This just in from the it's bad for you, it's good for you department: a study indicates that the moderate intake of beer (and to a lesser extent, wine) improves bone density.
The bad news comes from another recent study which reports that even moderate consumption may increase the risk of breast cancer in women.
The effect of alcohol on bone mineral density (BMD) that [Dr. Katherine Tucker of Boston's Tufts University] and her colleagues saw was "larger that what we see for any single nutrient, even for calcium. It's not ambiguous. It's very clear."
Dr. Tucker continues:
"It is very confusing for because alcohol has such diverse effects on different things." For example, while drinking may prevent heart disease, it increases breast cancer risk.
Moderate drinking may help build bone density
Mar 20, 2009
The researchers believe a causative factor to be the high silicon content of beer, more so in beer than in wine. Necessary for good bone health, silicon has become less prevalent in modern diets than it once was.
Distilled spirits were found to provide the least gain.
More on beer and health here.