A study published by researchers at Lanzhou University in China claims that xanthohumol, a flavonoid found in hops, could help protect the brain against the onset of diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia. Xanthohumol is particularly rare with its only known dietary source being hops.
As part of the study a group of young and old mice were put on an eight-week diet of xanthohumol before being put through a series of tests to gauge whether or not the treatment had improved their spatial memory and cognitive flexibility. Within the younger group of mice, cognitive flexibility significantly improved, however older mice were found to be immune to its effects. According to Jianguo Fang, who led the research, oxidative damage to neuronal cells is widely believed to be the root cause of the development of degenerative diseases of the brain. Xanthohumol, known for its antioxidant properties, could help guard against this oxidation, and therefore might be a potential candidate for the prevention of neurodegenerative disorders.
“In traditional Chinese medicine, hops have been used to treat a variety of ailments for centuries. The presence of a high concentration of Xn in beers might be linked to the epidemiological observation of the beneficial effect of regular moderate beer drinking. Xn has attracted considerable interest because of its multiple pharmacological functions, including anti-oxidation, cardiovascular protection, anti-cancer and cancer chemoprevention, antivirus, anti-obesity, and anti-inflammation,” Fang stated. Source: “Xanthohumol, a Polyphenol Chalcone Present in Hops, Activating Nrf2 Enzymes to Confer Protection against Oxidative Damage in PC12 Cells” Juan Yao , Baoxin Zhang, Chunpo Ge, Shoujiao Peng , and Jianguo Fang. J. Agric. Food Chem., 2015, 63 (5), pp 1521–153, Jan 14, 2015.