New beer may fight cancer

Germans develop product higher in antioxidant found in hops

Dec 2, 2002 - German scientists say they have developed a beer that could help fight cancer. It contains high levels of a potent antioxidant called xanthohumol, which is found in hops and has been shown in previous laboratory studies to stem the growth of tumor cells.


The compound is found in very low concentrations in beer, so the German Cancer Research Institute in Heidelberg asked researchers at the Technical University of Munich develop one with higher concentrations. The scientists brewed beer with 10 times the normal content of xanthohumol, but a calorie and alcohol content similar to that of standard beer, according to a university statement.

Achim Zuercher, a scientist involved in the study, said the beer will be sold early in 2003 by an as-yet-unnamed brewery in Bavaria. He also expects it to be sold outside Germany.

Tests on the effects of xanthohumol have only been carried out the laboratory, he said, but were promising. He stressed it would not be possible to say conclusively that the beer will fight cancer in humans until tests are completed several years down the line.

"The Cancer Research Institute will now begin to test our beer on animals but it will take several years to establish whether the compound is really chemopreventative in people," he said.

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