New Study Finds That Beer May Help Fight Alzheimer’s Disease

Perhaps one of the most dreadful parts of aging is the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease. The neurodegenerative disease not only affects the elderly, but also their friends and family.

In Japan, there are reportedly around 4.6 million patients who have dementia and 70% of them are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Because of Japan’s ever aging population, the number shows no signs of slowing down.

But a new study conducted by one of Japan’s largest breweries, Kirin, Tokyo University and Gakushuin University showed that components found in beer may shed some light on preventing  the dreadful disease, RocketNews24 reported.

Many believe that a peptide called amyloid beta plays a key role in triggering Alzheimer’s. As a person ages, this substance accumulates in the brain which then causes cognitive problems.

In the recent study, it was found that the accumulation of the peptide amyloid beta can be reduced by a steady diet of iso-alpha acids which are produced when hops are cooked to make beer. It also gives the beer a bitter taste. The iso-alpha acids promote the production of immune cells in the brain called microglia which is essential in keeping amyloid beta at low levels before they can cause too much damage.

The researchers fed mice food which contains iso-alpha acids. The results show that the mice were left with 50% of amyloid beta in their brains. Moreover, it also showed better cognitive functions compared to other mice.

Of course, any food or beverage with heated hops should contain this brain-strengthening substance. As a good rule of thumb, it seems like the more bitter the taste, the better it is for you.

According to ALZ Organization, Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that target’s a person’s memory, thinking, and behavior. The symptoms of this disease get worse as time goes by. Because it is a progressive disease, memory loss seems mild at first, but during the late stages, individuals who have Alzheimer’s may end up losing the ability to carry a conversation and respond to their environment.

Image via Flickr / Quinn Dombrowski

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