Οφέλη για την υγεία του «λυκίσκου» – οι ενώσεις λυκίσκου στην μπύρα μπορεί να προστατεύουν από τη νόσο του Αλτσχάιμερ

Ο λυκίσκος είναι βασικό συστατικό της γεύσης και του αρώματος της μπύρας. Οι ενώσεις που εξάγονται από τα άνθη του λυκίσκου μπορούν να αναστείλουν τη συσσώρευση αμυλοειδών βήτα πρωτεϊνών που συνδέεται με τη νόσο του Αλτσχάιμερ σε πιάτα εργαστηρίου, σύμφωνα με νέα έρευνα.

Η μπύρα είναι ένα από τα παλαιότερα και πιο δημοφιλή ποτά στον κόσμο. Λυκίσκος, τα άνθη (ή κώνοι) του φυτού λυκίσκου Humulus lupulus, κάνουν την μπύρα πικρή και αποτελούν βασικό συστατικό της γεύσης και του αρώματος της μπύρας. Η χαρακτηριστική, πικρή γεύση του λυκίσκου που χρησιμοποιείται για να αρωματίσει τις πολλές ποικιλίες μπύρας είναι κάτι που κάποιοι λατρεύουν και άλλοι μισούν.

Τώρα οι επιστήμονες ανακάλυψαν ότι ένα ιδιαίτερα «λακωτικό» ποτό μπορεί να έχει μοναδικά οφέλη για την υγεία. Σύμφωνα με πρόσφατη έρευνα, χημικές ουσίες που εξάγονται από άνθη λυκίσκου μπορούν να αναστείλουν τη συσσώρευση αμυλοειδών βήτα πρωτεϊνών, η οποία σχετίζεται με[{” attribute=””>Alzheimer’s disease (AD). These findings were recently published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience, a scientific journal of the American Chemical Society.

Alzheimer’s disease is a debilitating neurodegenerative disease, often marked by memory loss and personality changes in older adults. Part of the difficulty in treating the disease is the time lag between the start of underlying biochemical processes and the onset of symptoms, with several years separating them. This means that irreversible damage to the nervous system occurs before one even realizes that they may have the disease. Accordingly, preventative strategies and therapeutics that can intervene before symptoms appear are of increasing interest.

Happy Friends Raising Beer Glasses

Although drinking beer may not deliver the Alzheimer’s disease benefits from this discovery, the fact that compounds from hops could serve as the basis for nutraceuticals that combat the development of AD is a reason to celebrate.

One of these strategies involves “nutraceuticals,” or foods that have some type of medicinal or nutritional function. The hop flowers used to flavor beers have been explored as one of these potential nutraceuticals, with previous studies suggesting that the plant could interfere with the accumulation of amyloid beta proteins associated with AD. So, Cristina Airoldi, Alessandro Palmioli, and colleagues wanted to investigate which chemical compounds in hops had this effect.

To identify these compounds, the team of scientists created and characterized extracts of four common varieties of hops using a method similar to that used in the brewing process. In tests, they found that the extracts had antioxidant properties and could prevent amyloid beta proteins from clumping in human nerve cells. The most successful extract was from the Tettnang hop, found in many types of lagers and lighter ales.

When that extract was separated into fractions, the one containing a high level of polyphenols showed the most potent antibiotic and aggregation-inhibiting activity. It also promoted processes that allow the body to clear out misfolded, neurotoxic proteins.

Finally, the research team tested the Tettnang extract in a C. elegans model and found that it protected the worms from AD-related paralysis, though the effect was not very pronounced. The researchers say that although this work may not justify drinking more bitter brews, it shows that hop compounds could serve as the basis for nutraceuticals that combat the development of AD.

Reference: “Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention through Natural Compounds: Cell-Free, In Vitro, and In Vivo Dissection of Hop (Humulus lupulus L.) Multitarget Activity” by Alessandro Palmioli, Valeria Mazzoni, Ada De Luigi, Chiara Bruzzone, Gessica Sala, Laura Colombo, Chiara Bazzini, Chiara Paola Zoia, Mariagiovanna Inserra, Mario Salmona, Ivano De Noni, Carlo Ferrarese, Luisa Diomede and Cristina Airoldi, 25 October 2022, ACS Chemical Neuroscience.
DOI: 10.1021/acschemneuro.2c00444

The authors acknowledge funding from the Italian Ministry of University and Research (MUR).

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