Beer health benefit
June 2 2016 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.


Beer, drank in moderation, may have similar health advantages as other alcoholic drinks such as wine. Beer contains antioxidants, so the beneficial effects of drinking on the cardiovascular system are not confined to wine. There is increasing evidence that the benefits of moderate drinking are more related to the alcohol, whatever the nature of the drink, than to a particular beverage, although the polyphenols in red wine are quite beneficial.


Beer flavonoids are healthy

Researchers are focusing on flavonoid constituents such as xanthohumol that come from the hops herb used to produce beer. These beer flavonoids activate proteins that decrease the viability of prostate cancer cells. Other research shows that they block the enzyme aromatase, suggesting potential benefits against breast cancer. However, there's only a tiny amount of these compounds in a bottle of beer. But don't be surprised to see new beer or hops extracts coming out promoted for various health conditions.

Benefit of Beer for health

Beer contains nutrients and other properties that encourage good health. In some epidemiological studies, people who drank beer in moderation were less likely to develop coronary heart disease than those who drank other drinks. There is also beneficial changes to the platelets -- particles in the blood involved in clotting -- and in the amount of fibrinogen, another factor in clotting, present in the blood. Beer drinkers suffer less frequently from kidney stones, and it is now becoming accepted that drinking beer in moderation reduces the incidence of diabetes and osteoporosis, though drinking to excess may increase the risk of both. Beer drinkers are convinced that their tipple's wholesome ingredients, including malted barley, hops and yeast, contribute to a healthy balanced diet. Beer drinking in moderation is not always responsible for a large belly: glass for glass, beer is less fattening than apple juice or milk, although it is more pleasurable to down a six pack of beer than six glasses of apple juice.
   Short-term and low to moderate beer consumption positively affects plasma lipid levels, plasma antioxidant and anticoagulant activities.


Pabst Blue Ribbon beer


Beer for Prostate health

A main ingredient in beer may help prevent prostate cancer and enlargement, according to a new study. But researchers say don't rush out to stock the refrigerator because the ingredient is present in such small amounts that a person would have to drink more than 17 beers to benefit. Oregon State University researchers say the compound xanthohumol, found in hops, inhibits a specific protein in the cells along the surface of the prostate gland. The protein acts like a signal switch that turns on a variety of animal and human cancers, including prostate cancer. Cancer typically results from uncontrolled cell reproduction and growth. Xanthohumol belongs to a group of plant compounds called flavonoids, which can trigger the programmed cell death that controls growth. Xanthohumol was first discovered in hops in 1913, but its health effects were not known until about 10 years ago, when it was first studied by Fred Stevens, assistant professor of medicinal chemistry at OSU's College of Pharmacy. Last fall, Stevens published an update on xanthohumol in the journal Phytochemistry that drew international attention. Stevens says it possible for drug companies to develop pills containing concentrated doses of the flavonoid found in the hops used to brew beer. He also says researchers could work to increase the xanthohumol content of hops. There are already a number of food supplements on the market containing hops, and scientists in Germany have developed a beer that contains 10 times the amount of xanthohumol as traditional brews. The drink is being marketed as a healthy beer, but research is still under way to determine if it has any effect against cancer.


Rheumatoid arthritis
Harv Health Lett. 2014.  Beer protects women from rheumatoid arthritis, suggest Harvard researchers.