We hate to admit it, but the frat bros across America may be on to something when it comes to binge drinking. Hops, an ingredient in beer, has been found to increase brain function in high doses.
Researchers at Oregon State University found that xanthohumol, a type of flavonoid found in hops, improved cognitive function in young mice, the Daily Mail reported.
The important point here is the size of the dose: A human would need to drink the equivalent of 3,520 pints of beer per day before their cognitive abilities improved. That sounds a little impractical, considering that anyone downing that much would soon be dead from an alcohol overdose.
Nonetheless, the impractically high doses of xanthohumol enhanced the younger mice's ability to adapt to changes in environments. To measure the improvements, researchers administered the flavonoid and then let the animals find their way out of specifically designed mazes. The mice with the greatest doses had the most improved intellectual ability.
The bad news for the post-college bros out there is that the older mice showed no signs of heightened brain function.
Scientists hope that xanthohumol can be used to treat conditions related to high blood pressure and obesity and age-related memory deficits.
"This flavonoid [xanthohumol] and others may have a function in the optimal ability to form memories," Kathy Magnusson, a professor at OSU, told the Daily Mail. "Part of what this study seems to be suggesting is that it's important to begin early in life to gain the full benefits of healthy nutrition."
To me, that sounds like a scientist is telling you to start drinking beer earlier. If you haven't started already, implement a weekly happy hour and watch the benefits buzz around the office.