Beer Ingredient Eyed in Prostate Cancer Prevention
Based on some new animal experiments, researchers have determined that a particular ingredient in beer could help to prevent prostate cancer. This ingredient is known as xanthohumol, and it is found in hops. It is a bitter flavoring agent and is responsible for blocking testosterone, which plays a major role in the development of prostate cancer.
The research was carried out the researchers at the German Cancer Research Center based in Heidelberg.
The researchers stimulated the prostate cancer cells with testosterone and this led to the production of prostate specific antigen, PSA, which was secreted in large amounts by the cells. When the cells were treated with xanthohumol, the secretion of prostate specific antigen was suppressed. However, the researchers found that the suppression was dependent on the amount of xanthohumol used.
In animal tests, when xanthohumol and testosterone were injected into rats that were castrated, the beer ingredient actually blocked the effect of testosterone on the prostate. This means that xanthohumol could work towards preventing prostate cancer.
Xanthohumol is a flavonoid and is found in fruits, plants, vegetables and spices. Some studies have also shown that xanthohumol has the ability to block estrogen as it binds with the estrogen receptor. This discovery means that xanthohumol can also be used to prevent breast cancer.
The research is still in the early stages. Therefore, it is not for sure that xanthohumol can actually be used to prevent prostate cancer. But if it can, it will be a blessing. Prostate cancer affects one in six men in the US, and in 2009 there were 27,000 prostate cancer-related deaths.