Beer May Help Fight Off Viruses
December 8, 2012

Chemical Compound Found In Beer Hops Helps Fight Off Viruses

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

If you're looking to fight off cold-like symptoms during the winter or trying to find a way to keep from contracting a serious respiratory illness this year, you might want to pop the top on a cold one, according to new research coming out of Sapporo Medical University in Japan.

The study, which was funded by Tokyo-based beer maker Sapporo Breweries, has discovered humulone -- a chemical compound that can be found in hops -- was effective in battling off the respiratory syncytial (RS) virus, the Huffington Post reported on Friday.

"The RS virus can cause serious pneumonia and breathing difficulties for infants and toddlers, but no vaccination is available at the moment to contain it," Jun Fuchimoto, a researcher from the company, said in an interview with AFP.

Humulone was also discovered to possess an ability to reduce inflammation related to the virus, according to reports. The only problem is that there is a miniscule amount of the substance in beer, and the scientists say the average individual would have to consume up to 30 12-ounce cans in order to gain any health benefits from the beverage.

However, Fuchimoto's team is looking at ways to overcome that problem.

"We are now studying the feasibility of applying humulone to food or non-alcoholic products," he told a French news agency. "The challenge really is that the bitter taste is going to be difficult for children."

This isn´t the first study to point out the potential health benefits of drinking beer. In a study published online by the European Journal of Epidemiology last November, researchers suggested the beverage could have the same positive cardiovascular effects found in wine.

"In November, Alexis Nasard, Heineken's chief commercial officer, announced that beer was not only natural but 'healthy.' In an interview with CNBC, Nasard also said beer has fewer calories than a lot of things, including a glass of milk," the Huffington Post added.

"However, while experts agree that beer may be beneficial for some people when consumed in moderation, guzzling too much of the brew can also result in heartburn, weight gain, dehydration and a slew of other physical and social hazards that can be caused by drinking too much alcohol," they concluded.