Singapore: Beer lovers may soon have a gut-friendly drink to raise a toast to, thanks to scientists who have created a probiotic sour beer that boosts immunity.
The new beer created by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS), incorporates the probiotic strain Lactobacillus paracasei L26, which was first isolated from human intestines and has the ability to neutralise toxins and viruses, as well as regulate the immune system.
Studies have shown that consuming food and beverages with live counts of probiotics are more effective in delivering health effects than eating those with inactive probiotics. Currently, the recommendation by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics is to have a minimum of one billion probiotics per serving in order to attain the maximum health benefits.
"While good bacteria are often present in food that have been fermented, there are currently no beers in the market that contain probiotics," said Chan Mei Zhi Alcine from NUS. "Developing sufficient counts of live probiotics in beer is a challenging feat as beers contain hop acids that prevent the growth and survival of probiotics," Alcine said.
Researchers took about nine months to come up with an ideal recipe that achieves the optimal count of live probiotics in the beer.
By propagating the probiotic and yeast in pure cultures, and modifying conventional brewing and fermentation processes, researchers managed to increase and maintain the live counts of the strain of probiotic.
"For this beer, we used a lactic acid bacterium as a probiotic micro-organism. It will utilise sugars present in the wort to produce sour-tasting lactic acid, resulting in a beer with sharp and tart flavours," said Alcine.
"The final product, which takes around a month to brew, has an alcohol content of about 3.5 per cent" she said.
The NUS research team has filed a patent to protect the recipe for brewing the probiotic sour beer. "The general health benefits associated with consuming food and beverages with probiotic strains have driven demand dramatically," said Liu Shao Quan, Associate Professor at NUS.
"In recent years, consumption of craft or specialty beers has gained popularity too. I am confident that the probiotic gut-friendly beer will be well-received by beer drinkers, as they can now enjoy their beers and be healthy," he said.