(NaturalNews) Okay beer drinkers, drink to your health! Only kidding. Research over the last few decades has determined a compound from hops used to brew beer, humulone, has a wide array of potential health benefits, from curing viral infections and reversing diabetes to curing certain cancers.
But before you start chugging, one of the researchers, Jun Tashimoto, warned that you would have to consume 30 12-ounce cans of beer a day before achieving major health benefits.
Nevertheless, the Czech Republic encourages menopausal women to drink beer moderately for its phytoestrogen content.
It's not the beer, it's the hops
The hops are used in brewing beer to give it a bitter taste, and that bitter taste comes from humulone, or humulon or a-Luulic acid. But apparently it's the hops after brewing, not just the plant itself, that bring the minor health benefits of beer.
Tashimoto led research at the Sapporo Medical University in Japan. In 1995, he discovered with both in vitro (petri dish) and in vivo (animal) studies that humulone could resist a specific virus that causes bronchial inflammation and pneumonia in children. Humulone could reverse the inflammatory damage as well.
Jun Tashimito did the research with others at the university, but according to one source, his day job is with the Sapporo Brewery, makers of that fine Japanese dark semi-bitter brew that's imported into the USA. Well, that's okay. His was not the only research on humulone.
Besides, his findings were to determine if humulone from brewers' hops could be extracted for other medicinal uses, including adding it to other foods and non-alcoholic beverages.
Several other international studies have discovered other medicinal possibilities with humulone. A 1995 study using mice from the College of Pharmacy, Nihon University, in Chiba, Japan determined that humulone had anti-cancer properties.
This may help you resolve any concerns with conflict of interest from Tashimoto. There have been several other international studies over the past four decades confirming the potential of humulone. Google "humulon research" and see.
So what's come of all this research? Until very recently, nothing but cautionary restraint and laboratory glee.
A seemingly minor breakthrough of major importance
Along came University of Washington's research professor Werner Kaminsky to finally map and confirm the stereochemistry of a specific aspect of hops' humulone, the one that winds up in beer, not just extracts from the hops flower.
Stereochemistry is used by biochemical scientists to map the atomic structure of molecules. The word stereo references the 3D mapping involved with biochemistry.
Orientation is important for isolating molecular compounds in biochemistry. Exact relative locations, distances, and angles among atoms in a molecule have to be set precisely in three dimensions to determine what can be safely used for pharmaceutical research to target specific health issues.
Kaminsky expressed this importance by referring to the thalidomide incident, where thalidomide was found to be safe for a pregnant woman's morning sickness, but raised havoc on her unborn fetus.
Many babies worldwide were born severely malformed. Thalidomide was removed as a morning sickness remedy, but is still used for leprosy and other issues.
Different metabolic processes alter the molecular structure of an apparently safe extract or synthetic compound into an ineffective or very nasty version of the same compound. Hence the importance of stereochemisty.
Werner Kaminsky and colleagues purified and crystallized hops during a beer brewing procedure. Then they crystallized it into salts, enabling Werner to use state of the art X-ray crystallography to map out the beer brewed version of hops' humulone's metamorphosis and compared to the plant's raw form.
Now it's easier to pursue options for putting humulone to use for major illnesses. I'm sure the pharmaceutical company that funded this research, KinDex Theraputics, is ready to roll. Too bad this is strictly a Big Pharma venture.