Washington D.C.: Turns out, a certain compound found in one of the main ingredients of beer can actually lower cholesterol, blood sugar and weight gain, suggests a recent study.
The Oregon State University study identified specific intake levels of xanthohumol, a natural flavonoid found in hops that significantly improved some of the underlying markers of metabolic syndrome in laboratory animals and also reduced weight gain.
The findings that was focused on "Polyphenols and Health" and they suggest a possible new approach to issues such as human obesity, high cholesterol and elevated glucose.
In this research, laboratory mice were fed a high-fat diet, and given varying levels of xanthohumol. Compared to animals given none of this supplement, the highest dosage of xanthohumol given to laboratory rats cut their LDL, or "bad" cholesterol 80 percent; their insulin level 42 percent; and their level of IL-6, a biomarker of inflammation, 78 percent.
Because they were still growing, eating a rich diet, gaining weight and becoming obese, the weight of the lab animals increased, but by 22 percent less in those receiving xanthohumol, even though all animals ate the same amount of food. Intake of xanthohumol appears to increase their oxygen consumption and metabolic rate, with implications for weight control.
"This is the first time we've seen one compound with the potential to address so many health problems," said lead author Cristobal Miranda. "These were very dramatic improvements."
More research will be required to show safety and efficacy in humans, the researchers said.
Xanthohumol is found naturally in hops and beer, but the highest level used in this research was 60 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day. This corresponds to a human equivalent dose of 350 milligrams per day for a 70-kilogram person, which far exceeds any amount that could be obtained by ordinary dietary intake. A level that high would equate to a beer intake of 3,500 pints per day for a human adult.
The study is published in Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics.