Beer's Bitter Compounds Could Help Brew New Medicines
Researchers employing a century-old observational technique have determined the precise configuration of humulones. Humulones are the substances derived from hops that give beer its distinctive flavor. This might not sound like a big deal to the average homebrewer, but the findings overturn results reported in scientific literature in the last 40 years and could lead to new pharmaceuticals to treat diabetes, some types of cancer and other maladies. "Now that we have the right results, what happens to the bitter hops in the beer-brewing process makes a lot more sense," said Werner Kaminsky, a University of Washington research associate professor of chemistry. Kaminsky is the lead author of a paper describing the findings, published in the January journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition. There is documentation that beer and its bittering acids, in moderation, have beneficial effects on diabetes, some forms of cancer, inflammation and perhaps even weight loss.