Study finds beer has anti-virus powers

According to a study, funded by Japanese brewing company Sapporo, consuming large quantities of a key ingredient in beer may help protect against winter sniffles.

SapporoResearchers at Sapporo Medical University found that humulone, a chemical compound found in hops, provides an effective guard against a virus that can cause severe forms of pneumonia and bronchitis in youngsters.

The study found that humulone was particularly effective in curbing the respiratory syncytical (RS) virus.

Jun Fuchimoto, a researcher from the Sapporo, told AFP: “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.”

The RS virus is a common cause of acute bronchitis among small children, particularly in the winter months. It can also cause adults to suffer symptoms similar to the common cold.

But before you get too excited about drinking away your cold this winter, Fuchimoto said that someone would have to drink around 10 litres of beer for it to have any virus-fighting effect.

But he added that the company was now looking at ways of developing humulone containing food and drinks for adults and he children.

Fuchimoto 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.”

The brewery added that the research had also found humulone alleviated inflammation caused by infection from the virus. Research has backed the health benefits of wine for a long time.

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