Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Molecules, 2012, 17(4), 4400-4423
The global prevalence of chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, atherosclerosis, cancer and Alzheimer's disease is on the rise. These diseases, which constitute the major causes of death globally, are associated with oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is defined as an “imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants in favor of the oxidants, potentially leading to damage”. Individuals with chronic diseases are more susceptible to oxidative stress and damage because they have elevated levels of oxidants and/or reduced antioxidants. This, therefore, necessitates supplementation with antioxidants so as to delay, prevent or remove oxidative damage.
Honey is a natural substance with many medicinal effects such as antibacterial, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, reproductive, antihypertensive and antioxidant effects.
This review presents findings that indicate honey may ameliorate oxidative stress in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), liver, pancreas, kidney, reproductive organs and plasma/serum. Besides, the review highlights data that demonstrate the synergistic antioxidant effect of honey and antidiabetic drugs in the pancreas, kidney and serum of diabetic rats.
These data suggest that honey, administered alone or in combination with conventional therapy, might be a novel antioxidant in the management of chronic diseases commonly associated with oxidative stress. In view of the fact that the majority of these data emanate from animal studies, there is an urgent need to investigate this antioxidant effect of honey in human subjects with chronic or degenerative diseases.