Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Beer for cancer prevention?

I'm finally getting around to the news that xanthohumol, a chemical compound found in hops, may prevent the development of prostate cancer in men, animal studies suggest.

As USA Today reported: The compound in question, xanthohumol, is found in hops — the bitter flavoring agent in beer — and is known to block the male hormone testosterone, which plays a role in the development of prostate cancer.

"We hope that one day we can demonstrate that xanthohumol prevents prostate cancer development, first in animal models and then in humans, but we are just at the beginning," said lead researcher Clarissa Gerhauser, group leader of cancer chemoprevention in the division of epigenomics and cancer risk factors at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg.

Prostate cancer will kill an estimated 27,000 men in 2009, according to federal authorities, so any prevention is surely welcome.

Since xanthohumol is found in hops, it would make sense that hoppier beers would have more xanthohumol. So that's yet another argument, as if you needed one, for picking a good craft beer instead of industrial lagers.

Locally, Dr. Soggy Coaster recommends Ska's ESB, Modus Hoperandi IPA and Decadent Imperial IPA; Steamworks' Conductor Imperial IPA or Carver's Cascade Canyon IPA for your xanthohumol dose.

Of course, drinking too much beer has its detriments to health, but a xanthohumol-rich IPA every now and again won't hurt.


  1. Hop heads rejoice.

  2. Chuck, I remember reading about these phyto-estrogens in a paper written out of Oregon State's food sciences program about 5 years ago. At which point I, coincidentally, started imbibing even more beer.

    Actually, I vaguely recall the paper stating that one would have to drink 10-12 12oz craft beers daily to reap the cancer thwarting benefits of the hops.