It’s the perfect excuse to take part in Oktoberfest.
For researchers have found that drinking beer can lift your spirits and make you feel good about yourself.
Hordenine, abundant in malted barley – a key ingredient in the alcoholic beverage, activates dopamine receptors in the brain.
This then triggers a surge of the feel-good chemical to the decision-making area of the brain, German scientists claim.
The findings also go someway to explain why some people are never able to stop at just one drink – and end up staying for multiple.
Researchers found drinking beer can lift your spirits and make you feel good about yourself
Hordenine triggers a process called hedonic hunger – the drive to consume food or drink for pleasure, as opposed to being hungry or thirsty.
How was the study carried out?
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg researchers examined around 13,000 food molecules to make the finding.
They were attempting to find substances that may activate dopamine receptors in the same way as dopamine itself.
Professor Monika Pischetsrieder, lead author, said: ‘It came as a bit of a surprise that a substance in beer activates the dopamine D2 receptor.’
What did they find?
However, hordenine uses a different signalling pathway to stimulate the D2 receptor, the researchers uncovered.
HUNGOVER? DRINK BEER
Drinking trendy beers with plenty of hops over the New Year could help to reduce the impact of your hangover the next day, research suggests.
In December, German scientists found that hops in beer can lessen the harm done to the liver following a night of heavy drinking.
They found the hops appear to reduce the production of toxins and harmful fats in the liver that can occur when drinking other alcohol such as spirits.
The findings suggest a night of drinking trendy ‘hoppy’ beers like pale ales, IPA and pilsner style lagers could be better for you than a heavy session on the vodka.
It activates the receptor solely through G proteins – the switches inside cells, potentially leading to a more prolonged effect on the reward centre of the brain.
The team is now investigating whether hordenine levels in beer are sufficient to have a significant effect on the reward centre.
Using a database of the 13,000 molecules, the researchers were able to narrow them down to 17 promising candidates.
The most exciting results were obtained for hordenine, the experts revealed in the journal Scientific Reports.
Malted barley in beer
Malted barley is used as a source of starch in beer, which allows for the fermentation of alcohol. Brewers say it also adds flavour.
The research comes after a team at the University of Iowa found a vitamin in beer and milk can be used to treat the lasting pain of chemotherapy.
They claimed the grueling side effects, such as nerve damage, can be eradicated through taking a nicotinamide riboside supplement.