Thursday, July 31, 2014

Propolis Exhibits Melatonin Effect - Protects Thyroid, Liver

Protective effects of propolis are well-documented in humans and animals. This study confirms the important benefits of this particular component. Coincidentally, another study found that consuming propolis with CAPE is more effective than consuming CAPE separately. 

Protective antioxidative effects of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) in the thyroid and the liver are similar to those caused by melatonin
Thyroid Res, 2014 June

Whereas oxidative reactions occur in all tissues and organs, the thyroid constitutes such an organ, in which oxidative processes are indispensable for physiological functions. In turn, numerous metabolic reactions occurring in the liver create favourable conditions for huge oxidative stress. Melatonin is a well-known antioxidant with protective effects against oxidative damage perfectly documented in many tissues, the thyroid and the liver included. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), a component of honeybee propolis, has been suggested to be also an effective antioxidant. The aim of the study was to evaluate the effects of CAPE on Fenton reaction-induced oxidative damage to membrane lipids (lipid peroxidation, LPO) in porcine thyroid and liver, and to compare the results with protective effects of melatonin.

Thyroid and liver homogenates were incubated in the presence of CAPE (500; 100; 50; 10; 5.0; 1.0 μM) or melatonin (500; 100; 50; 10; 5.0; 1.0 μM), without or with addition of FeSO4 (30 μM) + H2O2 (0.5 mM). The level of lipid peroxidation was measured spectrophotometrically and expressed as the amount of MDA + 4-HDA (nmol) per mg of protein.

Whereas CAPE decreased the basal LPO in a concentration-dependent manner in both tissues, melatonin did not change the basal LPO level. When antioxidants were used together with Fenton reaction substrates, they prevented - in a concentration-dependent manner and to a similar extent - experimentally-induced LPO in both tissues.

Protective antioxidative effects of CAPE in the thyroid and the liver are similar to those caused by melatonin. CAPE constitutes a promising agent in terms of its application in experimental and, possibly, clinical studies.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Shelf Life Extended By Using Propolis as Natural Antioxidant

Normally, studies conducted on the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of propolis are for improving the health of humans and other living beings. This study applies these properties in a practical manner - as a natural food preservative.

Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activity of Commercial Propolis Extract in Beef Patties

The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of propolis extract (PE) to reduce lipid oxidation and microbial growth on beef patties during refrigerated storage. Beef patties were manufactured by incorporating PE in 4 different treatments: (1) Control (no PE addition); (2) commercial propolis 1 (2% w/w; CP1); (3) commercial propolis 2 (2% w/w; CP2); and (4) noncommercial propolis (2% w/w; NCP). Raw patties were wrapped with polyvinyl chloride and stored at 2 °C for 8 d.

Total phenolic content (TPC), free-radical scavenging activity (FRS), and polyphenolic content of the PE were evaluated using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Lipid oxidation (thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS), conjugated dienes (CnDs), metmyoglobin (MetMb%), pH variation, and color (L*, a*, b*, C*, and h*), and microbial growth (mesophilic and psychrotrophic bacteria) of patty samples were measured. NCP treatment demonstrated the highest FRS (64.8% at 100 μg/mL), which correlated with TPC and the presence of polyphenolic compounds.

Lipid oxidation (78.54%, TBARS; 45.53%, CnD; 58.57%, MetMb) and microbial mesophilic and psychrotrophic growth (19.75 and 27.03%, respectively) values were reduced by NCP treatment in refrigerated samples after 8 d. These results indicate that PE has great potential as a natural antioxidant and antimicrobial additive to extend the shelf life of beef patties.

Practical Application:
In this work, the results indicate that propolis reduced lipid oxidation and microbial growth, thereby extending meat sample shelf life. Propolis should be considered for use as an alternative to commercially available antioxidants that are currently used in meat products.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Survey Reveals Honey Heals Babies, Parents Okay

The beneficial effects of honey and its healing properties are well-documented. This study reveals the acceptance by parents and staff in the effectiveness of the healing properties of a honey wound dressing.

A Feasibility Study of Active Manuka Honey Dressings on Babies Requiring Admission to NICU

Honey Dressings have been demonstrated to have important anti-infective and wound healing properties in adults and children. Mechanisms of action include an osmotic effect on bacteria and anti-inflammatory properties. They have yet to be adequately studied in newborn infants and this study aimed to determine if honey dressings are safe and acceptable to staff and parents. In this abstract we present the themes obtained from asking parents and staff what they thought of the dressings.

Questionnaires were distributed to parents of babies who had Active Manuka Honey Dressings applied to their wounds in a feasibility study. Similar questionnaires were given to staff that had used the dressings. Responses were grouped into themes reflecting similar comments.

12 parents responded, giving responses grouped into the themes of 'natural product' and the 'effect on healing'. 46 staff commented and their responses were grouped into three themes: 'ease of application', 'smell' and 'effect on healing'. Some negative comments were also received covering 5 areas: 'properties of the dressings', 'wastage', 'inappropriate use', 'appearance' and 'lack of adhesion' under certain conditions.

Honey Dressings appear to be acceptable to parents and staff with both groups saying that they felt the dressings helped the wounds heal more quickly. More research is required to fully assess the effectiveness and role of honey dressings in newborn infants.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Bee Product Stops Renal Disease Failure in Diabetics

Propolis, honey and other products from honey bees will contain common ingredients - when bees find good food, they stick with it. This flavonoid is most prevelant in propolis, followed by honey and occasionally in pollen and beeswax.. There are other studies that confirm the benefits of propolis and honey for diabetics.

Chrysin, an anti-inflammatory molecule, abrogates renal dysfunction in type 2 diabetic rats
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology
J Tox Pharm, 2014 Aug


• Chrysin reduced renal oxidative stress and inflammation in diabetic rats.
• Chrysin reduced serum levels of pro-inflammatory in diabetic rats.
• Chrysin exhibited renal protective effect by suppressing the TNF-α pathway.

Diabetic nepropathy (DN) is considered as the leading cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) worldwide, but the current available treatments are limited. Recent experimental evidences support the role of chronic microinflammation in the development of DN. Therefore, the tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) pathway has emerged as a new therapeutic target for the treatment of DN. 

We investigated the nephroprotective effects of chrysin (5, 7-dihydroxyflavone) in a high fat diet/streptozotocin (HFD/STZ)-induced type 2 diabetic Wistar albino rat model. Chrysin is a potent anti-inflammatory compound that is abundantly found in plant extracts, honey and bee propolis. The treatment with chrysin for 16 weeks post induction of diabetes significantly abrogated renal dysfunction and oxidative stress. Chrysin treatment considerably reduced renal TNF-α expression and inhibited the nuclear transcription factor-kappa B (NF-кB) activation. Furthermore, chrysin treatment improved renal pathology and suppressed transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β), fibronectin and collagen-IV protein expressions in renal tissues. Chrysin also significantly reduced the serum levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, interleukin-1beta (IL-1β) and IL-6. Moreover, there were no appreciable differences in fasting blood glucose and serum insulin levels between the chrysin treated groups compared to the HFD/STZ-treated group. 

Hence, our results suggest that chrysin prevents the development of DN in HFD/STZ-induced type 2 diabetic rats through anti-inflammatory effects in the kidney by specifically targeting the TNF-α pathway.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Honey Improves Frozen Sperm Perfomance

Studies have already proven honey to be an effective medium for human tissue but this study confirms that it not only improves human sperm performance of infertile patients but also protects them after a deep freeze of 6 months!

Honey Supplementation to Semen-Freezing Medium Improves Human Sperm Parameters Post-Thawing

To evaluate the effect of honey supplemented to cryoprotectant medium on post-thaw sperm motility, concentration, morphology and agglutination.

Thirty semen samples were collected from 30 infertile patients. After assessment of semen analysis, semen samples were divided into 3 aliquots (0.7ml for each) and mixed with 1 ml of cryopreservation solution (G1, control) alone, or enriched with 5% honey (G2) or with 10% honey (G3) for cryopreservation. Cryopreservation was done at -196°C in liquid nitrogen and thawing was performed after six months. Direct swim up technique was used for in vitro sperm preparation post-thawing. Sperm parameters were assessed and data were statistically analyzed pre- and post-thawing.

Results appeared that the percentage of sperm motility for G1 and G2 groups were significantly reduced (P < 0.05) post-thawing when compared to pre-cryopreservation. However, there was no significant difference in the total motility (%) of the post-thaw sperm between the G1 and G2 groups. While there was significant increased (P < 0.05) in the percentage of normal sperm morphology for G1 and G3 groups post-thawing. Post-thawing normal sperm morphology (%) for G3 group was significantly increased (P < 0.05) as compared to G1 and G2 groups. In contrast non significant differences (P > 0.05) were observed between G1 and G2 groups. Significant reduction (P < 0.05) was seen in the sperm concentration for all groups post-thawing as compared to pre-cryopreservation groups. After thawing the results reveal significant reduction (P < 0.05) in the sperm agglutination (%) for G3 group as compared to G1 and G2 groups.

The results of this study indicated that the supplementation of honey (10%) to cryoprotectant solution results in enhancement of sperm quality post-thawing.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Ethiopian Propolis Contains Unique Bio-active Compounds

The growing interest in propolis is generating numerous studies validating the importance of its unique composition. Though a majority of the compounds are consistently found in propolis worldwide, environmental sources play an essential role. This study discovered a unique compound - triterpenoids - due to the abundance of Acacia waxes and gums in the region. 

Characteristics and chemical compositions of propolis from Ethiopia
J Springer Plus; 2014 May

Propolis is a sticky material mixed by honeybees to utilize it in protecting their hives from infection by bacteria and fungi. The therapeutic properties of propolis are due to its chemical composition with bio-active compounds; therefore, researchers are interested in studying its chemical constituents and biological properties. The main objective of this study is to determine the chemical compositions, characteristics and relative concentrations of organic compounds in the extractable organic matter of propolis samples collected from four different areas in Ethiopia.

The propolis samples were extracted with a mixture of dichloromethane and methanol and analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS).The results showed that the total extract yields ranged from 27.2% to 64.2% (46.7 ± 19.1%). The major compounds were triterpenoids (85.5 ± 15.0% of the total extracts, mainly α-, β-amyrins and amyryl acetates), n-alkanes (5.8 ± 7.5%), n-alkenes (6.2 ± 7.0%,), methyl n-alkanoates (0.4 ± 0.2%), and long chain wax esters (0.3 to 2.1%).

The chemical compositions of these propolis samples indicate that they are potential sources of natural bio-active compounds for biological and pharmacological applications.

Click here to download the complete study.