One of the essential components of beer is the classic hops, which often provide enough bitterness to make a good quality brew. Now a scientific research published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience, indicates that this component can help against Alzheimer’s.
This work reports that chemicals extracted from hop flowers can, in laboratory dishes, inhibit amyloid beta protein agglutination, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
AD is a debilitating neurodegenerative disease, often marked by memory loss and personality changes in older adults.
Hop flowers used to flavor beers have been explored as one of these potential nutraceuticals (foods that have some type of medicinal or nutritional function), with previous studies suggesting that the plant might interfere with the accumulation of amyloid beta proteins associated with AD.
The most successful extract was from the Tettnang hop, which is found in many types of lagers and lighter beers. When that extract was separated into fractions, the one containing a high level of polyphenols showed the most potent antibiotic and aggregation-inhibiting activity. It also promoted processes that allow the body to remove misfolded neurotoxic proteins.
Finally, the team tested the Tettnang extract in a C. elegans model and found that it protected the worms from AD-related paralysis, although the effect was not very pronounced. The researchers say that while this work may not justify drinking more bitter beers, it does show that hop compounds could serve as the basis for nutraceuticals that combat the development of AD.