enormous estimated healthcare costs associated with osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and other connective tissue disorders, it is of critical importance that the “beneficial” effect is fully understood and further work on beer, silicon and health is clearly warranted.
19/12/2012 > Press releaseInsufficient evidence for the beer belly
28/10/2011 > Press releasePress release from the Federation of European Nutrition Societies: Moderate consumption of beer could be beneficial to cardiovascular and bone health
26/10/2011 > NewsShort video of 6th Beer and Health Symposium now available
Beer and Health Symposium