Research by scientists from the Center for Food Biology revealed what powerful antioxidants are hidden in Bulgarian beer

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Research by scientists from the Center for Food Biology revealed what powerful antioxidants are hidden in Bulgarian beer
Research by scientists from the Center for Food Biology revealed what powerful antioxidants are hidden in Bulgarian beer

Beer produced in Bulgaria has a high content of powerful antioxidants called melanoidins. Their amount in beer approaches their levels in coffee, and there they are the most. This is according to a study by scientists from the Center for Food Biology, Sofia University and the Institute of Cryobiology and Food Technology. It analyzes 12 popular brands of beer: 7 light and 5 dark from different manufacturers

Melanoidins are a large group of compounds that give foods their brown color. They are produced by a multi-step chemical reaction at high temperature between carbohydrates and proteins. The richest of them are coffee, dark beer and bread. In beer, they come mainly from m alt, being formed during the roasting process, which explains why there are more of them in dark beer.

Their impact is concentrated in the digestive tract of people, where they neutralize free radicals that are formed as a result of the breakdown of food.

Melanoidins are prebiotics - they stimulate the development of probiotics, i.e. beneficial intestinal microorganisms such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli and suppress pathogenic species such as salmonella and colibacteria that have entered the human body. In the intestines, they behave like vegetable fibers, broken down by some bacteria. In addition, they bind to heavy metals that enter through food and thus reduce their toxic effect.

“In recent years, melanoidins have been the subject of intense research, and the data is interesting, both for producers and for he alth nutritionists and consumers. It has been definitively established that the compounds have many positive properties for human he alth," explained molecular biologist Dr. Sergey Ivanov.

He specified that they are the only temperature-formed compounds in foods that are associated with beneficial effects for the body, and therefore their study reveals many hitherto unknown mechanisms of effects. The expert added that they participate in the formation of the taste and aroma of food and drinks, and therefore their type and concentration are very important for manufacturers.

The study, which is being carried out for the first time in the country, indicates that the content of these substances in native beer varies from 0.033 to 0.631%. Expectedly, about 10 times more are observed in dark beers than in light ones. The average values are 0.038% for light and 0.415% for dark beers, respectively. The variation in the content of the individual brands is a consequence of the use of different types of m alt and technologies by the producers, experts say.


Natural antioxidants are mostly found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and beer. In beer, they come from m alt, hops and brewer's yeast. The positive impact of hops on human he alth and metabolism has been proven because it contains over 100 different polyphenolic compounds. The amount of polyphenols depends on the type of beer, the raw materials used in it, and the brewing process. It contains twice as many polyphenols as white wine.

Polyphenols are antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-mutagenic. They are one of the most important substances for the human body, because they protect lipoproteins in the blood from oxidation, bind free radicals, protect against the development of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, immune disorders, neurodegenerative and other diseases.

Antioxidants important for the proper functioning of the body are also vitamin C and glutathione. Glutathione neutralizes harmful pesticides, industrial pollutants, and bacterial poisons that are ingested from the outside environment. It also regulates cellular defense mechanisms, energy balance, synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids. Development from 2011 - 2012 by the Center for Food Biology, IFGR at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Cryobiology and Food Technologies established that the main "producer" of glutathione in beer is yeast. Research conducted on the most common Bulgarian beer brands showed that 90% of them contain glutathione in the range of 0.1 - 0.2 mg/liter. In addition to the beneficial properties for humans, glutathione is important for the qualities of beer, as it stabilizes the drink and reduces the levels of oxidation processes.

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