DC Trawler

Yet another way beer can help you get through the holidays

Christmas is that special time of year when family and friends gather for a time-honored ritual: getting crocked enough to stand each other for a few days.* But did you know that beer also has very minor health benefits, in addition to the ravages it wreaks on your body and mind?


Consuming large quantities of a key ingredient in beer can protect against winter sniffles and even some serious illnesses in small children, a Japanese brewery said citing a scientific study.

A chemical compound in hops, the plant brewers use to give beer its bitter taste, provides an effective guard against a virus that can cause severe forms of pneumonia and bronchitis in youngsters, Sapporo Breweries said Wednesday.

In research with scientists at Sapporo Medical University, the compound — humulone — was found to be effective in curbing the respiratory syncytial (RS) virus, said the company, which funded the study.

Okay, yeah, so the study was sponsored by a beer company. But as any liberal can tell you, the word of a scientist is law. Unless you hate science. Do you hate science, wingnut?

Besides, hops are awesome. The more hops the better, I say. Sierra Nevada is way too hoppy for some folks, but the rest of us enjoy… oh, what’s that stuff called? Flavor.

And now, we find out it can fight disease as well. But there’s one slight problem:

Fuchimoto said such small quantities of humulone were present in beer that someone would have to drink around 30 cans, each of 350 millilitres (12 oz), for it to have any virus-fighting effect.

“We are now studying the feasibility of applying humulone to food or non-alcoholic products,” he said. “The challenge really is that the bitter taste is going to be difficult for children.”

Well, I definitely wouldn’t recommend giving a kid 30 beers, at least not all at once. It doesn’t say anything about humulone fighting any viruses in adults, but why take chances? Your health is too important.


*Or possibly the opposite. Probably the opposite.