It has been previously demonstrated that iso-α- acids (IAAs), the hop-derived bitter components in beer, improve memory impairment in aged and Alzheimer’s disease mouse models. A group of researchers evaluated the effects of IAA intake on the brain structure in healthy middle-aged to older adults. This study was conducted under the Impulsing Paradigm Change through Disruptive Technologies Program (ImPACT) study launched by the Cabinet office of Japan.
In the study, healthy middle-aged to older adults consumed a beverage containing IAAs (3 mg/190 mL) for 4 weeks. Magnetic resonance imagingbased brain health indicators were used to evaluate the following brain conditions: the Brain Healthcare Quotient (BHQ) based on grey matter volume (GM-BHQ) and white matter fractional anisotropy (FA-BHQ). In total, 25 subjects were recruited, and GMBHQ and FA-BHQ were measured before and after intervention. In all subjects, no significant differences in GM-BHQ and FA-BHQ were observed. In subjects aged ≥ 60 years (mean 54.5; standard deviation 3.9) (n = 8), GM-BHQ was significantly increased 4 weeks after intervention compared with that before intervention.
The authors state that the intake of beverages containing IAAs might affect brain aging, particularly in healthy older adults, which may prevent the development of neurological disorders. Future studies employing more robust designs can elucidate the effects of IAAs on GMBHQ and cognitive functions.
Source: Effects of iso-α-acids, the hop-derived bitter components in beer, on the MRI-based Brain Healthcare Quotient in healthy middle-aged to older adults. Kita M, Yoshida S, Kondo K, Yamakawa Y, Ano Y. Neuropsychopharmacol Rep. 2019 Oct 6.