The Science behind Apitherapy

Raw Honey


Title:  Natural honey lowers plasma glucose, C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and blood lipids in healthy, diabetic, and hyperlipidemic subjects: comparison with dextrose and sucrose.

Author:  Al-Waili NS     Journal:  J. Med Food. 2004 Spring;7(1):100-7.

This study included the following experiments:

(1)   effects of dextrose solution (250 mL of water containing 75 g of dextrose) or honey solution (250 mL of water containing 75 g of natural honey) on plasma glucose level (PGL), plasma insulin, and plasma C-peptide (eight subjects);

(2)   effects of dextrose, honey, or artificial honey (250 mL of water containing 35 g of dextrose and 40 g of fructose) on cholesterol and triglycerides (TG) (nine subjects);

(3)   effects of honey solution, administered for 15 days, on PGL, blood lipids, C-reactive protein (CRP), and homocysteine (eight subjects);

(4)   effects of honey or artificial honey on cholesterol and TG in six patients with hypercholesterolemia and five patients with hypertriglyceridemia;

(5)   effects of honey for 15 days on blood lipid and CRP in five patients with elevated cholesterol and CRP;

(6)    effects of 70 g of dextrose or 90 g of honey on PGL in seven patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus; and

(7)   effects of 30 g of sucrose or 30 g of honey on PGL, plasma insulin, and plasma C-peptide in five diabetic patients.

  • In healthy subjects, dextrose elevated PGL at 1 (53%) and 2 (3%) hours, and decreased PGL after 3 hours (20%).
  • Honey elevated PGL after 1 hour (14%) and decreased it after 3 hours (10%).
  • Elevation of insulin and C-peptide was significantly higher after dextrose than after honey.
  • Dextrose slightly reduced cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) after 1 hour and significantly after 2 hours, and increased TG after 1, 2, and 3 hours. Artificial honey slightly decreased cholesterol and LDL-C and elevated TG. Honey reduced cholesterol, LDL-C, and TG and slightly elevated high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C).
  • Honey consumed for 15 days decreased cholesterol (7%), LDL-C (1%), TG (2%), CRP (7%), homocysteine (6%), and PGL (6%), and increased HDL-C (2%).
  • In patients with hyper-triglyceridemia, artificial honey increased TG, while honey decreased TG. In patients with hyperlipidemia, artificial honey increased LDL-C, while honey decreased LDL-C.
  • Honey decreased cholesterol (8%), LDL-C (11%), and CRP (75%) after 15 days. In diabetic patients, honey compared with dextrose caused a significantly lower rise of PGL.
  • Elevation of PGL was greater after honey than after sucrose at 30 minutes, and was lower after honey than it was after sucrose at 60, 120, and 180 minutes.
  • Honey caused greater elevation of insulin than sucrose did after 30, 120, and 180 minutes.
  • Honey reduces blood lipids, homocysteine, and CRP in normal and hyperlipidemic subjects.
  • Honey compared with dextrose and sucrose caused lower elevation of PGL in diabetics.


Dr. Weeks’ Comment:

Here we have a well-designed study which delights us in its counter-intuitive conclusion: honey really does helps treat diabetes! Not surprisingly, other sweeteners did not show any health benefits. For example, dextrose in water, artificial “honey” (dextrose and fructose) and sucrose (white sugar)  caused harm. But raw honey, the good stuff, lowered blood sugar as well as lower risk factors for heart disease (total cholesterol,  “bad” LDL cholesterol, homocysteine and the inflammatory marker  C-reactive protein).  Honey also raised the “good” cholesterol, HDL so sweeten with raw honey and stop all that artificial stuff that increases so many health risks.

 Now years ago, Charlie Mraz knew that diabetics could eat raw honey and have no problems. He explained that raw honey, a  peptide rich living food, was a complex carbohydrate which needed enzymatic processing in the liver (an invertase enzyme) in order to metabolize the honey into bio-available simple sugars of sucrose and fructose.

This is a “slow-burning” sugar, a stick-to-your-ribs food which does not strain the pancreas (does no harm) while at the same time delivering nutrients and amino acids all  within an enzyme rich food.


BONUS:  Aside from eating this wonderful gift of the bees, other uses of raw honey at the Weeks Clinic include topical application for acceleration of wound repair (suture, bed sores, burns, ulcers); topical application for anti-biotic use (pink eye, infected wounds) topical application for acne and youthful glowing skin (honey is both an alpha- and beta-hydroxyl acid for mild peeling and detergent effects) and most impressively, per-nasal application of raw honey down the nostrils to unclog sinuses and to create the wave of death for sore throats. Once the wave of raw honey runs down the nostrils and becomes a sweet post-nasal drip, the nasal pharyngeal tissue has been disinfected and rejuvenated. Yes, IT STINGS (to the degree that your tissue is inflamed), but in my 20 years of practice, I have never seen anything help sore throats like raw honey with its glucose oxidase which converts 20 parts per million hydrogen peroxide. As my teenagers say….    “Sweeeeeeeet!!!!”

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