The Specially Brewed Beer For Breast Cancer Patients
Alcohol free and nutrient rich.
While it might seem like the last thing anyone undergoing chemotherapy would want to do, research suggests cracking open a bottle of beer may boost appetite and aid digestion -- two common side effects of said treatment.
Taking this news one step further, Mamma HELP -- a Czech organisation that helps women with breast cancer and their families -- has developed a beer that, according to its creators, has the same appeal as a traditional brew but with a number of additional benefits.
While it looks like a regular drink, Mamma Beer was designed specifically for cancer patients undergoing treatment because it has a much sweeter flavour to offset the effects of chemo on someone's sense of taste, making it more palatable.
It's alcohol-free, which means you can drink it anytime, and it's also fortified with essential nutrients -- including vitamin B and potassium -- which people need in particular during treatment to maintain their strength.
Mamma Beer creator and CEO at Mamma HELP, Jana Drexlerova -- who underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer in 2011 -- told NPR the effect of treatment can make it particularly difficult to maintain basic nutrition.
"After chemotherapy, everything tasted like sand," Drexlerova said. "When I finally got my appetite back, all I could eat was cold tomato soup, and even that was flavourless."
While science has yet to prove the actual health benefits of drinking beer during chemo or radiotherapy, Dr. Karolina Hovorkova, an oncologist who has been giving the beer to some of her patients, told NPR the drink may help to boost vitamin intake, aid digestion and stimulate appetite.
"Chemotherapy in breast cancer patients often causes a loss in taste or a change of taste that leads to a lower intake of nutrients than patients need during their treatment," Hovorkova said.
Drexlerova added that the beer has been so successful, it even debuted at the Prague Beer Festival in March. It's since been distributed on oncology wards and pharmacies.
"I wanted the beer to boost nutrition and improve health during treatment," she said. "It was also important for me to give these women back a sense of normalcy in their lives."
Currently, the brew is only available in its native Czech republic, but that doesn't mean we won't be seeing it on our shelves in the near future. Let's hope it provides inspiration for local brewers to make their own version.
Feature image: Getty/Instagram/@mamma_help.