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Protect your brain with beer

New study says a compound in hops could protect against Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

My trip to Binny's, outside Chicago.

My trip to Binny’s, outside Chicago.

Recently, I’ve been recovering from some minor surgery, so I cut back on my beer consumption. I feel like craft beer should be earned (or at least it’s more appreciated that way) so I went so far as not having any beer for a while.

OK, I didn’t have any beer for a day. That was a big deal for me.

But now I’m easing back into running again and returning to my standard two glasses of beer a night, usually shared with my wife. I recently stocked up on Deschutes’ Fresh Squeezed IPA, Upland’s Dragonfly IPA and others from a weekend trip to Binny’s outside Chicago.

Thankfully, by returning to my nightcap I’m potentially improving my long-term health. A new study out finds that a compound found in hops could protect the brain against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Xanthohumol has already been linked to anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects, and when tested on the brain cells of lab rats it helped to “reduce oxidative stress on the brain cells,” according to the study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 

If you’re not up to date on the effects of oxidative stress, it’s not something you want happening to you. It’s believed to cause “adult neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease,” according to the study’s authors.

If that’s not enough of a reason to drink a daily beer, I’ve written here in the past about beer’s positive effects on the brain and athletic performance.

So it turns out that beer can do the opposite of the cliché that it destroys brain cells. It saves them.

Thanks to PsyBlog for the heads up.

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Tim Cigelske is DRAFT's Beer Runner. (Beer Run•ner [noun]: Someone equally devoted to fine beer appreciation and an active, healthy lifestyle. Ex. "John downed four microbrews at the triathlon finish line. He's a total beer runner.”) Follow Tim on Twitter @TheBeerRunner, and email him at beerrunner [at]

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  • Randy says:

    I dunno, I’m still gonna go with Cliff Clavin on the brain cell thing:

    “Well ya see, Norm, it’s like this… A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That’s why you always feel smarter after a few beers.”

  • bob says:

    Sure that wasn’t taken in Wisconsin? Got Ale Asylum and Sprecher (great ginger beer for dark n stormys btw) and Capitol, leinies, O’so and Central Waters just off the top of my head.

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