8-Prenylnaringenin from hop (Humulus lupulus L.) – a panacea for menopause?
8-Prenylnaryngenin (8-PN) is the strongest known phytoestrogen (PE). Its main source is the female inflorescences of hops (Humulus lupulus L.). 8-PN, which, in contrast to other PEs, is proven to have stronger activity and higher affinity for the α subtype of estrogen receptor (ER). Therefore, it may be an effective substitute for hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The studies in postmenopausal women have shown its particular effectiveness in reducing hot flashes. However, a strong stimulation of uterus by 8-PN may be associated with the occurrence of adverse effects (eg. bleeding) and increase the risk of carcinogenesis. The H. lupulus extracts preparations are currently supplements which makes control of the doses used and thus increases the occurrence of uncontrolled self-treatment difficult. This paper presents the current knowledge on 8-PN and discusses the potential risks associated with use of hops to alleviate the symptoms of menopause.