(ORDO NEWS) — Experiments on nerve cells and model worms have shown that some components of ordinary hops can slow down the accumulation of amyloid plaques and the development of neurodegeneration processes.
Alzheimer’s disease is an incurable neurodegenerative disease that leads to the destruction of brain structures.
It is accompanied by the accumulation of amyloid plaques, dense clumps of misfolded proteins that damage neurons. However, the exact causes and mechanisms of the development of the disease remain unknown.
The situation is complicated by the fact that the first external symptoms appear years after irreversible brain damage has begun to develop.
Therefore, one of the areas of work of scientists and physicians remains the search for ” nutraceuticals ” – foods and supplements that can help in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
A few years ago, such properties were found in some components of hops.
Now, biologists at the University of Milano Bicocca have turned to the herb again: as part of many beer recipes, it is produced and consumed in large quantities and could be a promising preventative.
The scientists obtained extracts from four common hop varieties using methods similar to those used in brewing.
They were treated with cultures of human nerve cells, showing that all extracts exhibit antioxidant properties and prevent the accumulation of amyloid plaques.
Tettnanger, a rather rare and valuable variety that grows in the southwest of Germany, showed itself better than the rest.
The scientists divided the extract of this hop into components, having carried out new experiments and found out that the polyaromatic fraction exhibits the greatest useful activity.
Finally, it was tested on the nematode C. elegans , a GM line that serves as a model for the study of Alzheimer’s disease.
The effect was not too great, although it did reduce the manifestations of neurodegeneration in them.
The authors conclude that although their work does not imply that beer is beneficial or protective against Alzheimer’s disease, the valuable properties of hops clearly need further study.
It is possible that nutraceuticals with pronounced preventive properties will someday be created on its basis.
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