Thursday, January 10, 2008

January 8, 2008

The whole day was given over to the First International Symposium on Honey and Human Health <http://apitherapy.blogspot.com/2007/12/usa-program-of-1st-international.html>
. This was sponsored by The Committee for the Promotion of Honey and Health, Inc. <http://www.prohoneyandhealth.com/custom.aspx?id=4>.

This delightful event was put together supported by a number of sponsors. As part of the event, the Committee put up a web site and invited several internationally known researchers to present their findings.

This information was billed as the first of its kind presented anywhere and the objective was to move research on honey into a different plane as explained by Dr. Ron Phipps who moderated the session and is co-Chair of the Committee.

Dr. Stephan Bogdanov began the symposium with a comprehensive review of the literature on human nutrition and health. Dr. Bogdanov has spent a long time at the Swiss Bee Research Center in Switzerland http://www.apis.admin.ch and is responsible for initiating the International Honey Commission, which boasts about 100 members, several from the U.S.

Mike Mcinnis discussed the uniqueness of honey. He and his son published The Hibernation Diet. Relating a number of studies revealing how glucose metabolism in humans is regulated, including the glucose-fatty acid cycle and metabolism, which inhibits fat metabolism. Of special significance is the consequence of honey consumption that facilitates sleep. Although originally a work oriented toward weight loss, there is evidence that honey consumed at bedtime insures adequate liver glycogen stores, stablizes blood sugar level and contributes to melatonin release and this restorative sleep.

Jessica Beiler revealed that controlled studies show that honey is better at suppressing coughs than over-the-counter medications. Not only was this curative for children, but also for the parents.

Kirsten Traynor provided a comprehensive history of honey’s role in human health from early cave drawings through use in Sumerian and Roman times, by ancient Egyptians and finally early into the twentieth Century. Other presentations showed that with the avent of antibiotics, the medical establishment gave over soley to these at the expense of earlier, more traditional medicine like use of honey.

Other presentations revealed intriguing information about how honey contains beneficial lactic bacteria (Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium), originating from honey bees, how honey could have an effect on improving human cognition and potential weight gain. Dr. David Behr of theUSDA revealed graphic statistics about the incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes and potential for honey use in this environment; he noted that many studies need to be done with better models and more statistical controls. Honey use by diabetics continues to be recommended in some instances as it is metabolized more quickly and clears the blood stream more rapidly. Finally, Dr. Shona Blair provided excellent evidence that in many situations, where honey has been applied as a last resort and has cleared up many serious conditions, there seems little reason for waiting so long to use honey. That in fact a better strategy is to use honey first, then broad spectrum antibiotics only if the honey doesn’t work as advertised. This would keep the current situation with respect to bacterial resistance emerging so quickly under control.

In summary, Dr. Ron Fessenden, M.D. provided a nice summary of the kind of research that will be needed in the future to move honey treatment out of the dressing room and onto the playing field. Dr. Fessenden it seems found some converts at this seminar, but of course he was “speaking to the choir.” It is thought the next edition of the Hibernation Diet, published in the U.S. (First edition was published in the UK) perhaps with a different name, might convince others that nutrition and wellness based on a natural substance like honey should be looked at by physicians instead of the current focus on diseases (what has gone wrong with the body.) This seminar was a welcome addition to much material already published. It now will be up to those attending this event to enroll others in the various salutary uses of honey.

1 comment:

Michael said...

I have always wondered if honey's role in restorative sleep was actually valid and researched. Is there anything published regarding this?