[Health Science domain]

Ingredient Used In Beer Scientifically Confirmed To Improve Mental Health

  • Research and Technology

December 22, 2021

Kirin Holdings Company, Limited

●New research confirms Matured Hop Extract effect on improving various areas of mental health
●Positive effects confirmed in a wider variety of ages outside of the elderly
●Results open the door to functional products such as non-alcoholic beers or supplements

TOKYO, Wednesday December 22, 2021 – Kirin Holdings Company, Limited, (Kirin Holdings) in collaboration with Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd., (Mitsui Fudosan) conducted an empirical study of 100 residents and commuters of Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City complex in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture using non-alcoholic beers containing Kirin Holdings' proprietary Matured Hop Extract ingredient and confirmed the ingredients effectiveness in improving mental health.

The results of this study were published on November 5, 2021 in the Nursing and Health Sciences*1 international scientific journal.

*1 Title: Effect of non-alcoholic beer containing matured hop bitter acids on mood states in healthy adults: A single-arm pilot study Authors: Takafumi Fukuda, Shiori Akiyama, Kazuyuki Takahashi, Yasuo Iwadate, Yasuhisa Ano DOI No.: 10.1111/nhs.12898

Based on the results of this research, Kirin aims to contribute to the mental health of residents in Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City and throughout Japan by using Matured Hop Extract to help achieve a society rich in mental health.

Background to the research

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in brain and mental health, including memory, concentration, and mental health, among people of all ages in addition to the prevention of dementia and improvement of cognitive functions in the elderly. In particular, the number of people complaining of mental health problems has increased due to major changes in lifestyles caused by COVID-19, and this has become a major social issue.

Against this backdrop, Kirin has been conducting a variety of research related to food and brain health, including beer-related ingredients.

In 2017, through joint research with the University of Tokyo and Gakushuin University, Kirin Holdings discovered that iso-alpha-acids*2 - beer bitterness ingredients derived from hops - are effective in preventing Alzheimer's disease, a world-first.*3.

Matured Hop Extract

Kirin Holdings’ proprietary Matured Hop Extract ingredient with reduced bitterness can be used in a wide variety of foods other than beer. In addition Matured Hop Bitter Acids have been verified in preclinical studies to have cognitive function improvement effects, Alzheimer's disease prevention effects, and anti-depressant effects through activation of brain-gut interaction. In 2020, in a joint study with Juntendo University Faculty of Medicine, Kirin Holdings conducted a clinical trial for middle-aged and elderly people with subjective cognitive decline and confirmed that Matured Hop Extract improves cognitive function and mental health.

On the other hand, the effect of Matured Hop Extract on people of a wide range of ages other than the middle-aged and elderly was not clear, thus this study at Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City.

*2 Produced from hops in the beer brewing process. Hops have been used as a raw material for beer for over 1,000 years and are also known as a medicinal plant.
*3 Title: Iso-alpha-acids, Bitter Components of Beer, Prevent Inflammation and Cognitive Decline Induced in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease.
Authors: Yasuhisa Ano, Atsushi Dohata, Yoshimasa Taniguchi, Ayaka Hoshi, Kazuyuki Uchida, Akihiko Takashima, Hiroyuki Nakayama
Journal of Biological Chemistry
DOI No.: 10.1074/jbc.M116.763813.

Outline of the research

From August to September 2020, the effects on mental health of consuming non-alcoholic beers containing Matured Hop Extract for three weeks were examined in residents and commuters of Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City. One hundred men and women between the ages of 23 and 72 (average age 44) participated in the study.
The results of this study revealed that depressive symptoms, fatigue, anxiety, and vitality improved after three weeks of consumption compared to before consumption of non-alcoholic beers containing Matured Hop Extract. Work performance was also found to be better than before consumption, suggesting that improvements in mental health can lead to improvements in performance.

Furthermore, the results of this study suggest that the effects of Matured Hop Extract on mental health are not limited to middle-aged and elderly people, but are effective for people of all ages.

Research Methods

The study was conducted on 100 men and women (aged 23-72 years). The mental health of the participants was assessed by a questionnaire (POMS2*4) every week during a period of one week without and three weeks with Matured Hop Extract. Work performance was also assessed by a questionnaire (WHO-HPQ*5) before and 3 weeks after the intake of Matured Hop Extract. The effectiveness of Matured Hop Extract was examined by comparing before and after intake.

*4 Questionnaire to assess mood in the last week
*5 Questionnaire on Health and Work Performance prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO)

Research Results

Statistically significant improvements in the mental health assessment items of depressive symptoms, fatigue, anxiety, and vigor/vitality were observed after the intake of Matured Hop Extract compared to before (Figure 1). Work performance was also significantly improved statistically after the intake compared to the period when Matured Hop Extract was not taken (Figure 2).

  • Figure 1: Mental health score results
    Weekly results before and up to 3 weeks after consumption of non-alcoholic beers containing Matured Hop Extract. Mean ± SD, *P < 0.05 and **P < 0.01 (vs. before consumption)

  • Figure 2: Work performance results
    Results before and 3 weeks after consumption of a non-alcoholic beers containing Matured Hop Extract. Mean ± SD, **P < 0.01 (vs. before consumption)

Future Development

In the future, Kirin Holdings will provide Matured Hop Extract in non-alcoholic beers and supplements as a product based on evidence of cognitive function and mental health to consumers, and encourage them to use Matured Hop Extract in various aspects of their lives to achieve a lifestyle that can support brain and mental health. By providing these products to consumers as products based on evidence of cognitive function and mental health, and by allowing them to be used in a variety of lifestyle situations, we will promote initiatives to achieve a lifestyle that can support brain and mental health.

Kirin Brain Research

Japan’s average life expectancy has been increasing and the country has become a ‘super-aged society’*6. Given that an estimated one in five elderly people will suffer from dementia in 2025,*7 healthy life extension is a social issue. The Kirin Group understands that the joys and concerns in a daily life are intimately associated with brain activity, and thus launched the Kirin Brain Research project to develop the new solutions mainly in health science to promote brain health and joy in our later years.

*6 Cabinet Office, Japanese government, White Paper on the Aging Society, FY 2020
*7 Grants in Aid for Scientific Research, MHLW Special Research Project, Research on Future Trends in the Prevalence of Dementia among Elderly People in Japan, 2014, Report on General & Specialized Research, 2015

About Kirin Holdings

Kirin Holdings Company, Limited is an international company that operates in the Food & Beverages domain (Food & Beverages businesses), Pharmaceuticals domain (Pharmaceuticals businesses), and Health Science domain (Health Science business), both in Japan and across the globe.
Kirin Holdings can trace its roots to Japan Brewery which was established in 1885. Japan Brewery became Kirin Brewery in 1907. Since then, the company expanded its business with fermentation and biotechnology as its core technologies, and entered the pharmaceutical business in the 1980s, all of which continue to be global growth centers. In 2007, Kirin Holdings was established as a pure holding company and is currently focusing on boosting its Health Science domain.
Under the Kirin Group Vision 2027 (KV 2027), a long-term management plan launched in 2019, the Kirin Group aims to become “A global leader in CSV*, creating value across our world of Food & Beverages to Pharmaceuticals.” Going forward, the Kirin Group will continue to leverage its strengths to create both social and economic value through its businesses, with the aim of achieving sustainable growth in corporate value.

* Creating Shared Value: combined added value for consumers as well as for society at large.

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