Good news, beer lovers. Scientists have found an ingredient in hops that reduces weight gain. Xanthohumol, a natural flavonoid, also lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Researchers at Oregon State University fed mice a high-fat diet. Those who were given the highest amount of xanthohumol dropped their LDL, or “bad” cholesterol 80 percent. In addition, insulin levels dropped 42 percent, and their level of IL-6, a biomarker of inflammation, dropped 78 percent.
The lab rats gained weight because of their diet and because they were growing; however, those who received xanthohumol gained 22 percent less weight than animals who were eating the same amount of food.
Xanthohumol appears to increase oxygen consumption and metabolic rate, which affects weight control.
Cristobal Miranda, a research assistant professor with OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute and lead author on this study, explained: “This is the first time we’ve seen one compound with the potential to address so many health problems. These were very dramatic improvements.”
Further research is necessary to determine the efficacy and safety in humans.
“After further study, this might provide an effective treatment for metabolic syndrome at a very low cost,” Miranda said.
Xanthohumol is found naturally in hops and beer. However, the university researchers used a dose of 350 milligrams per day, “which far exceeds any amount that could be obtained by ordinary dietary intake. A level that high would equate to a beer intake of 3,500 pints per day for a human adult.”
The good news is that a once-a-day dietary supplement could be produced with the correct amount of xanthohumol without requiring you to pass out drunk.