Drink beer to protect your brain!

According to new research, a compound used in beer could help protect brain cells from damage. So, cheers!

Harm reduction: The project's managers believe weaker-strength alcohol may allow social services to work more constructively with addicts (Picture: Alamy)

The study found Xanthohumol, a compound in the hops used to flavour beer, is able to protect the brain from degenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Xanthohumol or Xn, which is known to have strong antioxidant properties, was found to protect brain cells from oxidative damage, which is associated with forms of dementia.

Jianguo Fang and his team at Lanzhou University took brain cells from a rat and stress-tested them with Xn in a series of experiments.

And they found the Xn reduced the level of oxidative stress on the cells, a process linked to degenerative diseases.

The study concluded: ‘Our results suggest that Xn might be a potential candidate for the prevention of neurodegenerative disorders.’

However, British scientists have advised against thinking an extra beer a day will keep the Alzheimer’s away.

Previous studies have suggested that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to brain tissue loss, leading to an increased risk of dementia.

Dr Arthur Roach, director of research at Parkinson’s UK, told MailOnine: ‘Many drugs have their origins in natural products.

‘Xanthohumol, the molecule in beer this study focuses on, appears to have protective effects on cells grown in the lab similar to those lost in Parkinson’s. It certainly does not suggest drinking a pint a day could stave off the condition.

‘This is a very early step, and only further work will indicate whether this could lead to new drugs for Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.’

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