View Full Version : Beer Battles Cancer

01-23-2005, 11:31 PM
From the "New Scientist"....

It sounds like the perfect excuse to quaff more beer. New research with mice shows the beverage protects against the effects of some cancer-causing chemicals. But there's a catch: it was non-alcoholic beer. Nonetheless, if the scientists can pinpoint the protective compounds involved, brewers may be able to produce beer particularly rich in them. While drinking too much alcohol increases the risk of cancer, for now it remains a mystery whether moderate tippling of alcoholic beer has any anti-cancer benefits.
Some cancers are caused by heterocyclic amines, DNA-damaging chemicals found in cooked meat and fish. When Sakae Arimoto-Kobayashi's team at Okayama University in Japan fed these chemicals to mice, the DNA damage to their liver, lungs and kidneys was reduced by up to 85% if the mice drank non-alcoholic beer instead of water.

Arimoto-Kobayashi thinks as-yet unidentified compounds in lager and stout prevent the amines binding to and damaging DNA. If these compounds can be identified, brewers might be able to produce beers particularly rich in them, or they could be added to foods.

Heavy alcohol consumption is blamed for around 6% of all cancers in western countries (New Scientist print edition, 18 December 2004), though moderate consumption reduces the risk of heart disease. Since the mice drank non-alcoholic beer, the findings do not show whether moderate consumption of normal beer has any anti-cancer benefits. "The total benefits and risks of beer with alcohol are still under consideration," says Arimoto-Kobayashi.