Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Beer may help against cancer

This is the sort of story I can relate to !!!

ONE of the main ingredients in beer appears to thwart prostate cancer, according to findings released today by researchers at a US university.

However, a person would have to quaff more than 17 pints to imbibe a medically effective dose of xanthohumol, the evident cancer-fighting chemical found in hops, said researcher Emily Ho.

"From my studies, you would have to drink an awful lot of beer to get the amount that I saw," she said. "So the counter effects of the alcohol may outweigh any health benefits from drinking beer."

It was feasible to make pills containing concentrated doses of xanthohumol, a flavonoid, or to bump up the level of the chemical in hops, said study co-author Fred Stevens, of Oregon State University's College of Pharmacy.

Scientists in Germany had already brewed up a beer containing 10 times as much xanthohumol as found with traditional recipes, he said.

"It tastes good," he said of the beer, a microbrew with sales limited to within Germany. "It has a bit of a fresh taste."

The microbrew was marketed as a healthy beer, but any effect on cancer rates had yet to be established, Mr Stevens said.

"Its every man's dream to hear that beer and pizza can prevent cancer," said Richard Atkins, head of the US National Prostate Cancer Coalition, noting that a chemical found in tomato pizza sauce is another believed cancer fighter.

"Our hope is that men know the facts and get tested for prostate cancer. Food no matter how helpful it may be, is not a full preventive for prostate cancer."

While the research regarding xanthohumol is promising, Ms Ho, an assistant professor at the university's College of Health and Human Sciences, cautioned that further study was necessary.

"The one caveat is that all our work is done in a laboratory system using cultured cells with purified compounds," she said.

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