Czech Company Designs a Nonalcoholic Beer to Taste Good to Cancer Patients

Prague Morning

Prague Morning

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Many oncology patients swear off alcohol during treatment, but in the Czech Republic, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy have a new option.

The nonalcoholic Mamma Beer (mamma is the Latin word for "breast") is meant to counteract dysgeusia, a palate-altering phenomenon that is often a side effect of chemotherapy that makes food and drink taste bitter or bland. It is targeted for women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer and is one of several new products coming on the market specifically to address the changes in the way food tastes to cancer patients.

"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," says Dr. Karolina Hovorkova, an oncologist who has been distributing samples of Mamma Beer to her patients at Onkocentrum clinic in Prague since April.

Research from the Netherlands' Wageningen University confirms that taste disturbance in cancer patients can not only interfere with their overall nutritional status but may also affect treatment and recovery.

Zatec, a brewery in the hops-rich region of Usti nad Labem, 40 miles north of Prague, is known for its organic and gluten-free beers. It produced an initial run of 400 fuchsia-labeled bottles of Mamma Beer. Brewers drew on Drexlerova's personal experience with dysgeusia to create the beer's flavor, adding apple juice to counter the metallic bitterness that is a common complaint among chemo patients.

The beer's distinct flavor — sweet and fruity, with a tangy finish that's halfway between a cider and a beer — has proved successful with Mamma HELP's clients.

Mamma Beer debuted this past March at the Prague Beer Festival and has been distributed at oncology wards and pharmacies.

Read the full article here

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