A recent discovery by scientists at the University of Washington means that a main beer ingredient hops could be used to treat a number of health issues.

The authors point out that while excessive beer consumption cannot be recommended to propagate good health, isolated humulones and their derivatives can be prescribed with documented health benefits.

Research has shown that in moderation, beer and its bittering acids have have beneficial effects on diabetes, some forms of cancer, inflammation, and perhaps even weight loss.

In the study, scientists used a centuries-old observational technique to determine the configuration of substances derived from hops that give beer its distinctive flavor, called humulones.

The new research sets the stage for finding humulones that might be useful in new compounds for medical treatments.

Werner Kaminsky, a University of Washington research associate professor of chemistry, is the lead author of the paper explaining the findings.

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