According to a study, hops can prevent Alzheimer’s disease

The insidious thing about Alzheimer’s disease is that the physical processes that lead to the development of the disease occur insidiously and unnoticed. All the more, researchers are concerned with the question of how to face it and prevent dementia.

According to most dementia scientists, Alzheimer’s disease occurs when the brain’s production of beta-amyloid protein becomes unbalanced and amyloid plaques build up. Beta-amyloid or amyloid-β is therefore also referred to as the “dementia protein”. Scientists hope to pin down exactly this process, or rather: they want to find a way to prevent this process. In this context, attention is also paid to health-promoting foods, such as B. Hops. According to a recent study, it should be able to protect against Alzheimer’s.

Health food (nutraceuticals)

Nutraceuticals is an artificial word from “nutrition” (English: food) and medicine. It refers to foods or food components that not only nourish, i.e. supply energy and nutrients necessary for life, but also have health-promoting or even medicinal effects.1 There is no fixed definition of what exactly can and cannot be called a nutraceutical. However, the following nutrients are generally added:

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Hops are also considered beneficial for health

Hops contain, among other things, essential oils and flavonoids. According to research findings, the latter also belong to nutraceuticals.2 For example, hops are said to have a calming effect and promote sleep.3 Studies have also shown that it improves cognitive function and, as an extract, inhibits beta amyloid production in mice.4.5 That’s why hops are now the focus of a new Alzheimer’s study from Milan.

To what extent can hops protect against Alzheimer’s?

As part of their study, the research team from Italy tested four different varieties of hops, which they extracted from the plants using a technique very similar to brewing beer. These were two American (Cascade and Summit), one Czech (Saaz) and one German (Tettnanger). In vitro experiments with hop varieties and cell cultures revealed that hops have antioxidant properties and can prevent the deposition of beta-amyloid proteins around cells. German hops, which are often used to brew lager and light beer, appear to be particularly good at protecting against the processes that trigger Alzheimer’s disease, according to studies.

When the researchers analyzed the Tettnang hop more closely, it was found to contain a high content of polyphenols and to have the strongest antibiotic and amyloid-beta-blocking effects. In addition, a study of hop extract showed that it increases the body’s ability to excrete misfolded (disturbed in its structure and thus in its function) and toxic proteins.

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Should we all be drinking more beer now?

Hops appear to have great potential to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. However, the researchers used hop extract for their study. Although it was obtained in a similar way to the hops used to make beer, it was used in its pure form and not in combination with alcohol.

The study cannot answer how much hop extract is beneficial to health. More research is needed to understand exactly how consuming hops can protect people from Alzheimer’s disease. But one thing seems clear: Increased beer consumption is not the solution.

Springs

  • 1. Brenntag Food & Nutrition. nutraceuticals. (accessed 9 November 2022)
  • 2. Kaleem, M., Ahmad, A. (2018). Chapter 8 – Flavonoids as nutraceuticals. Therapeutic, probiotic and unconventional foods.
  • 3. Melzer, M., Allwang, M. (2020) Hops: an herbal remedy for sleep problems. Apotheken Umschau (accessed November 9, 2022)
  • 4. Fukuda, T., Ohnuma, T., Obara, K. et al. (2020). Supplementation with mature hop bitter acids improves cognitive performance and mood in healthy older adults with subjective cognitive decline. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • 5. Sasaoka, N., Sakamoto, M., Kanemori, S. et al. (2014). Long-term oral administration of hop flower extracts attenuates Alzheimer’s phenotypes in mice. PLoS One
  • 6. Palmioli, A., Mazzoni, V., De Luigi, A. et al. (2022). Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease through natural compounds: a cell-free, in vitro and in vivo multi-target dissection of hops (Humulus lupulus L.). ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

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