Beer could help protect kids from illnesses
Consuming large quantities of a key ingredient in beer can protect against winter sniffles and even some serious illnesses among kids, a study has claimed.
Japan's Sapporo Breweries, who funded the scientific study, said that 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, the Daily Telegraph reported.
In research with scientists at Sapporo Medical University, the compound - humulone - was found to be effective in curbing the respiratory syncytial (RS) virus, the company said.
"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," Jun Fuchimoto, a researcher from the company, said.
The respiratory syncytial virus tends to spread in winter and can also cause cold-like symptoms in adults.
Fuchimoto said that quantities of humulone present in the beer were so small that someone would have to drink around 30 cans, each of 350 millilitres, 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," he added.
The study also found that humulone alleviated inflammation caused by infection from the virus, the brewery said.