Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Anti-cancer Compound In Beer Gaining Interest

Date:
November 25, 2005
Source:
Oregon State University
Summary:
A compound found only in hops and the main product they are used in - beer - has rapidly gained interest as a micronutrient that might help prevent many types of cancer.

A compound found only in hops and the main product they are used in - beer - has rapidly gained interest as a micronutrient that might help prevent many types of cancer.

Related Articles


Researchers at Oregon State University first discovered the cancer-related properties of this flavonoid compound called xanthohumol about 10 years ago. A recent publication by an OSU researcher in the journal Phytochemistry outlines the range of findings made since then. And many other scientists in programs around the world are also beginning to look at the value of these hops flavonoids for everything from preventing prostate or colon cancer to hormone replacement therapy for women.

"Xanthohumol is one of the more significant compounds for cancer chemoprevention that we have studied," said Fred Stevens, a researcher with OSU's Linus Pauling Institute and an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry in the College of Pharmacy. "The published literature and research on its properties are just exploding at this point, and there's a great deal of interest."

Quite a bit is now known about the biological mechanism of action of this compound and the ways it may help prevent cancer or have other metabolic value. But even before most of those studies have been completed, efforts are under way to isolate and market it as a food supplement. A "health beer" with enhanced levels of the compound is already being developed.

"We can't say that drinking beer will help prevent cancer," Stevens said. "Most beer has low levels of this compound, and its absorption in the body is also limited. But if ways can be developed to significantly increase the levels of xanthohumol or use it as a nutritional supplement - that might be different. It clearly has some interesting cancer chemopreventive properties, and the only way people are getting any of it right now is through beer consumption."

Xanthohumol was actually first discovered in 1913, isolated as a yellow substance found in hops. Researchers started studying its molecular structure in the 1950s, but for decades the only people who showed any real interest in it were brewers, who were trying to learn more about how hops help impart flavor to beer.

In the 1990s, researchers at OSU, including Stevens and toxicologist Don Buhler, began to look at the compound from another perspective - its anti-cancer properties. It showed toxicity to human breast, colon and ovarian cancer cells, and most recently has shown some activity against prostate cancer in OSU studies.

Xanthohumol appears to have several mechanisms of action that relate to its cancer preventive properties, scientists say. It, and other related flavonoid compounds found in hops, inhibit a family of enzymes, commonly called cytochromes P450 that can activate the cancer process. It also induces activity in a "quinone reductase" process that helps the body detoxify carcinogens. And it inhibits tumor growth at an early stage.

In recent years, it has also been shown that some prenylflavonoids found in hops are potent phytoestrogens, and could ultimately have value in prevention or treatment of post-menopausal "hot flashes" and osteoporosis - but no proper clinical trials have been done to study this.

Information about these compounds appears to be spreading. Hop-containing herbal preparations are already being marketed for breast enlargement in women, the OSU research report said, without waiting for tests to verify their safety or efficacy. And a supposed "health" beer is being developed in Germany with higher levels of xanthohumol.

It's possible, scientists say, that hops might be produced or genetically engineered to have higher levels of xanthohumol, specifically to take advantage of its anti-cancer properties. Some beers already have higher levels of these compounds than others. The lager and pilsner beers commonly sold in domestic U.S. brews have fairly low levels of these compounds, but some porter, stout and ale brews have much higher levels.

Ideally, researchers say, cancer chemoprevention is targeted at the early stages of cancer development and prevented by long-term exposure to non-toxic nutrients, food supplements or drugs that prevent the formation of cancers. With its broad spectrum activity, presence in food products, and ability to inhibit cancer at low concentrations, xanthohumol might be a good candidate for that list, experts say.

Xanthohumol also appears to have a role as a fairly powerful antioxidant - even more than vitamin E. And it has shown the ability to reduce the oxidation of LDL, or bad cholesterol.

###

About the Linus Pauling Institute: The Linus Pauling Institute at OSU is a world leader in the study of micronutrients and their role in promoting optimum health or preventing and treating disease. Major areas of research include heart disease, cancer, aging and neurodegenerative disease.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oregon State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Oregon State University. "Anti-cancer Compound In Beer Gaining Interest." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 November 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051125105426.htm>.
Oregon State University. (2005, November 25). Anti-cancer Compound In Beer Gaining Interest. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051125105426.htm
Oregon State University. "Anti-cancer Compound In Beer Gaining Interest." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051125105426.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) The British ship RFA ARGUS arrived in Sierra Leone to deliver supplies and equipment to help the fight against Ebola. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins