Hop extracts may boost cognition and mood in health older people: Kirin study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / BasieB
© Getty Images / BasieB

Related tags Hops matured hop bitter acids Cognitive function stress Kirin

Daily supplementation with matured hop bitter acids may improve mental processing speed, attention, and concentration in healthy adults aged 45 to 69, says a new study from beverage giant Kirin Holdings Co.

Twelve weeks of supplementation with 35 mg per day of the matured hop bitter acids (MHBA) also led to significant reductions in mental stress after intellectual work, reported scientists from Kirin’s Central Research Institute, Juntendo University Faculty of Medicine, and the Fukushima Healthcare Center in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

While the participants were classed as healthy, they did all have Subjective Cognitive Decline (SDC), which the US CDC defines as “the self-reported experience of worsening or more frequent confusion or memory loss”​.

“… early intervention through MHBA supplementation in persons with SCD could be successful in improving cognitive function,” ​wrote the study authors.

Kirin’s strategy

As reported earlier this year by our Asian edition​, Kirin is planning to develop a range of food and beverage products with the matured hop bitter acids positioned for cognitive function.

Kirin Holdings has partnered with Dentsu for a joint venture called INHOP Co. to tap on new scientific health evidence of Kirin’s mature hop bitter acids.

The new study, which involved 100 people with SDC, builds on earlier research in mice, which found that MHBA may improve memory function via stimulation of the vagus nerve (Scientific Reports​, 2018, Vol 8, Article number: 15372).

Study details

The new study, which was funded by the Kirin, compared 35 mg of MHBA or placebo (35 mg of dextrin) in healthy people aged between 45 and 69 with SDC.

After 12 weeks of supplementation, the data indicated that scores on the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) that measuring ‘attention’ were significantly higher in the hops extract group.

In addition, stress levels were lower after neuropsychological tests in the MHBA supplements group, as indicated by reduced beta-endorphin levels.

“Beta-Endorphin is a marker of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis activity, which is used to evaluate psychological stress (e.g., stress caused by public speaking, watching stressful videos, or taking examinations),” ​explained the researchers.

“This study suggested that MHBA intake improves cognitive function, attention, and mood state in older adults,” ​they concluded.

Source:Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.3233/JAD-200229
“Supplementation With Matured Hop Bitter Acids Improves Cognitive Performance and Mood State in Healthy Older Adults With Subjective Cognitive Decline”
Authors: T. Fukuda et al.

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