Alison Hamm (1), Kimberly Cox-York (1), Tiffany Weir (1); (1) Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, U.S.A.


Menopause is a significant physiological transformation in the life of a woman and is accompanied by an increased risk of multiple chronic diseases. Menopause induces intestinal inflammation associated with bowel dysfunction, which can compromise the intestinal barrier and lead to inflammation in surrounding tissues and organs. The commensal bacteria that reside in our gut are important modulators of inflammation, and dysbiosis of this microbial community has been associated with numerous disease states. Accumulating evidence suggests that estrogen loss may be an important factor influencing bacterial community structure. Hop phytoestrogens, including 8-prenylnaringenin (8PN), are known to be estrogenic, and their bioactivity is dependent on the gut bacterial community. Furthermore, hop phytoestrogens and their precursors, such as xanthohumol (X), are bioactive polyphenols with known protective effects against adiposity and oxidative stress. Using an ovariectomized mouse model with a treatment of hop extract containing 8PN and XN, we have preliminary data suggesting significant physiological effects, including changes in the gut bacterial community structure and liver adiposity. We also measured the pharmacokinetics of hop extract, showing polyphenol biotransformation in vivo by the liver and gut microbiota.

Alison Hamm received a B.A. degree in molecular and cellular biology from the University of California Berkeley in 2005 and an M.S. degree in horticulture from Colorado State University in 2009. Since 2007, she has worked in Colorado with hops in various facets, including field and greenhouse production, tissue propagation, undergraduate and industry education, and craft brewery sales. She has been the secretary chair for the local MBAA chapter for over two years and has been a member for nine years. Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate at Colorado State University in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department and is involved with both research and undergraduate teaching.