Xanthohumol is a polyphenol chalcone derived from hops. It is also present in the beer made with hops. Not only do hops improve the quality and taste of beer, but some researchers now believe that the xanthohumol that comes along with them may have beneficial health effects.
Mounting evidence suggests that oxidative damage to neuronal cells contributes to the development of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. J. Fang and co-workers at Lanzhou University (China) hypothesized that xanthohumol’s antioxidant and free-radical–scavenging properties may be able to protect the brain from neuronal cell damage.
The researchers synthesized the compound in seven steps from 1,3,5-trihydroxybenzene and studied its neuroprotective function against oxidative-stress-induced neuronal cell damage in a neuronlike rat pheochromocytoma cell line. They discovered that the α,β-unsaturated ketone structure in xanthohumol activates transcription factor Nrf2, which protects neuronal cells. They believe that their results may be the basis for developing small-molecule neuroprotective agents.
April 7 is National Beer Day, so fill up with xanthohumol. If you can’t wait, April 6 is New Beer’s Eve.
Learn more about this molecule from CAS, the most authoritative and comprehensive source for chemical information.