Hops Good for Heart
Mar 6, 2006 - Extracts from beer reduce inflammatory markers, according to a study by Austrian scientists. Hops may play a particularly important role.
"On the basis of our new findings, beer must be added to the list of beverages with potentially anti-inflammatory components, but our findings must not be understood as an encouragement to drink alcohol," said lead researcher Professor Dietmar Fuchs from Innsbruck Medical University.
The study, published in the journal International Immunopharmacology studies the effects of different beer extracts, including light beer, wheat beer, and non-alcoholic beer, on the production of neopterin (a marker for inflammation) and levels of tryptophan (the hormone - low levels are associated with more inflammation).
The effect resembles that of wine but also that of green as well as black tea, which were studied in Innsbruck and elsewhere a few years ago. The health enhancing effect of such beverages, especially of red wine and green tea, have been known for some time. Of particular interest is a beneficial impact on coronary heart diseases.
"Beer was found to suppress degradation of trypophan and production of neopterin in PMBC stimulated with PHA," according to the report.
The results showed that the type of beer was not important, and that a 4% solution could reduce neopterin production by 65 per cent.
The authors could not identify the "active" species in the beer, pointing out that beer contains nearly all the B vitamins, several minerals like potassium and magnesium, and several antioxidants like polyphenols.
"Humulone and isohumulone (both derived from hops) may be of particular importance for the effects induced in our in vitro system," the scientists wrote.