Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Honey Recommended over Sugar for Type 1 Diabetic Patients

Anectdotally accepted for years, now encouraging confirmation that honey is better than sugar -  even for diabetics...

Honey and Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
Source: Type 1 Diabetes - Complications, Pathogenesis, and Alternative Treatments
InTech Open, November 2011 

Aim of the Study
The aim of this work was to compare the effects of honey, sucrose and glucose on plasma glucose and C-peptide levels in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Type 1 diabetes mellitus is by far the most common metabolic and endocrinal disease in children (Peters & Schriger, 1997). The major dietary component responsible for fluctuations in blood glucose levels is carbohydrate. The amount, source (Jenkins et al., 1981; Gannon et al., 1989) and type (Brand et al., 1985) of carbohydrate appear to have profound influence on postprandial glucose levels. The chronic hyperglycemia of diabetes is associated with long-term damage, dysfunction and failure of various organs especially the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and blood vessels (American Diabetes Association, 2001)...

Honey is the substance made when the nectar and sweet deposits from plants are gathered, modified and stored in the honeycomb by honey bees. It is composed primarily of the sugars glucose and fructose; its third greatest component is water. Honey also contains numerous other types of sugars, as well as acids, proteins and minerals (White et al., 1962; White, 1980; White, 1975). The water content of honey ranges between 15 to 20% (average 17.2%). Glucose and fructose, the major constituents of honey, account for about 85% of the honey solids...

C-peptide is considered to be a good marker of insulin secretion and has no biologic activity of its own (Ido et al., 1997). Measurement of C-peptide, however, provides a fully validated means of quantifying endogenous insulin secretion. C-peptide is co-secreted with insulin by the pancreatic cells as a by-product of the enzymatic cleavage of proinsulin to insulin. Consequently, serum C-peptide level can be used as a true indicator of any change in the insulin level, which is the main determinant of plasma glucose level... 

Conclusions and recommendations
1. Honey has a lower glycemic and peak incremental indices compared to glucose and sucrose in both type 1 diabetic patients and non-diabetics. Therefore, we recommend using honey as a sugar substitute in type 1 diabetic patients.

2. In spite of its significantly lower glycemic and peak incremental indices, honey caused significant post-prandial rise of plasma C-peptide levels when compared to glucose and sucrose in non-diabetics; indicating that honey may have a direct stimulatory effect on the healthy beta cells of pancreas. On the other hand, C-peptide levels were not significantly elevated after honey ingestion when compared with either glucose or sucrose in type 1 diabetic patients. Whether or not ingestion of honey in larger doses or/and for an extended period of time would have a significant positive effect on the diseased beta cells, needs further studies.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Honey: The 'Bee Penicillin' That Could Even Beat MRSA

a well-researched author with concise references to the latest discoveries of the benefits of honey...

Honey: The 'Bee Penicillin' That Could Even Beat MRSA
By Gloria Havenhand, Daily Mail (UK), 11/19/2011

It is often hailed as a natural, healthy sweetener – but in most cases, honey bought from supermarkets today is simply sugar syrup with no nutritional value at all. To reap the true benefits of what was dubbed ‘the food of the gods’ by the Ancient Greeks, you have to look for the raw variety.

Perfectly clear honey has usually undergone a process of ultrafiltration and pasteurisation, which involves heating and passing it through a fine mesh, to ensure it remains runny at any temperature. This strips away many of the unique chemicals and compounds that make it a nutritious and healing health food…

Raw honey is particularly high in polyphenols, an antioxidant that has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, lowering blood cholesterol and combating heart disease. The darkest varieties of honey include heather and hedgerow honey, which have a polyphenol content of 201mg per gram. In contrast, rapeseed oil honey, known in supermarkets as ‘blossom honey’, trails behind at just 71mg per gram.

The white ring of pollen on the top contains B vitamins, Vitamins C, D and E as well as minerals and 31 other antioxidants, although to get close to your recommended daily amounts of each nutrient you need a pollen supplement…

The University of Waikato in New Zealand found that when raw honey was applied to MRSA infected antibiotic-resistant wounds, they became sterile and healed so quickly that patients could leave hospital weeks earlier. Scarring was minimised because peeling back a dressing glazed in honey – as opposed to a dry bandage – did not disturb the new tissue underneath. If you suffer a minor wound or burn, glaze a bandage with raw honey and cover. Change the glazed bandage every 24 hours and any cuts or signs of infection should disappear within a week (if not, see a doctor).

While manuka honey – a variety produced using only nectar and pollen from the manuka bush in New Zealand – gets the majority of press for being antibacterial, a good-quality raw UK honey will also be powerfully antibacterial and can kill E.coli and MRSA…

Raw honey’s anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe chronic skin conditions. Cleopatra famously bathed in milk and honey because of their skin-softening qualities – honey is a natural emollient as it is humectant (it attracts water). Melting half a jar of raw honey into a warm bath will promote healing in patients suffering with skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema, too. Mixed with olive oil, raw honey applied to the scalp is also a great tonic for those suffering with a seborrheic dermatitis (a flaky scalp condition).

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bee Venom May Help Treat Parkinson's Disease

Clinical trials are currently ongoing in Parisian Hospitals using Bee Venom in the treatment of Parkinson's Disease... 

Bee Venom Protects SH-SY5Y Human Neuroblastoma Cells from 1-Methyl-4-Phenylpyridinium-Induced Apoptotic Cell Death
Brain Research, 2011 Oct 6

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive selective loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. Recently, bee venom was reported to protect dopaminergic neurons in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine induced mice PD model, however, the underlying mechanism is not fully understood.

The objective of the present study is to investigate the neuroprotective mechanism of bee venom against Parkinsonian toxin, 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridine (MPP(+)), in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells.

Our results revealed that bee venom pretreatment (1-100ng/ml) increased the cell viability and decreased apoptosis assessed by DNA fragmentation and caspase-3 activity assays in MPP(+)-induced cytotoxicity in SH-SY5Y cells. Bee venom increased the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 expression and decreased the pro-apoptotic Bax, cleaved PARP expressions.

In addition, bee venom prevented the MPP(+)-induced suppression of Akt phosphorylation, and the neuroprotective effect of bee venom against MPP(+)-induced cytotoxicity was inhibited by a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor, LY294002.

These results suggest that the anti-apoptotic effect of bee venom is mediated by the cell survival signaling, the PI3K/Akt pathway. These results provide new evidence for elucidating the mechanism of neuroprotection of bee venom against PD.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Potent Antibacterial Components of Honey Reviewed

Honeybees continue to perplex medical researchers with something as pure and natural as honey... 

Antibacterial Components of Honey
IUBMB Life, 2011 Nov 17

The antibacterial activity of honey has been known since the 19th century. Recently, the potent activity of honey against antibiotic-resistant bacteria has further increased the interest for application of honey, but incomplete knowledge of the antibacterial activity is a major obstacle for clinical applicability.

The high sugar concentration, hydrogen peroxide, and the low pH are well-known antibacterial factors in honey and more recently, methylglyoxal and the antimicrobial peptide bee defensin-1 were identified as important antibacterial compounds in honey.

The antibacterial activity of honey is highly complex due to the involvement of multiple compounds and due to the large variation in the concentrations of these compounds among honeys. The current review will elaborate on the antibacterial compounds in honey.

We discuss the activity of the individual compounds, their contribution to the complex antibacterial activity of honey, a novel approach to identify additional honey antibacterial compounds, and the implications of the novel developments for standardization of honey for medical applications...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Basque Propolis Has Strong Activity Against Microbial Strains

Exciting new results of propolis antimicrobial and antifungal action against Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans and Salmonella enterica ...

The Antimicrobial Effects of Propolis Collected in Different Regions in the Basque Country (Northern Spain)

The antimicrobial activity of 19 propolis extracts prepared in different solvents (ethanol and propylene glycol) (EEP/PEP), was evaluated against some bacterial and fungal isolates using the agar-well diffusion method.

It was verified that all the samples tested showed antimicrobial activity, although results varied considerably between samples. Results revealed that both types of propolis extracts showed highly sensitive antimicrobial action against Gram-positive bacteria and fungi at a concentration of 20% (Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus mutans, Candida albicans and Saccharomyces cerevisae) with a minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) ranging from 0.5 to 1.5 mg/ml, with a moderate effect against Streptococcus pyogenes (MIC from 17 to 26 mg/ml).

To our knowledge, this is the first study showing elevated antimicrobial activity against Gram-negative bacteria [Salmonella enterica (MIC from 0.6 to 1.4 mg/ml)] and lesser activity against Helicobacter pylori (MIC from 6 to 14 mg/ml), while Escherichia coli was resistant.

This concluded that the Basque propolis had a strong and dose-dependent activity against most of the microbial strains tested, while database comparison revealed that phenolic substances were responsible for this inhibition, regardless of their geographical origin and the solvent employed for extraction. Statistical analysis showed no significant differences between EEP and PEP extracts.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bee Venom May Help Target Symptoms of Dementia and Depression

Apimen is a primary bee venom toxin and with the many other components in bee venom, make it a very sought-after honeybee product, such as its anti-inflammatory action in anti-aging skin creams...

Scientists Discover How to Design Drugs That Could Target Particular Nerve Cells
HealthCanal, 11/10/2011

The future of drug design lies in developing therapies that can target specific cellular processes without causing adverse reactions in other areas of the nervous system.

Scientists at the Universities of Bristol and Liège in Belgium have discovered how to design drugs to target specific areas of the brain.

The research, led by Professor Neil Marrion at Bristol’s School of Physiology and Pharmacology and published in this week’s Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS), will enable the design of more effective drug compounds to enhance nerve activity in specific nerves…

The researchers have been using a natural toxin found in bee venom, called apamin, known for its ability to block different types of SK channel. SK channels enable a flow of potassium ions in and out of nerve cells that controls activity. The researchers have taken advantage of apamin being able to block one subtype of SK channel better than the others, to identify how three subtype SK channels [SK1-3] can be selectively blocked.

Neil Marrion, Professor of Neuroscience at the University, said: “The problem with developing drugs to target cellular processes has been that many cell types distributed throughout the body might all have the same ion channels. SK channels are also distributed throughout the brain, but it is becoming obvious that these channels might be made of more than one type of SK channel subunit. It is likely that different nerves have SK channels made from different subunits. This would mean that developing a drug to block a channel made of only one SK channel protein will not be therapeutically useful, but knowing that the channels are comprised of multiple SK subunits will be the key.”

The study’s findings have identified how SK channels are blocked by apamin and other ligands. Importantly, it shows how channels are folded to allow a drug to bind. This will enable drugs to be designed to block those SK channels that are made of more than one type of SK channel subunit, to target the symptoms of dementia and depression more effectively

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Propolis Shows Anti-Inflammatory Action in Intestines

As usual, Propolis proves its functionality in a mucuos environment with anti-inflammatory activity. I wonder if CAPE will also exhert its anti-tumor properties at the same time...

Catechols in Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester are Essential for Inhibition of TNF-Mediated IP-10 Expression Through NF-κB-Dependent But HO-1- and p38-Independent Mechanisms in Mouse Intestinal Epithelial Cells

Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) is an active constituent of honeybee propolis inhibiting nuclear factor (NF)-κB. The aims of our study were to provide new data on the functional relevance and mechanisms underlying the role of CAPE in regulating inflammatory processes at the epithelial interface in the gut and to determine the structure/activity relationship of CAPE.

Methods and results: 
CAPE significantly inhibited TNF-induced IP-10 expression in intestinal epithelial cells. Using various analogues, we demonstrated that substitution of catechol hydroxyl groups and addition of one extra hydroxyl group on ring B reversed the functional activity of CAPE to inhibit IP-10 production. The anti-inflammatory potential of CAPE was confirmed in ileal tissue explants and embryonic fibroblasts derived from TNF(ΔARE/+) mice. Interestingly, CAPE inhibited both TNF- and LPS-induced IP-10 production in a dose-dependent manner, independently of p38 MAPK, HO-1 and Nrf2 signaling pathways.

We found that CAPE did not inhibit TNF-induced IκB phosphorylation/degradation or nuclear translocation of RelA/p65, but targeted downstream signaling events at the level of transcription factor recruitment to the gene promoter.

This study reveals the structure-activity effects and anti-inflammatory potential of CAPE in the intestinal epithelium.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Honey Reduces Growth & Virulence of E. coli

Honey has to be mankind's best food and medicine... even at low concentration it kills resistant bacteria...

Low Concentrations of Honey Reduce Biofilm Formation, Quorum Sensing, and Virulence in Escherichia coli O157:H7
Biofouling, 2011 Nov;27(10):1095-104

Bacterial biofilms are associated with persistent infections due to their high resistance to antimicrobial agents. Hence, controlling pathogenic biofilm formation is important in bacteria-related diseases.

Honey, at a low concentration of 0.5% (v/v), significantly reduced biofilm formation in enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 without inhibiting the growth of planktonic cells. Conversely, this concentration did not inhibit commensal E. coli K-12 biofilm formation.

Transcriptome analyses showed that honey significantly repressed curli genes (csgBAC), quorum sensing genes (AI-2 importer and indole biosynthesis), and virulence genes (LEE genes). Glucose and fructose in the honeys were found to be key components in reducing biofilm formation by E. coli O157:H7 through the suppression of curli production and AI-2 import. Furthermore, honey, glucose and fructose decreased the colonization of E. coli O157:H7 cells on human HT-29 epithelial cells.

These results suggest that low concentrations of honey, such as in honeyed water, can be a practical means for reducing the colonization and virulence of pathogenic E. coli O157:H7.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Antibacterial Strength of Honey Outperforms Artificial Honey

It's best to set the record straight - natural honey is better than manmade honey...

Effect of Honey on Streptococcus mutans Growth and Biofilm Formation

Because of the tradition of using honey as an antimicrobial medicament, we investigated the effect of natural honey (NH) on Streptococcus mutans growth, viability and biofilm formation compared to an artificial honey (AH).

AH contained the sugars at the concentrations reported for NH. NH and AH concentrations were obtained by serial dilution with tryptic soy broth (TSB). Several concentrations of NH and AH were tested for inhibition of bacterial growth, viability and biofilm formation after inoculation with S. mutans UA159 in 96-well microtiter plates to obtain absorbance and CFU values.

Overall, NH supported significantly less bacterial growth compared to the AH at 25 and 12.5% concentrations. At 50 and 25% concentrations, both honey groups provided significantly less bacterial growth and biofilm formation compared to the TSB control.

For bacterial viability, all honey concentrations were not significantly different from the TSB control except for 50% NH. NH was able to decrease the maximum velocity of S. mutans growth compared to AH.

In summary, NH demonstrated more inhibition of bacterial growth, viability and biofilm compared to AH. This study highlights the potential antibacterial properties of NH, and could suggest that the antimicrobial mechanism of NH is not solely due to its high sugar content.

Honey Prevents Oral Mucositis

Honey is an all natural humectant, keeping 'things' moist, like skin, hair, face, throat, even baked goods like cupcakes!

Effect of topical honey on limitation of radiation-induced oral mucositis: an intervention study

The effectiveness of radiation therapy for oral cancer is often outweighed by an adverse effect mucositis, a painful inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes lining the mouth. 

Drawing on research indicating that honey may promote wound healing, three scientists at Manipal University in Mangalore, India, studied its anti-inflammatory properties to see whether it might prevent severe oral mucositis in patients receiving radiation therapy. 
Their single-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial compared the effects of honey with those of Lignocaine, a local anaesthetic. Only one patient in the honey group developed intolerable oral mucositis. 

Because honey is readily available, affordable, and well accepted by patients, the investigators recommend its use in patients receiving radiation therapy for oral cancer.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Propolis Takes the Sting out of Mouth Ulcers

Propolis heals wounds, especially in the mucous linings of the body, which is a very complementary addition to any treatment protocol.  In fact, products are trending towards phyto-apitherapy formulas for even greater appeal...

Bees Take the Sting out of Mouth Ulcers
ScienceDaily (Nov. 17, 2010) 
The healing properties of propolis -- a mixture of resin and wax made by honey bees to seal and sterilize their hives -- have been known for many years. But its use in medicine and food supplements has been limited because the sticky substance is not water soluble and has a strong, off-putting smell.

Now researchers at the University of Bradford's Centre for Pharmaceutical Engineering Science have developed a way of purifying propolis that retains its medicinal properties, but makes it dissolve in water and eliminates its pungent smell. The technique has already led to the development of a new mouth ulcer gel and opens the door to a huge range of other pharmaceutical and nutraceutical applications for the substance.

"Propolis is a complex chemical mix and a very useful natural product," explains Centre Director, Professor Anant Paradkar, who led the research. "Propolis has been shown to be anti-microbial, anti-fungal, a strong anti-oxidant, non-allergenic and can boost the immune system. It also promotes wound healing and has anaesthetic properties.

"There is a substantial market for propolis-based products -- particularly in China, the USA and South Asia. The main stumbling block in developing products has been the solubility and odor issues, which our formulation overcomes."

Professor Paradkar's team has been developing the new technique to purify propolis in collaboration with natural medicine manufacturer, Nature's Laboratory. The researchers have helped the company develop a new propolis-based mouth ulcer gel, which has better anaesthetic, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties than gels already on the market and is safe for use in children.

"A problem for mouth gels is that adhesion to the skin membrane inside the mouth is difficult -- because of the nature of the surface, the gel can simply slide off," says Professor Paradkar. "As propolis retains some of its stickiness even in a water soluble formulation, when it is applied to specific areas in the mouth, it adheres more effectively."

The Centre has gained funding for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Nature's Laboratory, to further develop the purification system for use at a larger scale and support the creation of new propolis-based products. The aim is, through the KTP, that the company will be able to set up a purification process to increase its own manufacturing capacity.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Propolis Stops Bacterial Growth Proven by Quorum Sensing

a very technical explanation confirming the fact that Propolis is effective at stopping bacterial growth; thus the reason for its reputation of being antibacterial... 

A Novel Property of Propolis (Bee Glue): Anti-Pathogenic Activity by Inhibition of N-acyl-Homoserine Lactone Mediated Signaling in Bacteria
Journal ofEthnopharmacology, In Press, Accepted

An alternative approach to antibiotics is the development of anti-pathogenic agents to control the bacterial virulome. Such anti-pathogenic agents could target a phenomena known as quorum sensing (QS).

Materials and Methods
Six bacterial N-acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL)-dependent bioreporter strains were used to evaluate if bee hive glue also known as propolis contains constituents that capable of inhibiting QS-controlled AHL signaling. In addition, the effect of propolis on the QS-dependent swarming motility was evaluated with the opportunisitic pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Differences in the propolis tinctures samples were identified by physiochemical profiles and absorption spectra. Propolis tinctures at 0.0005% v/v that do not affect bacteria biosensor growth or the reporter system monitored were exposed to biosensors with and without the addition an AHL. No AHL signal mimics were found to be present in the propolis tinctures. However, when propolis and an inducer AHL signal were together exposed to five E.coli and a Chromobacterium violaceum biosensor, propolis disrupted the QS bacterial signaling system in liquid- and agar-based bioassays and in C18 reverse-phase thin-layer plate assays. Swarming motility in the opportunistic pathogen, P. aeruginosa PAO1 and its AHL-dependent LasR- and RhlR-based QS behaviors were also inhibited by propolis.

Together, we present evidence that propolis contain compounds that suppress QS responses. In this regard, anti-pathogenic compounds from bee harvested propolis could be identified and isolated and thus will be valuable for the further development of therapeutics to disrupt QS signaling systems which regulate the virulome in many pathogenic bacteria.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Antimicrobial Compound Found in Sunflower Honey

this study reinforces the advantages of cooking with honey instead sugar -- protect your food and your body!

Worobo Discovers Compound in a Honey That Could Lead to a New Natural Preservative
Amanda Garris, ChronicleOnline, 10/17/11

Honey has been used as a topical antibiotic since the Egyptians wrote papyrus prescriptions. Now, a Cornell food scientist has identified an antimicrobial compound in a honey that makes it a promising candidate as a natural preservative to prevent food-borne illness and food spoilage.

Randy Worobo, associate professor of food microbiology at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, and his lab members tested more than 2,000 strains of bacteria from eight types of honey from the United States and New Zealand. One of them stood out.

"In sunflower honey from South Dakota, we identified a strain of Bacillus thuringiensis the biological control known to organic gardeners as 'Bt' — which was effective against common food-borne pathogens including Listeria monocytogenes, the bacteria behind the recent deadly cantaloupe outbreak," said Worobo. "This Bt strain was intriguing, because it had both strong antibacterial and strong antifungal activity."

In analyzing the compounds produced by the bacteria, they found one with strong antibacterial activity that they designated as thurincin H. They recognized it as a bacteriocin, a common class of antimicrobials that bacteria produce to compete against other microbes. But compared with the some 40 known bacteriocins, it is unique: It is coded in the bacterial DNA as a unit containing three identical copies of the same bacteriocin gene.
Their findings were reported in September in Angewandte Chemie International Edition…. 

..."Bacteriocins are promising natural food preservatives for the food, livestock and agricultural industries," said Worobo. "Because they come from food-grade microorganisms, they are generally regarded as safe."