For Patients & Caregivers
How It Works
Hops extracts have not been shown to treat or cure cancer.
Hops are traditionally used in beer brewing as flavoring agents. Studies done in laboratory and in animals have shown that hops extracts have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and anticancer effects. In human studies, hops was found to benefit patients with type-2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and insomnia. Hops extracts have also been used to reduce hot flashes in menopausal women.
Patients with hormone-sensitive cancers should consult their physicians before using products containing hops.
When used in combination with rosemary leaf and oleanolic acid, hops extract reduced pain in patients with osteoarthritis.
When used in combination with valerian, hops extracts improved sleep in patients with mild insomnia. More data are needed.
Hops extract decreased hot flashes in menopausal women,
In a small study, hops extract lowered blood glucose and improved insulin sensitivity in patients with type-2 diabetes. Larger studies are required to confirm such effects.
Do Not Take If
- You are taking Cytochrome P450 substrates: Hops extracts were shown to inhibit CYP2C8, CYP1A2, CYP2C9 and CYP2C19 in vitro, and may affect the efficacy and safety of the substrate drugs when co-administered. Clinical relevance is not known.
- You are taking Paracetamol (Acetaminophen): Some hops species were shown to slow clearance of paracetamol, thereby increasing its analgesic effects, in murine models. Clinical relevance has yet to be determined.
For Healthcare Professionals
Hops are the female inflorescences of the plant Humulus lupulus L. They are used primarily in beer brewing to add bitterness and flavor. Hops is also used as an herbal medicine for mood disturbance and insomnia (1) and to treat menopausal symptoms. In vitro studies have shown that hops has antibacterial (28), chemopreventive (2) (3) (4), antitumor (5), antiangiogenic (6), anti-inflammatory (19), phytoestrogenic (29) and antidiabetic (7) properties. In murine models, hops reduced hyperlipidemia (8), obesity (9), protected against bone loss following estrogen depletion (21), and reduced development of acute alcohol-induced damage (22).
In clinical studies, a hops-valerian combination product was reported to improve sleep quality (10) (16), and insulin sensitivity in patients with type-2 diabetes (7). Hops extracts were also shown to alleviate mild depression, anxiety and stress symptoms in healthy adults (23); and to decrease body fat in healthy overweight subjects (24). Data from an observational study suggest benefits of a combination of hops, rosemary extract and oleanolic acid in reducing arthritic pain (11). However, it is not clear whether hops alone would exert similar effects.
In addition, hops extracts were shown to alleviate menopausal symptoms (13) (17) (25), and may improve bone health (18) in postmenopausal women. Some studies also indicate that derivates of hops have phytoestrogenic effects (7) (12). Patients with hormone-sensitive cancers should consult their physicians before using products containing hops.
Mechanism of Action
Isomerized hops extracts (IHEs) increase plasma HDL levels and decrease atherosclerosis index (AI) in mice on high fat, high cholesterol diet via PPAR-alpha activation (14). These extracts also reduced plasma triglyceride levels and induced hepatomegaly (8). A product containing hops extract reduces levels of C-reactive protein in patients with inflammatory diseases (12).
Prenyl flavonoids from hops, xanthohumol, isoxanthohumol, and 8-prenylnaringen (8-PN) inhibit aromatase activity and breast cancer cell proliferation, increase apoptosis (5), and inhibit prostate cancer cell proliferation (3). 8-PN has also been reported to be among the potent estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) phytoestrogens, which is likely responsible for relief of menopausal symptoms (29). In addition, xanthohumol exhibits antiangiogenic effect by inhibiting the NF-kB and Akt pathway (6); isoadhumulone, isocohumulone and isohumulone derived from hops were shown to selectively inhibit aldo-keto-reductase 1B10 (AKR1B10), which is upregulated in various cancers promoting carcinogenesis (30).
The isoxanthohumols are converted in the distal human gut into 8-PN via the action of intestinal microflora (12). This process also occurs in the liver and is regulated by the cytochrome P450 enzymes (15).
- Cytochrome P450 substrates: Hops extracts were shown to inhibit CYP2C8, CYP1A2, CYP2C9 and CYP2C19 in vitro, and may affect the efficacy and safety of the substrate drugs when co-administered. Clinical relevance is not known (27).
- Paracetamol (Acetaminophen): Some hops species were shown to slow clearance of paracetamol, thereby increasing its analgesic effects, in murine models. Clinical relevance has yet to be determined (20).