Sunday, March 16, 2008

Guzzle Beer For Good Health?

Pinch yourself. You're not dreaming. Reuters reports that Japanese researchers have shown that drinking beer or eating certain components found in the beverage could protect against colon cancer--at least in rats.

Here's the big gotcha: It has not yet been determined if this holds true for human beings. Led by Dr. Hajime Nozawa of the Kirin Brewery Co. in Yokohama, Japan, the study assessed the ability of beer or its components to prevent a type of chemically-induced colon cancer in rats.

The study results:

* The rats that consumed the beer or a malt extract for two weeks lessened the amount of DNA damage that occurred.
* After five weeks, the formation of early lesions that can become colon cancer were reduced in the beer-drinking rats.
* In a 42-week follow-up study, beer intake was associated with a tumor reduction rate of 22 percent and a significant drop in the number of cancers.

There is a catch: Any old beer won't do. The beer that inhibited the cancer-causing lesions contained dark-roasted malts, which proved to be more effective than pilsner malts. Consumption of hops had no protective benefit. Reuters also notes that only freeze-dried beer, not ethanol, had a protective effect.

"The results suggest that daily, moderate consumption of beer may reduce the risk of cancer susceptibility in the colon," the authors write in the International Journal of Cancer, where the study findings were published. They do caution that additional research is needed to verify the conclusions and determine the mechanisms involved.

Source: Netscape.com

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