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Hoppy IPA beers may lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s, study suggests

The Independent logo The Independent 11/11/2022 Lucy Skoulding
iStock-1193474204.jpg © Getty/iStock iStock-1193474204.jpg

Drinking hoppy beers might reduce the risk of getting dementia, according to a new study.

The chemicals which give that unique bitter flavour to IPAs have prevented protein plaques linked to Alzheimer’s from clumping together in lab dishes.

Despite the study, Italian researchers have warned against using this to justify drinking more beer.

Excessive alcohol consumption can cause cognitive issues as it can shrink the brain’s white matter, which is what sends signals to different parts of the brain.

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Every type of beer is made using hop flower extracts which has natural antioxidants in, which is why it’s believed to protect cells in the body.

But Tettnang, which is a hop grown in Germany and used in amber and light lager, which discovered to be the best at clearing protein clumps.

More than one million people in Briton have Alzheimer’s, which is the most common form of dementia.

Researchers at Milano-Bicocca University looked at ‘nutraceuticals’ (foods serving a medicinal or nutritional function) and focused on hop flowers after a previous study found they could impact the brain’s buildup of amyloid beta proteins.

The team looked at four common varieties of hops using a very similar method that’s used to make beer.

Researchers then exposed the hops to to human nerve cells and amyloid proteins.

Tettnang was the top performing hop, and it’s used in many lagers and lighter ales.

It’s also found in herbal teas and some soft drinks.

While the findings might not suggest people should be drinking more beer, it has found that hops could be added to foods that could reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases if consumed.

What is Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative and progressive disease of the brain when build-up of abnormal proteins cause nerve cells to die.

Functions of the brain like memory, orintation and ability to think are lost as cells die.

The progress of the disease is also very gradual and slow. Patients usually live for five to seven years after being diagnosed but can live for ten to 15.

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