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Free Radical Therapy Blog » Jyllian Kelmsley

Posts Tagged ‘Jyllian Kelmsley’

Fun with National Chemistry Week – A New Perspective on Ancient Beer

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

As a member of the American Chemical Society, I thought a fun way to observe National Chemistry Week would be to review the work of Jyllian Kemsley [C&EN.online.org, pg 48 Oct 18, 2010] on the health benefit of early beer.

The antibiotic tetracycline has long been observed in the bone of Egyptian mummies. At first it was thought to be a contaminant, but closer examination showed that the finding held true for the mummified remains of children and adults alike.

The mystery began to clear with the findings of an anthropology team from Emory University [Armelagos, G., Am J Phys Anthropol 143: 151, 2010], when the same was found within the bones of ancient Nubians (AD 450) as well as ancient Jordanians.

As it turned out, much of the beer in early history was fermented with grain that contained the soil bacteria Streptomyces, and it is the Streptomyces that produces tetracycline upon being fermented. Beer was certainly fermented with other organisms, but the choice of Streptomyces was likely intentional…due not just to alcohol and taste but also to its infection-fighting potential. Some historians believe that this was an early method for preventing gum disease and dental decay as well as other infections, which would account for why children also had tetracycline in their bones. It was their medicine.

Fermented foods have a long history of consumption among early populations, the advantage being that certain organisms tended to produce healthful byproducts as they promoted fermentation. Thus, we have the origin of fermented dairy, soy, and an even wider variety of fermented grain concoctions, not the least of which are the yummy sourdough breads that tend to reduce heart risk. It is this observation that lifts many of our fermented foods into the lofty status of supporting Free Radical Therapy and our Designed2Win model of health!