Superlife Oral Health Article

Smile! Healthy teeth are another reason to enjoy Manuka honey each day. We’re often told that sweet foods are bad for our teeth, but there’s one natural sweetener – honey – that could actually fight tooth decay and oral infections. Whereas sugars in foods like lollies, soft drinks and even carbs like bread and pasta react with the bacteria in your mouth to form acids that eat holes in your teeth, a spoonful of high Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) honey may have the opposite effect – killing those bacteria and preventing cavities from forming.
It can be used as part of your normal brushing and flossing routine, either instead of mouthwash, brushed on with your toothbrush or just rubbed onto the gums. Oral health is just one of many potential wellness benefits of Manuka honey that medical researchers are currently investigating. Manuka honey has been proven to have superior antimicrobial properties that can be used in treating wounds, ulcers and bacterial gastroenteritis – sparking a flurry of research to discover other applications for this safe, natural and delicious substance.
In a pilot study at the University of Otago in New Zealand, researchers investigated whether or not UMF 15 Manuka honey could be used to reduce gingivitis (gum inflammation) and dental plaque (a mostly bacterial biofilm that builds up on the teeth and is one of the major causes of tooth decay and gum disease). Assured by earlier research, which had demonstrated that high-UMF Manuka honey is unlikely to cause tooth decay, the researchers asked volunteers to chew or suck a chewable Manuka honey leather for ten minutes three times a day for 21 days. Analysis of the results indicated that there were highly significant reductions in plaque build-up and gum bleeding in the Manuka honey group, with no significant changes in the control group.
“These results suggest that there may be a potential therapeutic role for Manuka honey confectionery in the treatment of gingivitis and periodontal disease,” concluded the researchers. Other research teams have built on this research in further studies. A team from the Modern Dental College and Research Centre in India found that Manuka honey was significantly effective in reducing plaque formation – similar to the effect of chlorhexidine gluconate mouthwash, and more effective than xylitol chewing gum marketed as preventing tooth decay.
Another research group, this time at Pushpagiri College of Dental Sciences in India, found that children who supplemented their regular toothbrushing regime with high-UMF Manuka honey showed significant reduction in Mutans streptococci bacteria, which are a significant contributor to tooth decay. “Manuka honey with UMF 19.5 may be considered as an effective adjunctive oral hygiene measure for reducing colony counts in children,” they concluded. It’s worth noting that the UMF level of the honey was identified as an important factor in these studies. All Manuka honey is not created equal – and research demonstrates that honeys with a higher UMF (and a higher level of the active component methylglyoxal) have a stronger antimicrobial effect and therefore greater health benefits.
Source:, National Center for Biotechnology Information, US National Library of Medicine, AIMS Microbiology, Contemporary Clinical Dentistry, WebMD
Disclaimer: This article is designed to inform and not to provide a direction on medication. The research outlined is in its infancy. Bee products can cause a variety of reactions so please consult your doctor before using any bee or honey products. Honey should not be given to babies under the age of one.

Superlife Staph article

Manuka honey is once again being hailed as a potentially valuable weapon in the battle against antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Many of us will be familiar with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, often called staph, which about a third of us carry around harmlessly on our skin or up our noses. Mostly, they're not a problem, but if they get into a break in the skin they can lead to unsightly infections such as boils, or potentially life-threatening infections of the bones, lungs, joints, heart or bloodstream. For decades, doctors have treated staph infections with antibiotics, but now these have been overused to the extent that some types of staph bacteria have built up a resistance, and no longer respond to the antibiotics. These are called Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, and they’re often contracted in hospitals, for example when bacteria enter the body via a surgical wound.
Concerned about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, pharmacologists at Cardiff University in Wales decided to investigate whether honey, which is currently used as a wound treatment, might also be effective in treating MRSA infections. Having gathered honeys from all over the UK, they placed a drop of each into dishes containing MRSA, and discovered that at least one wiped out a large zone of bacteria. “Honey was used to treat wounds in Egypt as early as 1500 BC,” they noted. “We’ve gone full circle, back to realising how useful and important it is.” Also aware that surgical site infections (SSIs) are a major issue in modern healthcare, a research group in Massachusetts, USA, took the research one step further, investigating a new method of delivering Manuka honey effectively into the skin by forming it into microneedles. “Given the health and economic burden attributable, in particular, to SSIs caused by antimicrobial-resistant organisms such as MRSA, there is a critical need for the development of novel treatment options that can address resistant organisms,” they said.
They chose Manuka honey over other honeys because of its proven antimicrobial activity. “Honeys have natural antimicrobial, immuno-stimulant and wound healing properties due to a number of factors,” their report stated. “MGO is one of the major antibacterial components in honey and, while MGO is present in most honeys in small quantities, it is present at the highest concentrations in Manuka honey, as it is derived from dihydroxyacetone, which is found in high concentrations in the nectar of Manuka flowers. “One of the reasons that Manuka honey is thought to be such a potent antimicrobial agent as compared to other honeys is because the main type of antibacterial activity in other honeys is peroxidase-based, which is thought to be neutralized by catalases present in blood, serum and wound tissues, whereas MGO remains active.”
The researchers noted that there is currently no evidence of antibiotic resistance to Manuka honey. “Manuka honey has been used in medicine for centuries and the first honey-based product for wound dressings was approved by the FDA in 2007,” they observed. “Manuka honey has traditionally been used as a holistic treatment for everything from topical wounds, sore throats, and as an adjunct to cancer treatment. Although once considered ‘alternative’, the many unique medicinal properties of Manuka honey have captured the attention of modern medicine. The particular use of honey in the treatment of infected and non-healing wounds is particularly interesting; especially when honey resistance training studies demonstrate that, at certain concentrations, bacteria do not develop resistance and are incapable of proliferating.” The study’s conclusions were published in Nature in 2020. “Manuka honey microneedles demonstrated excellent bactericidal activity against MRSA,” the researchers concluded. “This data supports the need for further exploration of this new approach in a wound-healing model and opens the door for the future use of Manuka honey.”
Source: Mayo Clinic, Nature, InterCardiff
Disclaimer: This article is designed to inform and not to provide a direction on medication. The research outlined is in its infancy. Bee products can cause a variety of reactions so please consult your doctor before using any bee or honey products. Honey should not be given to babies under the age of one.

Honey identified as a “natural and safe” potential therapy for bowel inflammation

Tummy aches, cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhoea, constipation… the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) aren’t glamorous, but relief may be in the pipeline. According to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, as many as 15% of people worldwide have IBS, although many just learn to live with the symptoms, and have never been formally diagnosed. IBS particularly appears to affect women, who make up about two thirds of patients seeking help with the symptoms. Although the exact cause of IBS isn’t known, it’s more common in young people, those with a family history of IBS and those with mental health issues. Symptoms usually develop slowly over time, and tend to come and go, although they can be triggered by stress and by eating certain foods, such as wheat, citrus, dairy, beans, cabbage and soft drinks.
But relief may be in the pipeline, thanks to research suggesting the known anti-inflammatory properties of Manuka honey have helped manage the disease when tested in rats. A study at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in India demonstrated that rats with colitis (an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and sores in the digestive tract) who were treated with Manuka honey showed reduced inflammation of the colon and received “significant protection” from damage to the colon. “The present study indicates that Manuka honey is efficacious,” the researchers concluded, “but these results require further confirmation in human studies.”
This was followed up in 2019 by research at the Shiraz University of Medical Sciences in Iran, reported in the Galen Medical Journal, to investigate whether the potent antioxidants in honey, including polyphenols and other bioactive compounds, were useful in treating ulcerative colitis. Honey was administered orally to rats with colitis over a period of seven days, and the study further concluded that honey might be a beneficial “natural and safe” food choice in medical nutritional therapy to treat colitis. The researchers once again noted that human studies were needed to confirm their results.Honey’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties have long been recognised, but now science is beginning to support its traditional use as a treatment for a wide variety of health issues including gastrointestinal symptoms associated with IBS.
Source: Wiley Online Library, Mayo Clinic, Galen Medical Journal
Disclaimer: This article is designed to inform and not to provide a direction on medication. The research outlined is in its infancy. Bee products can cause a variety of reactions so please consult your doctor before using any bee or honey products. Honey should not be given to babies under the age of one.

Sweet relief for cystic fibrosis sufferers

Honey made from the nectar of a certain kind of tree that grows only in New Zealand may offer new hope to people living with cystic fibrosis. New Zealand is the only place on Earth where wild honeybees can create monofloral honey from the beautiful blossoms of the native Mānuka trees. A study at Swansea University in the UK has found that Mānuka honey is more powerful than antibiotics in treating chronic infections associated with the life-threatening genetic disease cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis affects more than 70,000 people around the world, causing persistent lung infections that get progressively worse and over time limit the ability to breathe.
Although there has been significant progress in treatments in recent years, there remains no cure. The long-lasting respiratory infections suffered by cystic fibrosis patients often prove fatal due to the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The authors of the Swansea University study, which was published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, noted that the natural antimicrobial properties of Mānuka honey have been used successfully for decades to treat chronic surface wounds infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. So, they set out to discover whether Mānuka honey might also be successful in treating Pseudomonas aeruginosa related to cystic fibrosis. The results of their preliminary trials showed that Mānuka honey was more effective than pharmaceutical antibiotics, killing 39 percent of the bacteria as opposed to 29 percent, and when both treatments were used in combination, they killed 90 percent of the bacteria.
Study lead Dr Rowena Jenkins says the preliminary results are very promising, and if replicated in future clinical trials they could open up additional treatment options for cystic fibrosis sufferers. “The synergy with antibiotics and absence of resistance seen in the laboratory has allowed us to move into the current clinical trial, investigating the potential for Mānuka honey as part of a sinus rinse for alleviating infection in the upper airway.” This research is just the latest in a number of studies that provide scientific evidence supporting the therapeutic benefits of Mānuka honey.
Sources: Frontiers in Microbiology, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Swansea University
Disclaimer: This article is designed to inform and not to provide a direction on medication. The research outlined is in its infancy and there remains a lot of scientific work to be done before it reaches widespread use. Bee products can cause a variety of reactions so please consult your doctor before using any bee or honey products.

Revolutionary potential cancer treatment has a sting in its tail

It’s what makes bee stings sting, but bee venom may also be a force for good, according to new medical research. The clear liquid that bees shoot through their stingers when they feel threatened has been used as a natural therapy for generations, but now science is beginning to understand its curative powers. New research from the University of Western Australia and the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research has found that honeybee venom kills aggressive breast cancer cells and suggests it may also have applications with other cancers. The researchers harvested venom from Australian, Irish and English honeybees and bumblebees, and tested its effect on breast cancer cells in a laboratory situation, including hard-to-treat triple-negative breast cancer.
Published in September 2020 by the medical journal NPJ Precision Oncology, the research results revealed that honeybee venom significantly, selectively and quickly destroyed triple-negative breast cancer cells and HER2-enriched breast cancer cells. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer affecting humans, and the most common cancer in women, with more than two million new cases diagnosed in 2018. It is most common in developed countries, with Australia having the seventh highest rate in the world, followed by the UK at eighth, New Zealand at 10th and the USA at 22nd. The research found that it was a specific component in the venom of the European honeybee (Apis mellifera), a peptide called melittin, that was responsible for most of its anti-cancer effects. Study lead Dr Ciara Duffy said honeybee venom was extremely potent, and could kill 100 percent of cancer cells, while barely affecting normal cells. “We found that melittin can completely destroy cancer cell membranes within 60 minutes.” Within only 20 minutes it had also substantially reduced the chemical signalling pathways essential to cancer cell growth and cell division.
“Beyond breast cancer, we also outline targeted modifications of melittin for potential use in combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of other aggressive cancers.” The researchers noted that humans have appreciated the medicinal benefits of bee products such as honey, propolis and venom for thousands of years. However, the cancer-battling potential of bee venom had until now been poorly understood. “No-one had previously compared the effects of honeybee venom across all the different subtypes of breast cancer and normal cells,” said study lead Dr Ciara Duffy. More studies are required to assess the optimum method of delivery of melittin, as well as toxicities and dosage.
Sources: The University of Western Australia, NPJ Precision Oncology, World Cancer Research Fund International, Global Cancer Observatory
Disclaimer: This article is designed to inform and not to provide a direction on medication. The research quoted was conducted under laboratory conditions and was not a human trial. Bee products can cause a variety of reactions in susceptible people, so please consult your doctor before using any bee or honey products.

A spoonful of honey is the best medicine

A spoonful of honey doesn’t just help the medicine go down – turns out it is the best medicine for many ailments. Next time you have a cold, you're better off looking for help in the pantry than the medicine cabinet, according to researchers. A growing body of scientific evidence supports honey’s use as a remedy for everything from coughs to burns and acne. It’s cheap, it doesn’t require a doctor’s visit or a prescription, and it carries a very low risk of side effects. As antibiotic resistance continues to cause concern among doctors, the race is on to find alternative treatments to prevent over-prescription of antibiotics in the future. And leading the pack is Manuka honey, which is higher in antibacterial activity than any other variety of honey.
Antibiotic medications are often prescribed for coughs, sore throats and runny noses, but in many cases these symptoms are caused by viruses, rather than bacteria, so antibiotics (which only tackle bacteria) are totally ineffective. The more often we take antibiotics, the more bacteria build up resistance to them, so medical researchers are urgently investigating effective alternatives. A recent study at the University of Oxford, published in the medical journal BMJ Evidence Based Medicine, looked at 14 clinical trials involving 1761 participants to try to answer the question: “Honey is a folklore favorite when it comes to cough and cold remedies. Is there any evidence that honey actually does improve cough and cold symptoms?” The researchers found that honey was more effective than medications such as antihistamines, cough suppressants, expectorants and painkillers at reducing symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. It was especially good at reducing the severity and frequency of coughing, and in some cases appeared to shorten the length of the illness by up to two days.
They recommended doctors suggest honey instead of antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections. Meanwhile, a further study took the investigation a step further by analysing the antibacterial properties of Manuka honey specifically. Published in the journal AIMS Microbiology, it analysed published research and concluded that the potential importance of the honey for medicinal purposes cannot be underestimated. “Manuka honey is a dark monofloral honey rich in phenolic content, and currently it is gaining much attention for its antimicrobial activity,” the study team noted. “Research has shown that Manuka honey of different UMF values has medicinal properties.” The research data confirmed that Manuka honey’s higher phenolic and methylglyoxal content gives it superior antibacterial activity, in comparison to non-Manuka honey. “Manuka honey has proved the front-runner of honeys for non-peroxide antimicrobial activity,” they said. “The antibacterial potency of Manuka honey was found to be related to the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) rating.” The researchers concluded that Manuka honey can be safely used as an alternative natural antibiotic. Source: BMJ Evidence Based Medicine, The Guardian, AIMS Microbiology
Disclaimer: This article is designed to inform and not to provide a direction on medication. The research outlined is in its infancy. Bee products can cause a variety of reactions so please consult your doctor before using any bee or honey products. Honey should not be given to babies under the age of one.

Mānuka honey’s healing powers supported by science

More evidence has emerged supporting the healing powers of Mānuka honey. Crafted by honeybees from the nectar of New Zealand’s native Mānuka tree blossoms, this prized monofloral honey has long been valued in natural healing. Now scientific research is beginning to catch up and provide explanations and evidence to support traditional knowledge that has been passed down through generations. A study published in the scientific journal AIMS Microbiology reviewed the outcomes of dozens of studies regarding the medicinal properties of Mānuka honey. Its authors looked at ways the proven antibiotic effect of Mānuka honey could be harnessed to solve the increasingly urgent issue of antibiotic resistance due to over-use of prescribed antibiotics.
“There is a need of an alternative therapeutic agent,” they said. “In this review, we have focused on one such natural material, Mānuka honey, which could be used as a natural antibiotic and as an alternative medicine.“The importance of honey for medicinal purposes is well documented in some of the world's oldest literature. Honey is well known and studied for its antimicrobial properties. The medicinal properties in honey originate from the floral source used by bees. Mānuka honey is a dark monofloral honey rich in phenolic content, and currently it is gaining much attention for its antimicrobial activity. Researchers have found that honey is effective against a wide range of pathogens.” The results of their overview the medical literature left no doubt that Mānuka honey has powerful healing properties. “The potential importance of honey for medicinal purposes cannot be underestimated,” the authors wrote. “The research data has confirmed that Mānuka honey's antibacterial activity, in comparison to non-Mānuka honey, is due to a higher phenolic and methylglyoxal content. Mānuka honey of different UMF values has medicinal properties of interest and it can be beneficial when used as a combination treatment with other antimicrobial agents.”
The study concluded that Mānuka honey can be safely used as an alternative natural antibiotic, and recommends that more research should be done to find our how it can be used in conjunction with commercial antibiotics to treat antibiotic-resistant microorganisms. Meanwhile, new research conducted by Austin Health in Australia and published in the Medical Press, has discovered that Mānuka honey may help prevent life-threatening urinary tract infections.

Urinary tract infections are often accidentally caused during medical treatment, usually when a catheter is inserted to drain the patient’s bladder. The study showed that Mānuka honey slows the speed at which bacteria grow and hinders the build-up of microorganisms that prevent treatment and harbour infections. The research team came to the conclusion that flushing diluted Mānuka honey through a catheter before use might help prevent urinary tract infections, but emphasised that more research is needed to confirm this.

Source: The Medical Press, Aims Microbiology.
Disclaimer: This article is designed to inform and not to provide a direction on medication. The research outlined is in its infancy and there remains a lot of scientific work to be done. Bee products can cause a variety of reactions so please consult your doctor before using any bee or honey products.