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Hops Deters Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

by Karyn Maier

Hops, an herb in the cannabis family that has been used to lend bitter flavor to beer for centuries, has been shown to deter non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

According to researchers at Oregon State University, the plant contains two compounds -- xanthohumol (XN) and tetrahydro-XN (TXN) -- that inhibit hepatic steatosis, or the build up of excessive triglyceride fat stored in the liver that can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Adrian Gombart, professor of biochemistry and biophysics in the OSU College of Science, noted in a press release that, “TXN appeared to be more effective than XN perhaps because significantly higher levels of TXN are able to accumulate in the liver, but XN can slow progression of the condition as well, at the higher dose.”

Hepatic steatosis causes liver metabolic dysfunction, but usually doesn't produce any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they range from nonspecific inflammation to fatigue, weight loss and abdominal cramping. The researchers found that TXN slowed weight gain associated with a high-fat diet and helped to regulate blood sugar levels. The scientists believe that the mechanism that drives the effectiveness of these compounds stimulate the activity of a nuclear receptor protein in the liver called PPAR-gamma that regulates gene expression, glucose metabolism and the storage of fatty acids.


Zhang Y et al "Tetrahydroxanthohumol, a xanthohumol derivative, attenuates high-fat diet-induced hepatic steatosis by antagonizing PPARγ."

Elife, 2021 Jun 15;10:e66398.


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