Beer inhibits cancer in rats

Japanese study finds dark malts may help fight colon cancer

Feb 2, 2004 - Drinking beer or eating certain ingredients in the beverage helped protect rats from colon cancer, according ot new research shows. There is a catch - freeze-dried beer performed particularly well in the study.


Dr. Hajime Nozawa, who works for from Kirin Brewery Co. in Yokohama, Japan, led the team that studied the ability of beer to prevent a type of chemically induced colon cancer in rats. The results are reported in the International Journal of Cancer. They have not done similar tests for humans.

Consumption of beer or malt extract for two weeks reduced the amount of DNA damage that occurred. Moreover, beer intake for the full five-week study period reduced the formation of early lesions that can become colon cancer.

The ability of beer to inhibit these lesions depended on the type of malt, with dark-roasted malts being more effective than pilsner malts. In addition, only freeze-dried beer, not ethanol, had a protective effect.

Intake of malt extract also inhibited the early lesions, but consumption of hops extract did not.

In a 42-week follow-up study, beer intake was associated with a 22% reduction in the tumor rate, including a big drop in the number of cancers.

"The results suggest that daily moderate consumption of beer may reduce the risk of cancer susceptibility in colon," the authors state.

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