Can Beer Protect Your Brain?

With so many cases of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s on the rise, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to help prevent it? Recent research shows that a compound in beer might be capable of warding off both dreaded diseases.

It’s in the Hops

It was recently reported in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that a compound from hops could help prevent damage to the brain cells and impede the onset of disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

According to a study by the Lanzhou University in China, a type of flavonoid found in hops could protect brain cells from the damaging onset of these neurodegenerative conditions. The flavonoid, xanthohumol, is known to contain strong antioxidant properties that prevent damage to the brain from oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress refers to an imbalance that happens during the body metabolic processing of oxygen. This is believed to be a significant contributing component to the onset of neurodegenerative conditions.

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases belong to a classification of neurodegenerative disorders. Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that causes memory loss, poor cognitive function, and abnormal behavior. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive movement disorder that results from the death of nerve cells.

Other neurodegenerative conditions include: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Huntington’s disease.

Hops and your health

Hops is the ingredient that is added to beer during brewing. It is responsible for the tangy, bitter taste usually associated with beer. The hops plant produces female flowers, and these are what we call hops.

Hops have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries as a treatment for a variety of ailments. They have historically been used in the treatment of digestive problems, mood disturbances, sleep disorders, and excitability.

“Xanthohumol has attracted considerable interest because of its multiple pharmacological functions, including anti-oxidation, cardiovascular protection, anti-cancer and cancer chemoprevention, antivirus, anti-obesity, and anti-inflammation,” said lead researcher Dr. Jianguo Fang.

Other research on hops

Beer and abstract human brainA 2014 study from Oregon State University revealed that extremely high levels of xanthohumol made a measurable improvement in the cognitive functioning of young mice. However, it would equate to a human drinking 2,000 liters of beer daily to reach the research levels.

Also, a 2010 study from the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg showed that xanthohumol is able to suppress a protein, known as PSA, which is linked to the spread of prostate cancer.

While there is still obviously much more research to be done on beer and its potential health benefits, what is being uncovered is quite exciting indeed!

-The Alternative Daily


Recommended Articles