What are the Effects of the Hops Phytoestrogen in Beer?

What are the Effects of the Hops Phytoestrogen in Beer?
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When it comes to breast cancer risk, does the phytoestrogen in beer act more like the animal estrogens in Premarin, or the protective phytoestrogens in soy?

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Hops have been used for centuries as a flavoring agent in beer. But over the years, a recurring suggestion has been that hops, and therefore beer, may be estrogenic—thanks to a potent phytoestrogen in hops called 8-PN, also known as hopein. Might beer drinking affect our hormones?

Now, even just the alcohol in beer can reduce testosterone levels in men. So, when beer was tested as a source of estrogens, the alcohol was first removed. They tested the equivalent of one can of beer a day for one month on the hormone levels of postmenopausal women, so as not to confound the results with endogenous estrogens, and they found significant alterations of hormonal levels during the beer month, and then coming back to baseline a week afterwards. But does this have any clinical effects—either good or bad?

A cross-sectional study of about 1,700 women found that beer drinkers appeared to have better bone density, perhaps because of the pro-estrogenic effects. They don’t recommend women start drinking beer for bone health, but suggest it may have beneficial bone effects for women who already drink.

What about helping with hot flashes? About half of postmenopausal and perimenopausal women in the U.S. suffer from hot flashes, whereas the prevalence in Japan may be ten times lower—presumed to be because of their soy consumption.

What about hops? There’s been a few studies like this, and this, showing potential benefit, leading to this 2013 review, suggesting that hops extracts may be somewhat effective in treating menopausal discomfort.

But that was before this study, which reported extraordinary results with about a half teaspoon of dried hops flowers. For example, hot flashes on the bottom. In the placebo group on the right there, the women started out having about 23 hot flashes a week, and throughout the three-month study, continued to have 23 hot flashes a week. In the hops group, they started out even worse, but then down to 19 at the end of the first month, then nine, then just once a week, basically. And similar findings were reported for all the other menopausal symptoms measured.

But hey, animal estrogens work, too. Millions of women used to be on horse hormones, Premarin, from pregnant mare urine. That took care of hot flashes, too, and curtailed osteoporosis—but caused a pesky little side effect called breast cancer. Thankfully, when this was realized, and millions of women stopped taking it, breast cancer rates fell in countries around the world. This is data from California.

The question, then, is are the estrogens in hops more like the breast cancer-promoting horse estrogens, or the breast cancer-preventing soy estrogens? The key to understanding the health-protective potential of the soy phytoestrogens is understanding the difference between the two types of estrogen receptors. There’s alpha receptors, and beta receptors.

Unlike animal estrogen, the soy phytoestrogens bind preferentially to the beta receptors. And in breast tissue, they’re like yin and yang, with the alpha receptors signaling breast cell proliferation— explaining why horse hormones increase breast cancer risk; whereas the beta receptors, where the soy binds, oppose that proliferative impact.

So, do the hops phytoestrogens prefer beta too? No, 8-PN is a selective estrogen receptor alpha promoter. Surprisingly, and in clear contrast to the soy, 8-PN is a much weaker binder of beta than of alpha. So, that explains why hops is such a common ingredient in so-called breast enhancing supplements, because it acts more like estrogen estrogen. Given the breast cancer concerns, use of such products should be discouraged.

But just drinking beer could provide the exposure to the hops estrogen, as is found in these kinds of products—which could help explain why beer may be more carcinogenic to the breast than some other forms of alcohol.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Dave Shea via flickr.

Hops have been used for centuries as a flavoring agent in beer. But over the years, a recurring suggestion has been that hops, and therefore beer, may be estrogenic—thanks to a potent phytoestrogen in hops called 8-PN, also known as hopein. Might beer drinking affect our hormones?

Now, even just the alcohol in beer can reduce testosterone levels in men. So, when beer was tested as a source of estrogens, the alcohol was first removed. They tested the equivalent of one can of beer a day for one month on the hormone levels of postmenopausal women, so as not to confound the results with endogenous estrogens, and they found significant alterations of hormonal levels during the beer month, and then coming back to baseline a week afterwards. But does this have any clinical effects—either good or bad?

A cross-sectional study of about 1,700 women found that beer drinkers appeared to have better bone density, perhaps because of the pro-estrogenic effects. They don’t recommend women start drinking beer for bone health, but suggest it may have beneficial bone effects for women who already drink.

What about helping with hot flashes? About half of postmenopausal and perimenopausal women in the U.S. suffer from hot flashes, whereas the prevalence in Japan may be ten times lower—presumed to be because of their soy consumption.

What about hops? There’s been a few studies like this, and this, showing potential benefit, leading to this 2013 review, suggesting that hops extracts may be somewhat effective in treating menopausal discomfort.

But that was before this study, which reported extraordinary results with about a half teaspoon of dried hops flowers. For example, hot flashes on the bottom. In the placebo group on the right there, the women started out having about 23 hot flashes a week, and throughout the three-month study, continued to have 23 hot flashes a week. In the hops group, they started out even worse, but then down to 19 at the end of the first month, then nine, then just once a week, basically. And similar findings were reported for all the other menopausal symptoms measured.

But hey, animal estrogens work, too. Millions of women used to be on horse hormones, Premarin, from pregnant mare urine. That took care of hot flashes, too, and curtailed osteoporosis—but caused a pesky little side effect called breast cancer. Thankfully, when this was realized, and millions of women stopped taking it, breast cancer rates fell in countries around the world. This is data from California.

The question, then, is are the estrogens in hops more like the breast cancer-promoting horse estrogens, or the breast cancer-preventing soy estrogens? The key to understanding the health-protective potential of the soy phytoestrogens is understanding the difference between the two types of estrogen receptors. There’s alpha receptors, and beta receptors.

Unlike animal estrogen, the soy phytoestrogens bind preferentially to the beta receptors. And in breast tissue, they’re like yin and yang, with the alpha receptors signaling breast cell proliferation— explaining why horse hormones increase breast cancer risk; whereas the beta receptors, where the soy binds, oppose that proliferative impact.

So, do the hops phytoestrogens prefer beta too? No, 8-PN is a selective estrogen receptor alpha promoter. Surprisingly, and in clear contrast to the soy, 8-PN is a much weaker binder of beta than of alpha. So, that explains why hops is such a common ingredient in so-called breast enhancing supplements, because it acts more like estrogen estrogen. Given the breast cancer concerns, use of such products should be discouraged.

But just drinking beer could provide the exposure to the hops estrogen, as is found in these kinds of products—which could help explain why beer may be more carcinogenic to the breast than some other forms of alcohol.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Dave Shea via flickr.

Doctor's Note

A phytoestrogen in beer? More on the background in the prequel: The Most Potent Phytoestrogen is in Beer.

Other videos on dietary effects on testosterone include:

What about “natural” hormones for menopause? See Plant-Based Bioidentical Hormones.

For more on the risks of alcohol in terms of breast cancer risk, see Breast Cancer and Alcohol: How Much is Safe? and Breast Cancer Risk: Red Wine vs. White Wine.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

68 responses to “What are the Effects of the Hops Phytoestrogen in Beer?

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      1. The abstract of this paper looks interesting but I don’t have access to the full paper. Is there any way you could summarize the highlights for us? For example, which kinds of cancers does the protective effects apply to?




        1
        1. I wrote more here-

          If we follow the information in this video that hops phytoestrogen is a selective oestrogen receptor alpha promotor, then this seems like it would stimulate prostate cancer growth for example-

          “Intraprostatic presence of oestrogens in addition to androgens is key for prostate carcinogenesis. In humans, a novel oestrogen receptor-dependent mechanism has been shown to regulate TMPRSS2:ERG expression, which is associated with more aggressive prostate cancer variants. Interestingly, expression of TMPRSS2:ERG decreased after oestrogen receptor b (ER-b) agonist treatment (0.43- fold difference) and increased after oestrogen receptor a (ER-a) agonist treatment (4.63-fold difference)
          http://www.europeanurology.com/article/S0302-2838(08)01435-8/pdf/oestrogens-and-prostate-cancer-novel-concepts-about-an-old-issue

          More examples of ER alpha and prostate cancer-
          http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/141121/ncomms6383/full/ncomms6383.html
          http://www.endocrine-abstracts.org/ea/0037/ea0037OC8.5.htm
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3134227/

          Articles claiming hops can decrease prostate cancer are referring to other isolated compounds from hops, such as Xanthohumols.
          http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711306000122

          OR are using for chemical castration-
          “Historically, oestrogens have been considered protective against prostate cancer and have been used as a second-line therapy for the treatment of advanced cases. Such effect is mainly associated with negative feedback on the hypothalmo–pituitary–gonadal axis, leading to a state of chemical castration”.




          1
        2. Hi, I also had only access to the abstract. However in another study that also seemed to be in vitro they looked at breast cells with addition of hop extract. This study points out the hepatic enzymes activity that metabolize estrogen. These data show that the hop extract and 6-PN preferentially enhance the nontoxic estrogen 2-hydroxylation pathway through AhR mediated up-regulation of P450 1A1.

          P450 1A1/1B1 are the major extra-hepatic P450 1 enzymes that metabolize estrogens into 2- or 4-hydroxylated forms, respectively.

          They found that enhanced estrogen 2-hydroxylation suggested a lower risk for breast cancer. Various in vitro studies have supported this finding that estrogen 2-hydroxylation represents a detoxification pathway, whereas 4-hydroxylation is correlated with malignant transformation.13−15. P450 1A1 and 1B1 are the major enzymes in breast tissues that are responsible for the local estrogen 2- and 4-hydroxylation metabolism, respectively.42,43

          This study was in vitro and showed that hops and its compound 6-PN preferentially induced the nontoxic estrogen 2-hydroxylation pathway in two different breast cell lines, which indicated a potentially protective role of hops to help reduce the risk of breast cancer through estrogen metabolism modulation.

          Hop (Humulus lupulus L.) Extract and 6-Prenylnaringenin Induce P450 1A1 Catalyzed Estrogen 2-Hydroxylation




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      2. The way I understand Dr Greger thesis is that beer only contains a small amount of estrogen from hops. But this small amount of estrogen coupled with alcohol and bacteria in the gut make it very potent. But hops by itself is beneficial like what you have posted.




        2
      3. There may be other research showing the protective effects of hops from cancer, but the take-away message I understood from the 2 videos was the opposite: the estrogen in hops (after transformation by gut bacteria) behaves more like horse estrogen in attaching to ER-alpha receptors (associated with increased breast cancer risk) than like soy estrogen in attaching to ER-beta (associated with decreased breast cancer risk). So you should avoid hops supplements or drinking large amounts of hoppy beer (or make your own gruit beer).




        1
        1. I posted more here too-

          If we follow the information in this video that hops phytoestrogen is a selective oestrogen receptor alpha promotor, then this seems like it would stimulate prostate cancer growth for example-

          “Intraprostatic presence of oestrogens in addition to androgens is key for prostate carcinogenesis. In humans, a novel oestrogen receptor-dependent mechanism has been shown to regulate TMPRSS2:ERG expression, which is associated with more aggressive prostate cancer variants. Interestingly, expression of TMPRSS2:ERG decreased after oestrogen receptor b (ER-b) agonist treatment (0.43- fold difference) and increased after oestrogen receptor a (ER-a) agonist treatment (4.63-fold difference)
          http://www.europeanurology.com/article/S0302-2838(08)01435-8/pdf/oestrogens-and-prostate-cancer-novel-concepts-about-an-old-issue

          More examples of ER alpha and prostate cancer-
          http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/141121/ncomms6383/full/ncomms6383.html
          http://www.endocrine-abstracts.org/ea/0037/ea0037OC8.5.htm
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3134227/

          Articles claiming hops can decrease prostate cancer are referring to other isolated compounds from hops, such as Xanthohumols.
          http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711306000122

          OR are using for chemical castration-
          “Historically, oestrogens have been considered protective against prostate cancer and have been used as a second-line therapy for the treatment of advanced cases. Such effect is mainly associated with negative feedback on the hypothalmo–pituitary–gonadal axis, leading to a state of chemical castration”.




          0
      4. I wonder the pros and cons though and which is in higher concentrations… as in are they equal promotion and inhibition to equal out as no effect or are the hops negative effects greater and research has just tried to support beer by isolating and concentrating smaller elements…




        1
  1. For some interesting history of beer before hops became the standard:
    Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation by Stephen Harrod Buhner




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      1. Thanks Robert. There are several useful info in this article.

        Without promoting the consumption of alcohol, beer is basically fermented plant food, albeit fermented long enough to create alcohol but the basic of beer is fermented plant food which is good for us. Originally, beer was made from fermented grain, and this promoted the cultivation of grains. So we have to give credit to beer for the incentive to grow grain.

        It’s later on that beer is made from hops because beer made from grain can be toxic if consumed in large quantity.

        Hops make people sleepy and have less sexual desire. So it’s a good birth control tool for humanity :)

        http://www.gaianstudies.org/articles3.htm

        Researchers Solomon Katz and Fritz Maytag, among others, have proposed
        that it was the discovery of grain malting and its subsequent
        fermentation that was the original motivation of societies to settle and
        grow grain.

        To understand the radical change that is involved in the shift from
        gruit to the hopped beer we now drink, it is important keep in mind the
        properties of gruit ale: it is highly intoxicating – narcotic,
        aphrodisiacal, and psychotropic when consumed in sufficient quantity.
        The hopped ale that took its

        place is quite different. Its effects are sedating and
        anaphrodesiacal. In other words it puts the drinker to sleep and dulls
        sexual desire. Hops is extremely high in estrogenic and soporific
        compounds. The phytoestrogens make it great for women in menopause but
        never good for men. (In fact there is a well-known condition among inn
        keepers and brewers in England called “brewer’s droop.”)




        0
        1. What? when was beer made “from hops”? I’ve made a lot of beer and studied it some too. Always grain for the plant sugars with yeast for the alcohol and THEN hops as a bittering agent. Beer without hops would tend to be horribly sweet. Hops-only beer would have to be extraordinarily pucker-forming. Nothing in the history of beer as I know it points to a hops-no-grain beers. I could be wrong and would not be offended one bit by a correction. Feel free.

          Wheat, Barley, Corn, and Rice are the most commonly used grains to make beer in the US. Each has to be malted to convert them into proper yeast food-plus just like coffee, the malting process itself can be altered to change the flavors that come out in the final product.




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          1. Jimmy is talking about the change in beer production from using gruit herbal mixtures as the bittering agent to the more modern method of adding hops. No one is talking about hops-no-grain beer, which as far as I know doesn’t exist.




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            1. Well you do see where I got that notion,

              “It’s later on that beer is made from hops because beer made from grain…”

              I thought maybe they had filled in some of the possible gaps in the earliest bits of history of man and alcoholic beverages. That maybe they’d dug up some “new stuff”.

              But rather it appears to be a communication with words issue-which is not a big deal with so many of us of different cultures and languages and dialects sharing the Collective.

              Cheers and malty beers!




              0
              1. Since I cannot drink beer anymore because of the hops, I am going to make beer soap :)

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfbmeZuWwuY

                The above video describes how beer is made. Now that makes me interested in beer making, I am going to learn how to make it to control what go into my beer.

                But beer is a nutritious food if done right. About the alcohol, you should drink in moderation, plus if you make your own, you can control the degree of fermentation.




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              2. When I first read the article about the history of beer, I didn’t read carefully and did think at first that beer is made of hops these days. Honestly I drink beer occasionally but never pay attention to what it is made of until this video.

                P.S. No I don’t have a reading or communication problem :)




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          2. Now I am forced to “study” how to make beer, I understand that beer is made of grains like you said but hops are added as bitterness additives and as preservatives. In the old days (1600 years ago), hops were not used but they used herbs. So unless you make homebrew beer then you cannot avoid consuming hops from commercial beer. But if you think that life is too short to worry about growing some boobs then the matter is moot :)

            http://ask.metafilter.com/146238/How-does-hopless-beer-tastes-and-looks-like

            However, hops are a relatively recent addition to beer (600 years, I believe). Before that, there were all sorts of different herbs used to balance out the sickly disgusting flavor of pure malt brew. So if you have a particular aversion to hops, you could try anything with a bitter, herbal flavor. Juniper is a good choice, for instance.




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        2. I understand that this is likely a concern for men, as well as women; however, do you have any sense if the increased rate of risk for men is at the same level as that for women …or is the likelihood of this issue occurring in men significantly lower than that for women (albeit higher than non-hop consumers)?




          0
    1. If we follow the information in this video that hops phytoestrogen is a selective oestrogen receptor alpha promotor, then this seems like it would stimulate prostate cancer growth for example-

      “Intraprostatic presence of oestrogens in addition to androgens is key for prostate carcinogenesis. In humans, a novel oestrogen receptor-dependent mechanism has been shown to regulate TMPRSS2:ERG expression, which is associated with more aggressive prostate cancer variants. Interestingly, expression of TMPRSS2:ERG decreased after oestrogen receptor b (ER-b) agonist treatment (0.43- fold difference) and increased after oestrogen receptor a (ER-a) agonist treatment (4.63-fold difference)
      http://www.europeanurology.com/article/S0302-2838(08)01435-8/pdf/oestrogens-and-prostate-cancer-novel-concepts-about-an-old-issue

      More examples of ER alpha and prostate cancer-
      http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/141121/ncomms6383/full/ncomms6383.html
      http://www.endocrine-abstracts.org/ea/0037/ea0037OC8.5.htm
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3134227/




      1
  2. This study proves that hops increase breast size but also increases breast cancer risk, while I enjoy the former I don’t want my wife getting the latter.




    1
    1. Jeff Lebowski: Men get breast cancer also. I hope neither you nor your wife face that problem. The point: It might be worth minimizing the risk for both of you?
      .
      “About 2,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2016. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.” http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics So, not a giant amount of men getting breast cancer. I’m just saying.




      1
      1. I worked with a wonderful man (in health care I might add), who was a big beer drinker. It was his recreation of choice. He was diagnosed with breast cancer, did not stop drinking beer, and very sadly is no longer with us.




        2
        1. Guest: That is a very sad story.
          .
          Thank you for taking the time to share the story. As many will jump to point out, it is an anecdote and we don’t know for sure that your friend’s recreational activity contributed to his breast cancer or not. However, I think it is helpful to remind our men that they are also at some risk for breast cancer. Maybe your story will get someone to stop and think twice about their drink of choice. So, thank you again. I don’t want anyone to get it.




          1
          1. Thea – your points are exactly why I shared my simple story. It is, yes, ‘just’ anecdotal. And we can’t draw any scientific conclusion per se. But you are right, my point was to remember that men also get breast cancer (as you mentioned) and that a lot of beer drinking may correlate to that horrible outcome.
            Now, . . having said that, . . I’m going to have Mexican food with friends tonight and I will have a beer with a lime. . . but just one. And not again until we go out and have Mex next time, probably next month. Can’t let the worry of a little phytoestrogen take the pleasure out of life. :-)




            1
    2. Different phytochemicals have different effects on women and men. For example: soy milk reduces breast cancer cells(in vitro) while it made prostate cancer cells proliferate, almond milk reduced prostate cancer cells(in vitro)but had no effect on breast cancer cells, cows milk caused the prostate cancer cells to proliferate but had no effect on breast cancer cells.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2981011/

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22043817




      0
      1. I don’t quite find your points congruent with your research?

        The abstract that states soy milk increased breast cancer (with no further evidence without a pay wall) totally contrasts with your first study, that includes statements such as-

        “Studies that have explored the effect of consumption of isoflavones alone or in soy foods on high mammographic density, a strong marker of increased breast cancer risk (56), have found no effect (57–59). ”

        “In summary, human studies that have investigated changes in circulating hormone levels or mammographic density in pre- or postmenopausal women by diets high in isoflavones from dietary supplements or soy foods have found no significant effects, suggesting that they do not alter breast cancer risk.”

        “Most studies conducted using adult animals do not support an association between an exposure to genistein and mammary tumorigenesis (62, 63). These studies exposed animals to genistein by injection or feeding them genistein, isoflavones, or soy isolate. However, animal studies show that soy/genistein intake before puberty onset provides strong protection (64).”

        The third study you posted again supports the idea expressed in this video, that ER alpha promotion promotes cancer proliferation. Your study uses soy phytoestrogens/isoflavones which prefer beta, unlike hops which prefers alpha.




        1
        1. The one study mentions that women consuming soy products from childhood to menopause reduce the chances of breast cancer, postmenopausal women should not consume soy products though. There’s also the difference between in-vitro and in-vivo, what happens in a petri dish does not always equate to what happens in our bodies.




          0
  3. I would like Dr Greger to address cannabis as a recreational alternative to alcohol.

    I mean: what other plant could possibly be as controversial in this day and age? :D




    0
  4. I have been researching probiotics on this website. I have watched many videos, can anyone tell me which brand of probiotics Dr. Greger actually does recommend.




    0
    1. I have very rarely seen Dr Greger endorse brands (I think largely to avoid any risk of bias!) However many of the videos, or sources cited describe the specific strains, which you could then look at products for the same doses and strains and choose them?

      For example-

      Effective strains for probiotics for diarrhoea discussed here-
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/preventing-and-treating-diarrhea-with-probiotics/

      Or as an alternative- plants! Especially as prebiotics-
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/preventing-the-common-cold-with-probiotics/
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/tipping-the-balance-of-firmicutes-to-bacteroidetes/
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/boosting-good-bacteria-in-the-colon-without-probiotics/




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    2. I used probiotics supplement with success but I don’t want to advertise the brand here (and different people prefer different brands). As a general rule, you want to use a probiotics supplement with 10-50 billions CFU’s. The way I know if a supplement works if that I no longer have stomach bloating, or gas when consuming let say bean, have better bowel, etc. I also consume my homemade sauerkraut made of mixed vegetables.




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    3. As others have said, the good doc does not do brand endorsement. In the interest of helping, because the people here are really great, I will. Try “Nutrition Now PB8”. I’ve been taking it since 2001. I tried only 2 two others, and came back and stayed with PB8. It works well, is easily available and affordable, no side effects. No need for me to try any others.

      You should also know the good doc strongly recommends prebiotics over probiotics. I guess in the course of a near perfect diet/ lifestyle, one wouldn’t need probiotics. I try to eat as many prebiotics as I can, but I still take probiotics daily.




      0
      1. Yep, prebiotics is to help probiotics. I am not advocating taking supplement but my logic says that a supplement has billions of colony-forming unit (CFU) of bacteria plus different strains of bacteria, and I cannot guarantee that I can get it all from foods, so I take a probiotics supplement in addition to eating probiotics foods. During my breakfast, I drink a raw veggie and this is the prebiotics foods for my probiotics foods and supplement throughout the day. After my lunch and dinner, I also eat fruits and I forgot if this help pre or probiotics plus it gives me Vitamin C which is useful for the probiotics. I also eat homemade fermented sauerkraut for my probiotics.

        Now to choose the type of supplement, you pick a brand with billions of CFU of bacteria, and more importantly it contains the strain of bacteria for your condition. So my probiotics supplement may not be the same as yours because it depends on the strains of bacteria it contains. Let say you have IBD then you pick the brand of supplement suitable for it.

        http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/how-to-choose-the-best-probiotic-supplement/

        https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/How+do+I+choose+the+best+probiotic+supplement%3F+There+are+so+many+different+strains+of+bacteria!/choosing_a_probiotic/




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          1. This web site and the consumerlab web site should be used as references only but it’s not for determining good probiotics. I would go with the user feedback from sites like Amazon.com. Because labdoor and consumerlab grade the probiotics based on the amount of CFU of bacteria but things are not as simple as this. I used to use a probiotics supplement with 30 Billions CFU but it is not as good as the one I currently use now which has only 3.5 B of CFU’s. But all it counts is how effective is the probiotics and what strains do they use.




            0
            1. True, there is no one single source. Amazon is good for end user opinions. Labdoor tests the products for label accuracy, heavy metals, etc. Consumer Reports I don’t use because I refuse to pay. When it comes to probiotics, it most likely will depend on the gut health of the person taking it.




              0
              1. I agree with you. I once take a probiotics with 50 Billion CFU but I don’t feel good. I am using 2 probiotics now and I like the one that has 3.5 B CFU’s compared to the one that has 30 B CFU’s. It has an “earth” source like kids playing in the dirt without washing their hands before eating :) By the way, I just ordered the “Nutrition Now PB8” supplement that you recommend. It has good users reviews on Amazon. I will let you know in a month on how it goes.

                I am big on probiotics because I believe that this is the key to our health by supplying good beneficial bacteria to the gut which will help digestion and absorption of nutrients. So I take 3 pills per day from 2 different brands (now 3) :)




                1
                1. Of course every “body” is different. I believe it also matters how many of those CFU’s survive storage. PB8 has two types, one is vegetarian. I use the regular one, found it most effective. From my experience, I noticed the difference within a few days. Good luck, and good health to you.




                  0
                  1. I bought the non vegetarian too. This is my second day of use and I feel good so far. I use PB8 exclusively to see the difference. Thanks.

                    P.S. PB8 is relatively cheaper than other probiotics. I refrigerate all of my probiotics although it is not required to keep as many bacteria alive.




                    0
                    1. I sometimes refrigerate them. I don’t think it can hurt, because there’s a desiccant in the bottle. When they’re on sale, I’ll buy 4, and refrigerate 3. Honestly, refrigerated or not, I didn’t notice a difference. The non vegetarian type also has inulin in it, another type of fiber, which I did research, and despite claims to the contrary, is perfectly safe.

                      Tip: if there’s a Vitamin Shoppe near you, they usually stock them. Just tell them at checkout you want them to match the online price, and they will. If not, the online price is pretty good.




                      1
  5. I became curious as to the effect of hops phytoestrogens on men’s
    health, so did a search and found these two PubMed research papers
    which seem to indicate a beneficial effect against prostate cancer.
    It seems that these phytoestrogens promote cancer cell apoptosis
    (cell death) and anti-proliferative effects, at least in a petri
    dish. So I’m a little confused here. Could these hops phytoestrogens
    be bad for women but good for men? Could Dr G or some nutrition
    knowledgeable person/volunteer read and comment on these two papers?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16678392

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17726738




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    1. This is my understanding-

      Oestrogen and Prostate cancer is one that has a lot of seemingly conflicting data initial, like breast cancer as discussed in this video it seems more dependent on the specific receptor (alpha Vs beta).

      If we follow the information in this video that hops phytoestrogen is a selective oestrogen receptor alpha promotor, then this seems like it would stimulate prostate cancer growth for example-

      “Intraprostatic presence of oestrogens in addition to androgens is key for prostate carcinogenesis. In humans, a novel oestrogen receptor-dependent mechanism has been shown to regulate TMPRSS2:ERG expression, which is associated with more aggressive prostate cancer variants. Interestingly, expression of TMPRSS2:ERG decreased after oestrogen receptor b (ER-b) agonist treatment (0.43- fold difference) and increased after oestrogen receptor a (ER-a) agonist treatment (4.63-fold difference)
      http://www.europeanurology.com/article/S0302-2838(08)01435-8/pdf/oestrogens-and-prostate-cancer-novel-concepts-about-an-old-issue

      More examples of ER alpha and prostate cancer-
      http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/141121/ncomms6383/full/ncomms6383.html
      http://www.endocrine-abstracts.org/ea/0037/ea0037OC8.5.htm
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3134227/

      Articles (such as yours) claiming hops can decrease prostate cancer are referring to other isolated compounds from hops, such as Xanthohumols.
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711306000122

      OR are using for chemical castration-
      “Historically, oestrogens have been considered protective against prostate cancer and have been used as a second-line therapy for the treatment of advanced cases. Such effect is mainly associated with negative feedback on the hypothalmo–pituitary–gonadal axis, leading to a state of chemical castration”.
      The effect of this is usually only 2-3 years before the cancer becomes castration resistant and tumour growth resumes.




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  6. Hello Dr. Greger… I am wondering if you have any insights and/or information on Hops Phytoestrogen on prostate cancer. From what I understand, PCa is a hormone-related cancer and has something to do with estrogen. Is there a correlation? Thanks.




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    1. Hi Kayster,

      Oestrogen and Prostate cancer is one that has a lot of seemingly conflicting data initial, like breast cancer as discussed in this video it seems more dependent on the specific receptor (alpha Vs beta).

      If we follow the information in this video that hops phytoestrogen is a selective oestrogen receptor alpha promotor, then this seems like it would stimulate prostate cancer growth for example-

      “Intraprostatic presence of oestrogens in addition to androgens is key for prostate carcinogenesis. In humans, a novel oestrogen receptor-dependent mechanism has been shown to regulate TMPRSS2:ERG expression, which is associated with more aggressive prostate cancer variants. Interestingly, expression of TMPRSS2:ERG decreased after oestrogen receptor b (ER-b) agonist treatment (0.43- fold difference) and increased after oestrogen receptor a (ER-a) agonist treatment (4.63-fold difference)
      http://www.europeanurology.com/article/S0302-2838(08)01435-8/pdf/oestrogens-and-prostate-cancer-novel-concepts-about-an-old-issue

      More examples of ER alpha and prostate cancer-
      http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/141121/ncomms6383/full/ncomms6383.html
      http://www.endocrine-abstracts.org/ea/0037/ea0037OC8.5.htm
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3134227/

      Articles claiming hops can decrease prostate cancer are referring to other isolated compounds from hops, such as Xanthohumols.
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711306000122

      OR are using for chemical castration-
      “Historically, oestrogens have been considered protective against prostate cancer and have been used as a second-line therapy for the treatment of advanced cases. Such effect is mainly associated with negative feedback on the hypothalmo–pituitary–gonadal axis, leading to a state of chemical castration”.




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  7. It would be interesting to find out if the glyphosate residue on the hops is responsible for the phytoestrogens. Glyphosate does disrupt the endocrine system and is linked to breast cancer. It would also be interesting to find out if say Germany has had an increase in breast cancer since the advent of glyphosate around 1974 until now compared to say 1950 to 1970. Of interest here is also that in a recent test all German beers had glyphosate residue.




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  8. Thank you Mister Greger, thank you so much… you destroid right in this moment the German legend of his strengths. For centuries we used beer, to calm down the starvation at the wintertime, to calm down the hotness in the summer, to make friends by tough negotiations with strangers an of course to speak right at the German-Thing… and now you recomand not to drink beer at all??? Oh Wotan, where you are? Odin get us the met and the beer to be a strong nation and now it seems to be bad???
    A German can stay without meat, he can stay by only plant-based food but forego on his beer – n e v e r! ;-)
    (for people they are not familiar with the german jokes – that was ironical…:-))




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  9. ok, ok… the original beer of Germans is without hops. Hops was used first by christian monks to calm down there request for sex. German in the past used plants like wild rosemary or black henbane to make their beer…never ever hops. Only for the sake of completeness ;-)




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  10. I breastfed my two children. One of the number one folk remedies for low milk supply is drinking a glass of Guinness. Could there be some relationship to beer and breast milk production. (The other oft-cited remedy for low supply is oatmeal.)




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  11. So two questions, can ingesting hops cause gynecomastia (a.k.a. “breasticles” or “man-boobs”) then? And what about soy will it cause gynecomastia? I can’t drink beer or consume hops in any form as I have celiac disease, but I eat tons of soy I always have. I have always carried weight in my chest even since my teens before I became vegan and this has been a cause for embarrassment. Am I just exacerbating it with soy consumption?




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  12. When the video said it reduces testosterone(or that alcohol does at least), I wondered if any men have looked into that and drink beer for self control(in small amounts lol)!




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