Research institute developing "menopause" beer

Czechs drink an average 161 litres of beer annually, about thirty percent more than their German neighbours. But surveys suggest that the number of women partaking of "liquid bread" is slowly decreasing. That's because they aren't aware that beer is actually good for them, says the Czech Research Institute for Brewing and Malting.

The hops that beer is made of are rich in phytoestrogens, which are forms of the oestrogen hormone in women that maintain bone density and reduce risks of various other health problems. The institute is therefore developing a new beer that contains ten times the normal amount of phytoestrogens. Lady Beer, as it is to be called, will be for an unusual target group - women going through the menopause, as oestrogen levels then are significantly lower than usual.

Alexandr Mikyska heads the project at the Research Institute for Brewing and Malting. So, what's so special about beer? Why not develop a menopause coffee, tea, juice, or some other drink?

"Why beer? Beer is a well balanced drink; it contains antioxidants, vitamins and microelements. Thus, the intake of phytoestrogens in low-alcoholic beer can be an effectual remedy for alleviation of climacteric symptoms, for prevention of osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases of women."

What kinds of symptoms do you expect the beer to relieve?

"For two months, 20 menopausal and postmenopausal patients drank 0,3 l of low-alcoholic research beer rich in phytoestrogens. This beer evidently reduced acute climacteric symptoms - tiredness, qualm, over-fatigue, accelerated pulse and insomnia."

You said low-alcoholic beer, so it will contain alcohol?

"Physicians get angry when they hear about alcoholic drinks. Our beer is low alcoholic beer, it contains up to 2 weight % of alcohol. Lager beer, for example, contains more than double that amount of alcohol."

If the beer is going to hold large amounts of phytoestrogens, will it taste differently?

"No, the taste is not different compared to Czech table beers. The women who took part in the medical study liked this beer. They ask when the study will continue."

How will the project be financed?

"Our research project was financially supported by the grant agency of the Czech Ministry of Agriculture."