This Beer Ingredient Might Actually Help PREVENT Liver Disease

A colorful beer flights is illuminated against a bright sunset

A colorful beer flights is illuminated against a bright sunset | iStock.com/BristolDen

In news that might have you ditching your American lagers for super-hoppy pale ales, scientists have found that the hops in beer might actually help a person keep liver disease at bay. All forms of alcohol have been closely and definitively linked to myriad liver issues, but if this is true, then beer may do a decent job of managing that risk all on its own.

Specifically, ingestion of hops helps the liver defend against the buildup of something called hepticĀ fat, which leads to something called fatty liver disease. Despite the innocuous name, the disease can hijack basic and vital liver function as the fat essentially encapsulates and permeates the liver, hindering its operation.

The researchers pinpointed hops as the asset in the war against liver fat by feeding mice regular beer, beer without hops, and grain alcohol, then studied the prevalence of fat on their livers. While those fed grain alcohol and hop-less beer had similar levels of liver fat, those that were fed the regular beer were found to have significantly less.

Beer into glass on wooden surface

Beer into glass on wooden surface | iStock.com/grafvision

The team’s work was recently published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, and they were comfortable enough with the strength of their work and their findings to suggest that hops does, in fact, fight live disease. This explanation would go a long way in explaining why beer drinkers find themselves far less susceptible to liver disease than those who drink spirits.

Further, the rats that drank regular beer were found to have less damage from something called oxidative stress. This suggests that hops could also be an antioxidant.

The news just gets better and better, doesn’t it? Time to pick up a sixer of IPA!