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The health-enhancing performance of a compound found in hops is dependent upon its interactions with intestinal microorganisms, new research by Oregon State University shows.

Understanding how xanthohumol, often abbreviated as XN, works is important for unlocking its potential to counter diet-induced obesity and the health risks associated with a global obesity epidemic, including type 2 diabetes and liver and heart disease, researcher Adrian Gombart says.

“We showed that the gut microbiota are necessary for the beneficial effects of XN on glucose metabolism,” said Gombart, professor of biochemistry and biophysics in the OSU College of Science and a principal investigator at the university’s Linus Pauling Institute. “There is an important interaction between the compound and the microbes in the gut that provides the benefits we see in our studies with mice.