Compounds in Beer Could Help Develop New Medicines

Researchers at the University of Washington have determined the molecular structure of certain compounds found in beer that give the brew its bitter flavor and confer health benefits. 

What's the Latest Development?


Researchers at the University of Washington have determined the molecular structure of certain compounds found in beer that give the brew its bitter flavor. Led by Werner Kaminsky, associate professor of chemistry, scientists "used a process called X-ray crystallography to figure out the exact structure of those acids, humulone molecules, and some of their derivatives, produced from hops in the brewing process." That structure is important to researchers who want to incorporate those substances, and their health effects, into new pharmaceuticals.

What's the Big Idea?

Exactly which form humulone molecules take determines what is called the molecule's "handedness," according to Kaminsky, and that is important to understanding how the molecule would react with other chemicals in a drug development process. The authors of the study point out that while "excessive beer consumption cannot be recommended to propagate good health, isolated humulones and their derivatives can be prescribed with documented health benefits." Beer and its bittering acids, in moderation, have beneficial effects on diabetes, some forms of cancer, inflammation, and perhaps even weight loss.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at R&D

Related Articles
Playlists
Keep reading Show less

Five foods that increase your psychological well-being

These five main food groups are important for your brain's health and likely to boost the production of feel-good chemicals.

Mind & Brain

We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.

Keep reading Show less

For the 99%, the lines are getting blurry

Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.

What is the middle class now, anyway? (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs

For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.

Keep reading Show less