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Reducing hot flushes with Lifenol.

The total number of people suffering from menopausal discomfort accounts for more than 51 million in the US and more than 121 million in Europe. They are women between the ages of 45 and 55 with good incomes and purchasing power. (1) Menopause is defined as when a woman stops having menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months. This leads to a decrease in the production of estrogen, which is associated with symptoms such as hot flushes, insomnia and mood changes, as well as post-menopausal osteoporosis and vaginal atrophy. More than 70% of menopausal women are affected by hot flushes.

Following the initial debate on hormone replacement therapy (HTR), menopausal women are now looking for natural, efficient and safe solutions to balance their lack of estrogen. Interest in the use of phytoestrogens for the management of menopausal complaints has increased considerably. Phytoestrogens are mostly non-steroidal polyphenolic plant-derivative compounds that functionally mimic the activity of human estrogen; typical sources include soy and red clover (isoflavones), flaxseeds (lignans) and hops (prenylflavonoids). (2) Hops (Humulus lupulus L .) have been used since the middle ages to flavour beers, and their estrogenic effects have been reported in bodies of literature since the 18th century. Although hops have been known to be estrogenic from both medical and anecdotal reports, phytoestrogen preparations based on hops are relatively new. The principle estrogen--8-prenylnaringenin (8-PN)--was only identified in 1999.3 The US daily intake of beer is estimated to be 225 mL. (4) Considering that the 8-PN content of American beers is between 1 [micro]g/L in lager beer and 240 [micro]g/L in American porter beer, the daily consumption of 8-PN per capita in the US can be estimated to be between 3.3 [micro]g and 54 [micro]g of 8-PN per day. (5) 8-PN has a greater affinity for estrogenic receptors compared with coumestrol from red clover (Trifolium pretense L.) or genistein and daidzein from soy (Glycine max L.). 8-PN and genistein both have estrogen-like structures, but 8-PN has a lateral chain that increases its estrogenic receptor binding strength compared with genistein. (6)


Based on these observations, the NAT'Life Division of Naturex developed and patented Lifenol, a female hop cone extract that is standardized in prenylflavonoids. The patented process guarantees a unique prenylflavonoid profile. Lifenol contains 8-PN at a concentration of 0.12-0.2% and more than 1% of isoxanthohumol, a molecule that can be transformed into 8-PN by the intestinal microflora. This specific profile has been associated, for the first time, with efficacy studies on menopausal disorders. Lifenol has been demonstrated to be effective at reducing hot flushes in post-menopausal and menopausal women in two clinical studies. Moreover, several scientifically validated participant questionnaires were used in both clinical studies as a self-evaluating instrument to measure the menopause-related quality of life. The first double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study involved 67 post-menopausal women for a period of 12 weeks and showed that 120 mg of Lifenol (containing 100 [micro]g of 8-PN) was able to reduce hot flushes and night sweating after 6 weeks of administration, compared with the baseline and placebo (p<0.01). (7)


The objective of the second study was to confirm the effect of 120 mg of Lifenol on 36 menopausal women in a 4-month crossover study. The results confirmed that Lifenol was statistically more effective than the placebo regarding the reduction of hot flushes and night sweating (p<0.05) (Erkkola et al., manuscript in preparation). In conclusion, the results from both studies showed that women feel much better when supplemented with 120 mg of Lifenol on a daily basis. They reported a significant reduction in overall menopausal discomfort. When specific parameters were studied independently, supplemented women recorded 4 times fewer hot flushes and half as many sweats compared with those taking a placebo (Figure 1). Moreover, the three different participant questionnaires revealed a clear improvement in the women's quality of life by reducing the number of hot flushes.


(1.) M.J. Minkin and C.V. Wright, What Every Woman Needs to Know about Menopause: The Years Before, During and After (Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, 1997).

(2.) P. Cos, et al., "Phytoestrogens: Recent Developments," Planta Med. 69(7), 589-599 (2003).

(3.) S. Milligan, et al., "Oestrogenic Activity of the Hop Phyto-Oestrogen, 8-Prenylnaringenin," Reproduction 123(2), 235-242 (2002).

(4.) US Department of Agriculture, ERS/USDA Data: Food Consumption (Per Capita) Data System ( Last accessed 23/2/2004.

(5.) J.F. Stevens, A.W. Taylor and M.L. Deinzer, "Quantitative Analysis of Xanthohumol and Related Prenylflavonoids in Hops and Beer by Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry," J. Chromatogr A 832(1-2), 97-107 (1999).

(6.) S.R. Milligan, et al., "Identification of a Potent Phytoestrogen in Hops (Humulus lupulus L .) and Beer," J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 84(6), 2249-2252 (1999).

(7.) A. Heyerick, et al., "A First Prospective, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study on the Use of a Standardized Hop Extract to Alleviate Menopausal Discomforts," Maturitas 54(2), 164-175 (2006).

For more information

Alvin Ibarra

Nat'Life Division, Naturex

375 Huyler Street, South Hackensack

New Jersey 07606, USA.

Tel. +1 201 440 5000
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Title Annotation:women's health
Author:Ibarra, Alvin
Publication:Nutraceutical Business & Technology
Date:Mar 1, 2009
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