Researchers have discovered that beer contains a substance that boosts bones and could mean that beer drinkers are less likely to suffer from osteoporosis.

According to studies, beer, especially pale ales, contains high levels of silicon which is known to slow down the bone thinning that leads to fractures and boosting the formation of new bone.

The finding, published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, backs up previous research which also showed that the drink was good at fending off brittle bones – especially in women.

“The factors in brewing that influence silicon levels in beer have not been extensively studied”, said Dr Charles Bamforth, lead author at the University of California.

It’s discovered that lighter beers with a greater use of hops had the most silicon. Silicon which presents itself in beer in the soluble form of orthosilicic acid (OSA), is a major contributor to silicon intake in the Western diet.

Based on these findings, some studies suggest moderate beer consumption may help fight osteoporosis, a disease of the skeletal system characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue.

Dr Claire Bowring, National Osteoporosis Society, said the research did not mean that people head for the pub. “These findings mirror results from previous studies which concluded that moderate alcohol consumption could be beneficial to bones,” she said.