Okay this is weird but as the Regimental Brewmeister I feel compelled to inform you that the Mayo Clinic has suggested (not proved but only suggested) that may be preventative for Alzheimer’s Disease.  For those of you who may have forgotten (pun intended), Alzheimer’s often causes memory loss and personality changes.  It generally afflicts the elderly, it’s difficult to treat, the disease actually begins several years before any symptoms show up, and by the time patients are diagnosed, the damage is already done and cannot be reversed.  The best strategy to prevent the onset of this disease is eating nutritious foods.  Some previous research had suggested that hops — the plant added to most brews to give them a variety of bitter, aromatic and sometimes fruity aromas — counteract some of the chemicals that may cause Alzheimer’s.

In a study published recently in the American Chemical Society’s ACS Chemical Neuroscience, Cristina Airoldi and Alessandro Palmioli from the Milan Center for Neuroscience took a closer look at the chemical compounds that make up different kinds of hops. They tested a variety of different hops including Saaz (a variety often used for crisp Czech pilsners) Tettnang (a Germany variety used in lighter lagers and ales), Cascade (a fruity and aromatic variety used in many American pale ales and IPAs), and Summit (an American bitter variety often used in IPAs).  Airoldi, Palmioli and their colleagues have now found that the antioxidants within the hops they tested inhibit this clumping of amyloid beta proteins which is one of the ways that Alzheimer’s likely causes damage in human nerve cells.  The compounds are well known for their antibiotic properties.  They prevent spoiling in beer and now we know they also help the body to remove neurotoxic and misfolded proteins. 

If you are a connoisseur of Colonial Beers, you’ll be happy to learn that an extract from the Tettnang and Cascade Hops was the most effective of the four varieties tested.  The team fed hops extract to the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans whose genomes are similar to those of humans when studying degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as the aging process.  The researchers found that the hops extract protected the roundworms from Alzheimer’s-related paralysis in a manner similar to that produced by the drug doxycycline.  These preliminary discoveries don’t mean that you should go out and drink as many heavily hopped beers as you can in the name of Alzheimer’s defense but they do suggest that beers that were brewed with specific varieties and quantities of hops have some nutraceutical properties. 

Published by Michael Carver

My goal is to bring history alive through interactive portrayal of ordinary American life in the late 18th Century (1750—1799) My persona are: Journeyman Brewer; Cordwainer (leather tradesman but not cobbler), Statesman and Orator; Chandler (candle and soap maker); Gentleman Scientist; and, Soldier in either the British Regular Army, the Centennial Army, or one of the various Militia. Let me help you experience history 1st hand!

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