November 17 2008 post: A group of researchers, including Prof. Aggarwal, tested xanthohumol (XN), a compound extracted from the hop plant, discovering that it has anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative and antiangiogenic properties. Their report was published in the October 24 2008 issue of “Blood.” The abstract (http://tinyurl.com/5q55w2) gives us enough food for thought: XN potentiated TNF-induced apoptosis in leukemia and myeloma cells. The words “apoptosis” in the same sentence as “myeloma cells” always make my day.
You can go read about all of xanthohumol‘s other properties, including the downregulation of the infamous hyperactive NF-kappaB (hurrah!). But the important thing is that xanthohumol causes the death of leukemic cells. Yes!
Okay, but what is xanthohumol’s connection to beer? Stefano and other beer connoisseurs probably already knew this, but it was news to me: the hop plant gives aroma and bitterness to beer. And its compound xanthohumol was first isolated thirteen years or so ago by Oregon State University beer drin…I mean, researchers. They discovered that it inhibited tumour growth and enzymes that activate cancer cells.
We shouldn’t forget that lab studies undoubtedly use a pure compound, whereas the one that is found in most beers is probably not so pure. Still, it’s better than nothing. From what I read, if you want your beer to have a higher hop content, choose ale, stout or porter. The darker, the better, apparently (?). I have a feeling that the bitterer beers contain more hops and would thus be preferable to sweeter-tasting beers. But hey, I could be really wrong about that.
February 5 2009 post: Also, an IL-1 beta inhibitor: http://tinyurl.com/dc8kvg Found in beer.