Hops Extract and Joint Health

A growing number of joint supplements have started to use hops extract, and this seems to have as a result of certain hops extracts seeming to have an anti inflammatory effect. This comes down to what’s known as alpha acids. The thing is the most of the studies have been done in test tubes or animals. There is one human study that suggests hops extracts can have a positive impact on joint pain, but (at the time of writing) it is just the one quality placebo controlled trial and the pain relief was self reported. [1]

Now, that’s not to say that it won’t have any positive impact, but it’s more that it’s just a bit overblown, especially considering that there are a lot of other known natural compounds that can be effective for inflammation.

The Science Behind Hops and Joint Health

So, we’ve said that Alpha Acids can function as an anti inflammatory. That’s because they’ve been shown to inhibit an enzyme known as COX-2. This is the same way in which the more commonly studied joint supplement bromelain works. COX-2 is responsible for some of the bodies inflammation and as a result joint pain as a result. [2]

Dosage of Hops Extract for Joint Pain

As there’s only one current study to go from, we’ll have to look at that one for the dosage. The dose that was shown to be effective was 2 grams of hops, standardized to have 600mg of Alpha Acids.

It’s worth noting that this trial was only on 33 people.

Hops Extract Alongside Other Natural Supplements

Hops extract could sit well alongside other supplements that target other actors when it comes to joint pain, omega 3 or glucosamine would be two good examples. It’s probably not going to be worth stacking it with something like bromelain. It’s also worth noting that bromelain targets the same actors and requires a lower volume of the ingredient making it more suitable for combined supplements.

The Study: Hops Extract for Joint Health

In a study involving 33 men and women with an average age of 57, participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: placebo, one gram per day of Perluxan (a standardized hops extract), or two grams per day of Perluxan. [1]

After 14 days of intervention, significant improvements in WOMAC Pain While Walking on a Flat Surface values were recorded just two hours after the first two-gram dose of the hops extract. Both groups taking the hops extract reported reductions in pain while lying in bed during the study, indicating the fast-acting effect of the supplement.

So Does Hops Work For Joint Pain?

Well the short answer is that it probably does have some positive effect. Even if we only have the one human trial to go from, the test tube studies we have suggest that it works the same way as bromelain which is more well backed.

But, there really isn’t enough evidence to say anything conclusively, and it isn’t particularly exciting when there are compounds that appear to be more effective at doing the same thing.


1 - "Effects of Standardized Hops (Humulus lupulus L.) Extract on Joint Health: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind, Multiple Dose Study" - Austin Journal of Nutrition & Metabolism 2022; 9

2 - "Hop (Humulus lupulus L.) a plant used as an ingredient in beer or employed for its anti-inflammatory properties" - Journal List Int J Mol Sci PMC9603919 Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Oct; 23(20): 12423.

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