Italy: Hops, the new weapon against Alzheimer's Disease

Hop extracts as used in the production of beer could help to preventing Alzheimer’s disease (AD)  which is a common form of dementia, Italian researchers have suggested in a recent study. The scientists under the lead of  Dr. Alessandro Palmioli − Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences, at the University of Milano-Bicocca tested the four different hop varieties, Cascade, Saaz, Tettnang, and Summit for their ability to block amyloid beta proteins from clumping around cells which can lead to AD.

The researchers exposed the hops to amyloid proteins and human nerve cells in lab dishes and watched the effects. The sensational outcome of the study was that hops are indeed able to block the proteins from clumping around cells. In addition, hops contain antioxidant properties believed to protect cells in the body.

Palmiolo and his team dissected the neuroprotective effects of hops and their main constituents, fractionated the extracts and identified a pool of molecular components (feruloyl and p-coumaroylquinic acids,flavan-3-ol glycosides, and procyanidins) mainly responsible for their neuroprotective action.

“Hop is a source of bioactive molecules with synergistic and multitarget activity against the early events underlying AD development,” they concluded “ and it is useful “for the preparation of nutraceuticals […] for the prevention of this pathology.”

And finally, “The identification of natural compounds or natural mixtures, such as nutraceuticals, exploitable for the development of preventive strategies against AD (and other NDs) appears as a better alternative to the treatment of symptoms, as the neuronal damage associated with the disease is irreversible.”

The study titled “Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention through Natural Compounds: Cell-Free, In Vitro, and In Vivo Dissection of Hop (Humulus lupulus L.) Multitarget Activity” was published this week on ACS Chemical Neuroscience (DOI: 10.1021/acschemneuro.2c00444).

Share this article: