If you’re looking to stave off dementia, it’s Miller time!

Perhaps one of the most tragic illnesses of our time is the loss of one’s memory through dementia in old age. Seeing a loved one gradually lose themselves is probably only second to the fear and confusion of living through a neurodegenerative disease.

As of 2012, Japan has 4.6 million patients with dementia, about 70 percent of whom suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Also, with the ever aging population, this trend shows no sign of slowing.
But who knew that a major player in the battle against Alzheimer’s would be one of Japan’s largest breweries, Kirin? They teamed up with Tokyo University and Gakushuin University in a study showing that a component found in beer may help combat the dreaded illness.

Although the causes of Alzheimer’s disease aren’t fully understood, it is widely accepted that a peptide called amyloid beta plays an important role in triggering it. As the brain ages this substance can accumulate, causing various cognitive problems.

According to this recent study, this accumulation of amyloid beta can be reduced with a steady diet of iso-alpha acids which are produced when hops are cooked to produce beer and give it its bitter flavor. Iso-alpha acids promote an immune cell in the brain called microglia which can keep the Alzheimer’s-causing amino acids at low levels before they do too much damage.

▼ Microglia: they may not be the prettiest cells around, but they work around the clock to keep your brain ticking

Researchers fed mice with food containing iso-alpha acids, and found that they not only had 50 percent the amount of amyloid beta in their system, but they also showed better cognitive function than regular mice. This also shows that, of course, beer isn’t the only way to get iso-alpha acids. Any food or beverage with heated hops should have them, including non-alcoholic beer. Whichever route you take, the more bitter the better seems like a good rule of thumb.

However, I’m personally not leaving anything to chance and have been drinking regular beer non-stop since I heard the news. Sure, I’ve lost my hat, car keys, and mobile phone, and I may have forgotten to go to work for the past three days. In the end though, it’s worth it to know I have a reduced risk of getting arachnophobia further down the road.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News (Japanese)
Top image: Wikipedia/Benreis
Insert image: Wikipedia/Grzegorz Wicher