Beer could help keep you strong in old age… but you'd need to drink at least 154 pints A DAY
Hops used in beer contain a muscle-protecting flavonoidThe ingredient prevented muscle wastage in a study on immobilised mice



17:07 GMT, 26 September 2012

It may sound like a study made up by barflies, but beer can keep you strong, according to experts.

A study from the University of Tokushima in Japan found an ingredient in hops prevents muscle tissue from deteriorating.

The flavonoid, known as 8-prenylnarigenin (8-PN), held back muscle atrophy in tests on immobilised mice.

After-work pint Beer contains a tiny amount of a plant compound that prevents muscle wastage

After-work pint Beer contains a tiny amount of a plant compound that prevents muscle wastage. Sadly you would need to drink 154 pints a day to get the effect

When the rodents were given feed containing the hops compound their muscle levels hardly fell. The mice who were not given any saw a 10 per cent drop in muscle amount over the study period.

Follow-up tests revealed the mice given the plant compound had 10 times the amount of the protective substance in their systems.

Although packed with calories, beer does provide some other health benefits. The drink contains a number
of natural antioxidants and vitamins that can help prevent heart
disease. Dark beers tend to be 'healthier' as they contain more of the
essential mineral iron and have more antioxidants than lighter varieties.

Hops, in case you were wondering, are flower clusters that provide the 'bitter' flavour and stability agent in beer.

Scientists plan to use the latest findings in developing drugs to help prevent people from becoming bed-ridden in later life.

The team also hopes to apply its findings to creating a new drink that would stop astronauts from wasting away on long space voyages.

Unfortunately the findings don't mean you should head out to your nearest pub to grab a muscle-sustaining pint.

Study leader Professor Junji Terao said a person would need to drink at least 154 pints of beer to achieve the same effect. This would obviously mean certain death from alcohol poisoning long before your muscle mass improved.

Perhaps it would be wiser then, to head to the nearest gym instead.