Beer Compound Could Protect Brain Cells from Damage
This is news that can make many beer lovers happy – an ingredient found in this tasty beverage could help the process of brain cell protection in cases of damages caused by certain types of euro degenerative conditions like Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
Although this is not a signal that you should hit the closest pub and have a couple of beers, you should definitely follow the latest news revolving around this compound found in beer because this may be the key to prevent or at least slow down the process of neurodegenerative disorders.
The name of the compound that has been researched and tested is Xanthohumol. This is an active ingredient found in both beer and hops. This compound belongs to the flavanoid family – metabolites that can be found in many plants and very often they are the factor that determines their color.
In the past decade, the interest of the scientific community in these compounds has increased and they are testing all plants, beverages (red wine, beer) and foods (chocolate) that contain them because of the many health benefits associated with them.
Some of the potential health benefits are really spectacular
– if they are consumed in large quantities they could possibly protect a person from cardiovascular diseases and conditions and they can also help people suffering from cancer and inflammation too.
The first things scientists have noticed, is that they are very powerful antioxidants.
Human cells naturally produce different molecules known as reactive oxygen species ROS and this is happening during normal metabolism. ROS represent very reactive molecules rich in oxygen especially hydrogen peroxide. These molecules are crucial for the proper functioning of many processes, but a body that has increased levels of ROS will soon experience problems.
The increased levels of ROS occur because of natural overproduction or because of the improper antioxidant activity in our body. No matter what the cause is, this situation leads to cell damages (especially in the molecules of DNA or protein in cells) – a process called oxidative stress.
What is important to know is that ROS are especially active in the brain and the damage that can occur in this area (caused by ROS) is believed to be a partial reason for the occurrence of some neurodegenerative diseases and disorders like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. Because of the powerful antioxidant features that Xanthohumol has, scientists have decided to test these components found in beer (and other foods and drinks) and confirm whether it is helpful or not.
The study that was published in the respected Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reveals that the scientists have used rat neurons in order to see their reaction to Xanthohumol. These neurons were exposed in a dish to certain amount of Xanthohumol and after that they have used oxidative stress in order to damage them. The results were amazing.
Xanthohumol was able to search and find the reactive molecules causing the damage and it was also able to trigger the protective genes (cytoprotective genes) which can protect the cells from oxidative stress and all diseases related to this type of stress like inflammation, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
Of course, more studies will have to be conducted, especially in other animals and even humans, but many scientists believe that Xanthohumol is one of the best compounds that can be used for protection and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. Keep in mind that drinking large volumes of beer doesn’t mean that you are providing extra protection for the brain because beer contains some toxins and ingredients that can actually interrupt the brain’s function.