New Finding: Beer May Help Defend Against Alzheimer’s Disease

February 2, 2015

In recent years, advancements in Alzheimer’s treatment and research have been incredibly wide-ranging. These innovations include the pharmaceutical industry seriously investing in several promising drugs, researchers discovering that a blood test may be able to predict the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and an increasing understanding of how diet and exercise can help ward off mental health disorders. Scientists have recently found that a compound present in beer may help protect a person’s cognitive function by slowing the onset of brain disorders.

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While wine has often been lauded for being high in antioxidants and providing other health benefits, a growing body of research on beer has come to showcase some of the libation’s healthy qualities. In a study published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers from Langzhou University in China found that a hop compound potentially protects brain cells, thereby defending against mental health disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

“Xanthohumol, a compound found in beer, may have anticancer properties, as well as provide antioxidation and cardiovascular protection.”

The Study 

According to the New York Daily News, hops have been part of traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years. The researchers note that the compound Xanthohumol (Xn) has been garnering attention lately due to its numerous pharmacological uses, including having anticancer properties, as well as providing antioxidation and cardiovascular protection, according to an ACS press release. Furthermore, Xn can help protect the brain against neuronal cell damage, which is believed to contribute to the development of mental health disorders. This compound is also an active ingredient in beer, suggesting that regular beer drinking in moderation may deter diseases that originate in the brain.

 

The benefits of quaffing an ale or lager don’t seem to stop there. Another study published by the ACS found that using beer in a marinade could prevent the formation of potentially harmful substances in grilled meat. All in all, moderate beer consumption may have a wide range of health benefits that are yet to be fully explored. However, it’s important to note that this research is still in its early stages, and it will take additional studies to better quantify the exact extent to which beer could be a brain-healthy lifestyle choice. Until such research is conducted, one should not expect a daily pint to serve as a mental health cure-all.

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