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Monday, April 25, 2016

Could Beer Help You Lose Weight?

Scientists at Oregon State University have identified a compound in hops that alleviates insulin resistance, lowers cholesterol, and potentially helps people (or at least lab rats) lose weight. It's a little too early to start writing that book about the Beer Diet, though.

Reporting their findings in special issue of Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics that was focused on “Polyphenols and Health," the Oregon State scientists discuss the effects of supplementing the diets of laboratory rodents with xanthohumol, a compound found in hops.

When lab animals were given a high-fat diet and the xanthohumol supplement, the rats given xanthohumol had:

  • 80% lower LDL cholesterol,
  • 78% lower IL-6 (a marker of inflammation), and
  • 42% lower insulin, which locks fat in fat cells.
Because the animals were being overfed, they gained weight, but they gained 22% less weight than animals that weren't given xanthohumol.

Xanthohumol also increased oxygen consumption and sped up metabolic rate. It lowered bloodstream levels of a compound called PCKS9, which keeps cholesterol from being cleared from the bloodstream.

The OSU research team noted that they had never seen a compound with as many beneficial effects in preliminary testing.

So what's the catch? The study gave lab rats an amount of xanthohumol that humans could only achieve by drinking 3,500 pints of beer per day. It appears that if there is to be a beer-based weight loss miracle, it will have to be taken in the form of a supplement. However, xanthohumol is already available for about $8 a 30-day bottle in the form of Xanthovital by Swanson.

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