A new study shows hops can protect against breast cancer. But read on before you order another round. Hops-a flowering plant that gives beer flavor-have all sorts of benefits.
Might beer drinking affect our hormones? Even just the alcohol in beer can reduce testosterone levels in men, so when beer was tested as a source of estrogens, the alcohol was first removed. Researchers tested the equivalent of one can of beer every day for a month on the hormone levels of postmenopausal women, so as to not confound the results with her own estrogens, and they found significant alterations of hormonal levels during the beer month and then a return to baseline a week afterwards.
Here are the facts. As with any plant, hops contain a wide variety of chemical compounds. Specifically, 8-PN has been shown to bind tightly to estrogen receptors in rat uterus.
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Everybody's favourite diuretic, sleep-inducer, and source of estrogen is also what makes beer taste amazing and refreshing. Hops have long been thought to possess medicinal properties by herbalists, and now modern medicine is catching up. It turns out that the beautiful green buds which impart magical bitterness upon your beer may even help combat breast cancer.
Hops, the flower cones used in beer-making, are also found in dietary supplements designed to help treat post-menopausal symptoms and other conditions. Scientists are now investigating whether an extract from the plant could also help fend off breast cancer. In the ACS journal Chemical Research in Toxicologyone team reports new lab tests on breast cells that support this possibility.
And now new research by experts at the University of Illinois at Chicago has shown that hops could activate chemicals that prevent tumors from developing. The researchers found an ingredient in hops - 6-prenylnarigenin - increased the rate of oestrogen metabolism. In previous reports, the estrogenic activity of 6-PN is so high female hop workers have had disruptions in their menstrual cycles.
Without some additional flavoring, beer is a sickly bland drink. The female flowers strobiles, or cones of hops Humulus lupulus L. The flavoring and preservative properties reflect the complex chemistry of the lupulin glands within the hop flowers.
Hops are the seed cones of the plant Humulus lupulus. They give beer its distinctive flavor, but they may have benefits beyond beer. Postmenopausal women have been taking hops as a way to treat hot flashes without hormone replacement therapy.
The hoppy ales contain phytoestrogens, which are compounds that naturally occur in plants. These phytoestrogens help you get to sleep at night and can be of aid to women going through menopause. Hops do contain 8-prenylnaringenin 8-PNwhich is a phytoestrogen, which is a plant compound that binds to estrogen receptors.