Remember to always self-medicate responsibly.
Have you ever wondered why all festive occasions are made so much more festive when beer is thrown into the mix? It could be the alcohol, which lowers the inhibitions and gets the old talkbox gabbing. Or, according to scientists, we can thank special molecules that float around in our favorite lightly-carbonated beverage and play with our brain’s neurons.
Hordenine, a chemical compound that can be found both in beer and in malted hops, one of the beverage’s essential ingredients, can do some pretty cool stuff to your mood, says one recent study. The compound travels to the human brain, and once there it binds with dopamine receptors, causing light euphoria which can be perceived as a mood boost. Normally, dopamine is the chemical that activates dopamine receptors, creating a perceived feeling of happiness. But Hordenine bypasses the need for dopamine release (which can occur during activity such as eating rich foods, having sex or using drugs like cocaine) and directly activates receptors, making us feel similar effects.
Now that scientists has discovered this compelling evidence as to why beer makes us feel good, we think that we at least deserve a little “told ya so,” since we basically knew this all along. So next time you’re feeling down in the dumps, grab some friends, share a cold one and let that Hordenine do its thing. In moderation, of course.