A beer (or 30) a day keeps the doctor away, study claims

Got A cold? Treat yourself to a cold one.

A new study suggests that a chemical compound in beer can help the human body fight the virus behind the common cold.

Of course, there are some important caveats. First, the study was conducted and published by Sapporo Breweries, a Japanese beer manufacturer, through its Sapporo Medical University. And secondly, an adult would have to drink about 30 cans of beer to get enough humulone, the compound said to have antiviral properties.

The humulone found in hops, one of beer’s three main ingredients, gives the alcoholic drink its signature bitter taste.

Still, if the research holds up under scrutiny, the extraction of humulone could have potential medical benefits. Scientists at the university said the compound was effective in curbing the respiratory syncytial (RS) virus.

“The RS virus can cause serious pneumonia and breathing difficulties for infants and toddlers, but no vaccination is available at the moment to contain it,” Jun Fuchimoto, a researcher from the company, said. “We are now studying the feasibility of applying humulone to food or non-alcoholic products. The challenge really is that the bitter taste is going to be difficult for children.”

Time magazine notes that beer itself is said to have other health benefits, including increasing bone density and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia and heart disease. – Sapa-AFP


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