Skip to content Skip to navigation

Cheers To Your Health!

Cheers To Your Health!

Some ingredients in beer could have health benefits.

Cheers to your Health!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 20:15

Marsha Lewis, Contributing Producer

Beer is one of the most popular beverages consumed by Americans and now scientists say one of its ingredients may one day be used to treat serious diseases.

Werner Kaminsky, a chemist at the University of Washington in Seattle, ran an experiment to examine a molecule in beer called humulone.

“It actually can introduce a healing effect,” said Kaminsky.

Humulones are made from hops, the ingredient in beer that gives it a bitter flavor. In the right amounts, Kaminsky said, there’s evidence they have beneficial effects on diabetes, cancer and inflammation, and can even aid weight loss.

Kaminsky used high-powered X-rays to examine the structure of the humulone molecules.

He saw how humulone molecules are rearranged during the brewing process and how they could fit together with other molecules in the body like nuts and bolts.

Pairing the humulones with illness-causing molecules correctly could one day be the key to making them into safe and effective drugs. Also, the humulone molecule is as abundant as beer.

“It’s readily available. Hops production is large, so it’s not a compound that is difficult and expensive to make,” said Kaminsky.

The concentration of humulones in beer alone is too low to yield any health benefits, and excessive beer consumption will not lead to good health. But if its benefits are further confirmed, humulones may someday be used to create medications that improve health.


Get Inside the Science:

Beer’s Bitter Compounds Could Help Brew New Medicines

Werner Kaminsky, University of Washington

Filed under


Authorized news sources may reproduce our content. Find out more about how that works. © American Institute of Physics

Author Bio & Story Archive

Marsha Lewis is a freelance producer based in California.  She has won 11 National Telly Awards and nine Regional Emmy Awards for her work in local and national syndicated news.

I’ve dedicated my time to reporting and producing stories focused on medical, science and technology. I created a nationally award winning series dedicated to promoting women and their great accomplishments.  Now I’ve taken that expertise outside the traditional TV news format and broadened the viewership to people around the world.