A new study reveals that different types of beer have antioxidant effects that could protect against neurodegenerative diseases. Alcohol-free beer could provide these benefits while avoid the damages associated with alcohol consumption.
The Neurochemistry Group of the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM) has proven in laboratory tests that different beer extracts (brown, pale and alcohol-free) modulate the adenosine receptors, related to oxidative stress in cells, which are affected in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The brown beer is the one that has more protective properties, but it is relevant that beer without alcohol also produces positive effects, without the negative effects of alcoholic beverages.
The novelty of the Spanish study, published in the journal Nutrients, is that the first results in the laboratory suggest that the components of beer would produce healthy effects by themselves.
The UCLM scientists observed the effects on cell cultures of two types of nervous system tumors, gliomas and neuroblastomas. Subjected to conditions similar to those that occur in neurodegenerative diseases, the cells are affected; but in the presence of beer extracts “the effects are reversed,” says Mairena Martín, professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and member of the group.
“We want to know what produces those effects. We think that may be due to a molecule called xanthohumol, present in hops,” says Albasanz.
“Beer extracts have a protective role against oxidation, and the observed effects seem to be related to adenosine receptors,” adds Martín. The cellular receptors that collect the message of the molecules are essential for the correct functioning of the brain.
The components of beer
The professor of the Faculty of Medicine of Ciudad Real, José Luis Albasanz, co-author of the work, points to future advances in the investigation of the components of beer. “We want to know what produces those effects. We think they may be due to a molecule called xanthohumol, present in hops,” says Albasanz. The interest in how one of the most consumed and popular drinks in the world affects our body, in this study without the presence of alcohol, generates new lines of research.
The Neurochemistry expert of Ciudad Real group has studies related to the components present in other beverages with proven effects, such as resveratrol and red wine. The resveratrol that some plants produce as an immune response is found in the red grape and the red fruits, among others.
Antioxidant effects and their benefit against cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases already have a greater scientific support, without overlooking the negative effects of alcoholic beverages. According to the authors, xanthohumol and beer could follow the same line.