A flavonoid found in hops and beer, xanthohumol has garnered scientific interest as a potential therapeutic compound for Metabolic Syndrome, a condition associated with obesity, high blood pressure and other concerns, including age-related deficits in memory. Previous studies have used xanthohumol to lower body weight and blood sugar in a rat model of obesity. Daniel Zamzow, from Oregon State University (Oregon, USA), and colleagues employed a mouse model to explore whether xanthohumol could affect a process known as palmitoylation, which is a normal biological process but in older animals may become harmful. The researchers found that xanthohumol can speed the metabolism, reduce fatty acids in the liver and, at – in young mice, improve their cognitive flexibility. However, xanthohumol did not reduce palmitoylation in older mice, or improve their learning or cognitive performance. The study authors observe that: “xanthohumol may play a role in improving cognitive flexability in young animals, but it appears to be ineffective in adjusting the palmitoylation status of neuronal proteins in aged individuals.”
Zamzow DR, Elias V, Legette LL, Choi J, Stevens JF, Magnusson KR. “Xanthohumol improved cognitive flexibility in young mice.” Behav Brain Res. 2014 Dec 15;275:1-10.