Beer hops, the flowers that add bitterness to the brew, contain acids that may have anticancer properties, a new study has claimed.
Researchers are working on harnessing the anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties of beer hops, and soon they may be able to produce the healthful hops compounds in the laboratory instead of extracting these from plants.
“When researchers extract healthful chemicals from hops, they first have to determine whether they have separated out the specific compounds they are interested in,” said Kristopher Waynant from the University of Idaho in US.
To ensure that scientists are getting the right compounds from hops, Waynant, who led the study, suggests making them from scratch.
He investigated how hops compounds, particularly humulones and lupulones, could be developed in the laboratory in the most efficient way.
Humulones are alpha acids that contain both anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties while lupulones are beta acids that are also important and render healthy effects.
These acids have been shown to be potent cancer cell killers and they also prevent leukaemia cells from clinging to bone in experiments, ‘Tech Times’ reported.
In theory, these acids can be made into cancer-fighting medicine, however, in practice it can be tricky, researchers said. Scientists first need to make sure they are extracting the right acids from hops.
This can be done through separating these acids with the use of liquid chromatography, but for this method to be accurate, the results have to be compared to analytical standards.
This is where the problem lies as there are no standards yet for the individual compounds. To address the problem, Waynant is attempting to synthesise the two acids in the lab.