Friday, April 28, 2017

Understanding Biological Functions of Manuka Honey Post Ingestion

In vivo absorption and metabolism of leptosperin and methyl syringate, abundantly present in manuka honey

Molecular Nutrition & Food Research

Manuka honey, which shows strong non-peroxide-dependent antibacterial activity, contains unique components, such as methyl syringate 4-O-β-D-gentiobioside (leptosperin) and its aglycone, methyl syringate (MSYR). To determine the potential for biological activity evoked by the ingestion of leptosperin and MSYR, we investigated the absorption and metabolism of these components in manuka honey.

Methods and results

The incubation of MSYR with liver microsomes or S9 fractions in vitro resulted in the formation of MSYR-glucuronide (MSYR-GA), MSYR-sulfate (MSYR-S), and syringic acid as metabolites. Then, manuka honey (15 g) was fed to healthy human volunteers. MSYR-GA, MSYR-S, and MSYR were detected in both plasma and urine. Within plasma, their levels were highest within 0.5 h to 1 h post-ingestion, and most metabolites disappeared within 3 h. In conjunction with the disappearances, a significant amount of metabolites along with trace leptosperin was excreted in urine within 4 h. To elucidate the detailed metabolisms of leptosperin and MSYR, each compound was separately administered to mice. In each case, MSYR-GA, MSYR-S, and MSYR were detected in both plasma and urine.


This study shows the major molecular pathway for leptosperin and MSYR metabolism and could facilitate an understanding of biological functions of manuka honey post ingestion.

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