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Light hits the bright leaves of a hops plant.

Hops compound study with Science researcher reduces gut microbe associated with metabolic syndrome

By Steve Lundeberg

Oregon State researchers, including a professor from the College of Science, have shown in a mouse model and lab cultures that a compound derived from hops reduces the abundance of a gut bacterium associated with metabolic syndrome.

The findings, published today in the journal Microbiome, are important because an estimated 35 percent of the U.S. adult population suffers from the syndrome, a common and serious condition linked with cognitive dysfunction and dementia as well as being a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

A diet high in saturated fat results in chronic low-grade inflammation in the body that in turn leads to the development of metabolic syndrome.

Patients are considered to have metabolic syndrome if they have at least two of the following: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, low levels of “good” cholesterol, and high levels of triglycerides.

OSU researchers for years have been studying the potential health benefits of xanthohumol, a chemical found in hops, and its derivatives including tetrahydroxanthohumol. The latter is commonly abbreviated to TXN, the former to XN.

XN is a polyphenol, a type of abundant organic compound existing in plants and used for millennia by practitioners of traditional medicine. XN is one of the flavonoids, natural products found in fruits, vegetables, grains, bark, roots, stems, flowers, tea and wine that are well known for their positive effects on health.

In the most recent study, Adrian Gombart of the Linus Pauling Institute and College of Science, Andrey Morgun of the OSU College of Pharmacy, and Natalia Shulzhenko of the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine demonstrated that TXN can combat metabolic syndrome by reducing the population of Oscillibacter species within the gut microbiome.

Read more here.