Can Beer Make You Better?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  For those of you celebrating with a beer, be aware that the alcoholic beverage may help improve your health and mental abilities.

Beer, the oldest alcoholic beverage in the world, is made from four ingredients: water, malt, hops and yeast.  Hops (technically the flower of the hop plant) help give beer its flavor and bitterness.  Various parts of the hop plant are used to treat insomnia and nervousness.  The plant is believed to be antioxidant, antimicrobial and antiviral.

Hops are also the only known source of a compound called xanthohumol.  Researchers in Oregon discovered that mice treated with xanthohumol improved their spatial memory and cognitive flexibility.

There are two pieces of bad news associated with this study.  First, xanthohumol only helped young mice, not older ones.  Second, a human would need to drink 2,000 liters of beer per day (more than 5,000 bottles) to ingest the same amount of xanthohumol used in the study.

Researchers in Slovenia used an Agilent Capillary Electrophoresis system equipped with a Diode Array Detector to develop a fast, reliable and inexpensive method for routine xanthohumol analysis in hop extracts.

Researchers in Barcelona used an Agilent High-Performance Liquid Chromatograph to characterize 63 different beers from various countries.  They found that beers in the ale family have the highest concentrations of polyphenols, which may provide health benefits against cancer and heart disease.

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