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Drink Me Dietary Silicon


Beers that contain high levels of malted barley and hops are beers that are richest in dietary silicon, an important ingredient for increasing the mineral density in human bones, which may help prevent osteoporosis, a disease of the skeletal system characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue. During the beer-brewing process most of the silicon remains in the husk of the barley, but significant amounts of silicon are released into the wort -- that is, the liquid extracted from the mashing process -- and remain in the finished brew. In addition, hops also adds a small amount of dietary silicon to the beer. Among the various styles of beer, a rich source of dietary silicon is in IPAs (India Pale Ales), a highly-hopped beer style that contains higher silicon levels. This study, and other silicon-and-beer studies, suggests that moderate beer consumption may help fight osteoporosis in humans. Source: Troy R. Casey and Charles W. Bamforth, "Silicon in beer and brewing," Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Apr 2010.

Illustration commentary: "Silicon in my beer? If so, it's better than a squirt of cow or horse piss!" It is doubtful that this old cowboy, shown holding a glass of beer on an undated American brewery's trade card (probably in the 1930s or 1940s), knew or cared about the dietary benefits of silicon. This cowboy-and-beer image is nowadays an iconic illustration symbolic of the Wild Wild American West, cowboys and beer. The trade card was an advertising medium for Kentucky's Wiedemann brewery, operated from the late 19th century until 1983. Source: WBT's brewery files.

Earthy element factlet: Silicon is present in the earth's soil and is the most abundant nonmetallic element in its crust, while carbon is the most abundant nonmetallic element in plant and animal tissues. Source: Healthy (.net), 12 Jul 2014.

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