It’s the news that every beer drinker has been waiting to hear. While we all know the perceived health benefits of a regular tipple of red wine, research now suggests that downing a glass of beer could help to slow down the effects of dementia.
Hops contain chemicals which could offer protection against oxidative damage
Scientists at the Lanzhou University in China claim that the discovery of an ingredient in hops could possibly slow down the progression of the degenerative diseases Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Xanthohumol or Xn is thought to be the chemical responsible, and that it has the ability to offer a level of protection against oxidative damage to brain cells. Dr Jianguo Fang published his research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, putting forward the suggestion that regular beer drinkers may have a better ability to hold off the progression of neurological diseases in comparison to non beer drinkers.
Xanthohumal offers a range of potential benefits
Dr Fang explained that hops have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, particularly in traditional Chinese medicine, and suggests that the hops used to make beer could have similar beneficial qualities. The potential benefits of Xanthohumol are exciting especially since it offers a variety of functions anti-oxidation, anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular protection and the prevention of cancers and obesity. By isolating Xn molecules and testing them on brain cells from rats, Dr Fang and his team found that the level of oxidative stress on the cells was reduced and as this oxidation process is thought to be a factor in degenerative diseases, the ability to stop this process could stop or slow down the progression of such diseases.
Other studies warn against drinking excess alcohol
However, British scientists have issued warnings about drinking beer too often, with previous research indicating that an excess of alcohol can lead to loss of brain tissue, and binge-drinking widely associated with an increased risk of dementia. Furthermore, other studies have reached the conclusion that developing the so called drinkers’ beer belly, can significantly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. So before you rush down to the pub and down a couple of pints, it may be wise to wait for the results of further research.