03 Mar 2006
Scientists at Innsbruck Medical University have succeeded in demonstrating the anti-inflammatory effect of beer extracts. In vitro experiments conducted at the Division of Biological Chemistry at the Innsbruck Biocenter by Prof. Dietmar Fuchs and his team on peripheral mononuclear blood cells show that beer extracts block interferon-gamma-induced chemical processes.
Interferon-gamma is one of the most important messengers in inflammatory response and is mainly produced as part of the cellular immune response. Beer extracts inhibit, among other things, the production of neopterin and the degradation of tryptophan by suppressing T-cell response. This suppression might be connected with the calming effect of beer since its normalising effect on the tryptophan balance improves the availability of the "happiness hormone" serotonin.
Alcohol-free beer works just as well
The metabolic paths affected by beer extracts are closely linked with the pathogenesis of chronic diseases in particular. It seems that the ingredients of beer have the potential to have a positive impact on such diseases. The effect resembles that of wine but also that of green as well as black tea, which were studied in Innsbruck and elsewhere a few years ago. The health enhancing effect of such beverages, especially of red wine and green tea, have been known for some time. Of particular interest is a beneficial impact on coronary heart diseases. On the basis of our new findings, beer must be added to the list of beverages with potentially anti-inflammatory components, Prof. Fuchs explained. As with wine, this must of course be weighed against the negative effects and dangers of drinking alcohol. The effect of the beer extracts discovered in Innsbruck, however, is not only very similar in all tested types of beer but also unrelated to their alcohol content. The effects could indeed be observed on extracts of alcohol-free beers, our findings must therefore not be understood as an encouragement to drink alcohol, concluded professor Fuchs.
INNSBRUCK, MEDIZINISCHE UNIVERSITAET
Communications, Public Relations & Media,