New Study Shows Chemical In Beer Prevents Alzheimer’s And Parkinson’s

health
A new study conducted in China suggests that “beer is good for the brain.” According to to an article in the Inquisitr, here’s why. “The beer draws its superpowers from hops, the female flowers of the hop plant Humulus lupulus, which are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer. However, apart from contributing to the signature taste of the beer, hops releases a chemical — Xanthohumol — that has the potential to fight off neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.” These findings come from a journal article, with the decidedly unsexy title Xanthohumol, a Polyphenol Chalcone Present in Hops, Activating Nrf2 Enzymes To Confer Protection against Oxidative Damage in PC12 Cells, which was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, published by the American Chemical Society.

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Here’s the abstract:

Xanthohumol (2′,4′,4-trihydroxy-6′-methoxy-3′-prenylchalcone, Xn), a polyphenol chalcone from hops (Humulus lupulus), has received increasing attention due to its multiple pharmacological activities. As an active component in beers, its presence has been suggested to be linked to the epidemiological observation of the beneficial effect of regular beer drinking. In this work, we synthesized Xn with a total yield of 5.0% in seven steps and studied its neuroprotective function against oxidative-stress-induced neuronal cell damage in the neuronlike rat pheochromocytoma cell line PC12. Xn displays moderate free-radical-scavenging capacity in vitro. More importantly, pretreatment of PC12 cells with Xn at submicromolar concentrations significantly upregulates a panel of phase II cytoprotective genes as well as the corresponding gene products, such as glutathione, heme oxygenase, NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase, thioredoxin, and thioredoxin reductase. A mechanistic study indicates that the α,β-unsaturated ketone structure in Xn and activation of the transcription factor Nrf2 are key determinants for the cytoprotection of Xn. Targeting the Nrf2 by Xn discloses a previously unrecognized mechanism underlying the biological action of Xn. Our results demonstrate that Xn is a novel small-molecule activator of Nrf2 in neuronal cells and suggest that Xn might be a potential candidate for the prevention of neurodegenerative disorders.

This is not the first time such findings have been studied, so this appears to be yet another confirmation in the growing body of positive health benefits of moderate beer drinking. What the team of Chinese scientists found was a “previously unrecognized mechanism underlying the biological action of Xn,” suggesting Xanthohumol “might be a potential candidate for the prevention of neurodegenerative disorders.”

The Inquisitr concludes:

Hops have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. However, its efficacy to prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s was discovered only recently. Neuronal cells — which are in the brain, spine, and nerves — are in limited supply over one’s lifetime. These cells are especially susceptible to stress. This stress is thought to be one of the ways brain-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s begin.

Beer, as I probably don’t need to remind you, is at least one great way to relieve stress.

Patent No. 642460A: Apparatus For Producing Wort, Hop-Beer, Washing Filter-Pulp, &c.

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Today in 1900, US Patent 642460 A was issued, an invention of Emil Kersten, for his “Apparatus for Producing Wort, Hop-Beer, Washing Filter-Pulp, &c.” There’s no Abstract, but the description states the “object of the invention is to provide a new and improved apparatus for use in breweries for washing and sterilizing the pulp used in filtering or for mashing and hopping purposes, to agitate and leach the pulverized or ground malt with water for producing wort, and to treat the wort with the hops in such a manner as to produce an unfermented liquor of a high quality and in such a state as to facilitate the fermenting process.”

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Beer Birthday: Ralph Olson

hop-blooded
Today is Ralph Olson’s 64th birthday. Ralph was the general manager/co-owner of HopUnion, a co-op that supplies hops to many of the craft breweries. Ralph’s pretty much retired but can still be seen at occasional beer events throughout the country. He’s been a good friend to and very supportive of the craft beer industry. Join me in wishing Ralph a very happy birthday.

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Ralph Olson, the Big Cheese from HopUnion. If you look carefully in between his “Sponsor” and “Exhibitor” badge you can see his title really is officially “the Big Cheese.

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Ralph and me at the end of the brewer’s reception at GABF in 2007.

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Dave Keene, from the Toronado, Dave Pyle, Ralph and Becky Pyle, who are also with HopUnion, along with my friend Dave Suurballe.

Patent No. 3558326A: Process For Isomerizing And Purifying Hop Extracts

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Today in 1971, US Patent 3558326 A was issued, an invention of William J. Durant, William C. Herwig, and Donald H. Westermann, assigned to Miller Brewing, for their “Process for Isomerizing and Purifying Hop Extracts.” There’s no Abstract, but they describe it as a “hop extract substantially free from waxes, oils, and nonacidic hop components is prepared by treating a waterimmiscible solvent solution of hop extract with an aqueous alkaline solution to isomerize acid hop components in the aqueous phase. The waxes, oils, and nonacidic hop components enter the nonaqueous phase and are removed with the latter. The aqueous phase is acidied, more solvent is added, and the hop acids enter the solvent phase and are recovered therefrom. The extract is used in making beer of improved light stability.”

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Patent No. 3231384A: Continuous Boiling And Hopping Of Brewers’ Wort

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Today in 1966, US Patent 3231384 A was issued, an invention of William Ernest Parker and Francis Lloyd Rigby, assigned to Canadian Breweries Ltd., for their “Continuous Boiling and Hopping of Brewers’ Wort.” There’s no Abstract, but partway down in the description is this:

The method of the present invention generally comprises forming a continuously flowing stream of hot brewers wort, causing said stream to flow in a substantially horizontal path, continuously introducing a predetermined mass of hops to said stream, heating said flowing wort, venting said stream of undesirable volatiles above said path of flow and controlling the time flow ratio of said wort and hops as to hop said wort to desired degree, and finally continuously discharging spent and hopped wort from said stream. This may be carried out with the wort and hops flowing counter-current to one another, discharging spent hops at one end of the path and hopped wort at the other. Alternatively, it may be carried out in a co-current flow.

The method may be carried out in particularly simple apparatus which may take the form, for counter-current flow, of a substantially horizontally disposed tubular vessel with provision for introducing wort towards one end thereof and hops in the other end thereof and which includes a perforated auger moving the hops in countercurrent flow to the continuously flowing wort as to cause spent hops to discharge at one end of the apparatus and hopped wort at the other, and which is a preferred type of apparatus proposed although such counter-current flow might be achieved by apparatus of other design. For cocurrent flow, the wort is introduced at one end while the hops are introduced adjacent that end and/or selectively along the length of the vessel.

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A History Of Hops In The Willamette Valley

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Here’s an interesting look at the history of hops in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the second-largest growing area for hops in America. Although the production values remind me of an elementary school slideshow presentation, complete with monotone narrator, there’s a lot of good information nonetheless. Based on some of the information presented, I’d guess it was made in the pre-craft era before 1980, but when exactly is anybody’s guess. All told, the three parts of the documentary run a little less than 30 minutes. Thus endeth the lesson for today.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

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Willamette Valley Hops

Patent No. 356323A: Machine For Picking And Separating Hops

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Today in 1887, US Patent 356323 A was issued, an invention of Franklin Leonard, for his “Machine for Picking and Separating Hops.” There’s no Abstract, and the description is hard to read, as well, but it’s a “new and improved Machine for Picking and Separating Hops from the Vines.”
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Patent No. 3298835A: Process For Production Of A Hop Concentrate

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Today in 1967, US Patent 3298835 A was issued, an invention of Murray Peter John Andrew, Clarke Brian James, Hildebrand Robert Peter, and Harold Frank Vincent, and assigned to Carlton & United Breweries, for their “Process for Production of a Hop Concentrate.” Essentially it’s a “process for the production of a hop concentrate wherein the flavour imparting constituents of hops are increased by extracting and then converting inactive constituents to active flavour imparting constituents.” There’s no Abstract, but this is from the description:

The process of this invention involves the utilization of those constituents which are regarded as relatively inactive or which do not normally impart the desired flavour characteristics to brewed beverages and which are not converted to any substantial degree to active flavour-imparting constituents during treatment by existing. processes. In the process of our co-pending application the relatively inactive hop constituents of a-acids known as humulones are converted to the more active iso-humulones by the process of isomerization. It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved process for the production of a hop concentrate for brewing purposes, whereby the lupulones content of the p-acids of hops may be utilized in addition to the humulone content of the a-acids, thereby increasing the flavouring or bittering characteristics of the hop concentrate final product for the production of a brewed beverage.

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Patent No. 3364033A: Method Of Preparing Hop Extracts

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Today in 1968, US Patent 3364033 A was issued, an invention of Lars O. Spetsig, assigned to Sweden’s Stockholms Bryggerier Ab, for his “Method of Preparing Hop Extracts.” There’s no Abstract, but here’s his introduction in the description. “This invention relates to a new and improved method of preparing hop extracts for flavoring beer and other fermented malt beverages, in which a more complete utilisation of the hop constituents is achieved.” And further along there’s this:

It has now been discovered that better utilisation of the valuable substances is achieved if the hops are extracted in the following manner. The hops are first treated with Warm water to obtain a tannin extract. This is followed by leaching out the readily soluble bitter substances (among them hulupones) and isomerizing the relatively insoluble humulones to readily soluble isohumulones: by boiling the hops in an aqueous solution of neutral pH to yield a first bitter extract. Rapid boiling at this stage is preferred to counteract oxidation. The vapour boiling off is condensed to form an aromatic extract. Since the most valuable aromatic substances are the last to be distilled off, however, fractionation may be employed to collect two or more separate fractions. Finally, the partially spent hops are oxidised by customary means, e.g. see Swedish Patent No. 150,997, to form a second bitter extract.

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A Beer Bestiary

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A Bestiary is an old-fashioned idea, from the Middles Ages, where various animals and other creatures, often fanciful, mythical and fictitious, were illustrated, and then there was a detailed description of each beast, usually accompanied by an allegorical story with a moral or religious teaching. You can see examples of many of these imaginary creatures at the Medieval Bestiary. A Los Angeles illustrator and graphic designer, Ian O’Phelan, has created a modern version, which he calls a “Beer Bestiary.” With just four mythical creatures in his bestiary, his fantastic four you’ll likely recognize, if not individually, at least for what they can become as a superhero team, your next beer.

Barley Beast
OPhelan-barley
Virginal Hops
OPhelan-hops
Water Bear
OPhelan-water
Cockatrice d’Yeast
OPhelan-yeast