6. Moderate Beer Drinkers, Rejoice!
Compounds may Help to Treat Metabolic Syndrome

Researchers suggest that certain compounds found in beer could help people with metabolic syndrome. They reveal how a form of xanthohumol (XN) — a flavonoid found in hops, an essential ingredient in beer — and its hydrogenated derivatives may help to improve insulin resistance in people with metabolic syndrome, as well as reverse learning and memory impairments induced by the condition.

Study co-author Fred Stevens, Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University (OSU) Corvallis, USA, and colleagues recently reported their findings in the journal Scientific Reports.

Metabolic syndrome is a condition whereby an individual has at least two of five metabolic disorders. These consists of high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, high triglyceride levels, low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, or "good" cholesterol, and high fasting blood sugar.

In a previous study, Stevens and team pointed to XN as a possible treatment for metabolic syndrome, However, in the human body, XN is converted into an estrogenic metabolite called 8-prenylnaringenin (8-PN), which can promote the growth of breast cancer. Researchers found that in order for the 8-PN to be metabolized, a specific "double bond" is required in the XN molecule. They tested this theory in their new study, where they assessed the effects of XN and two hydrogenated derivatives of XN — α, β-dihydro-XN (DXN) and tetrahydro-XN (TXN) on mice with high-fat diet induced obesity. All three compounds, especially TXN was found to reduce insulin resistance, a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

"Now we have compounds that still have the original beneficial effects but not the side effects". "There are no adverse estrogenic effects, and the liver toxicity induced by the high-fat diet is mitigated. Our mouse study showed that XN, DXN, and TXN are not hepatotoxic." Stevens adds.

The researchers also found that all the three compounds led to improvements in spatial learning and memory. They believe this finding "could be important" for people who experience cognitive impairments as a result of metabolic syndrome.

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