Manuka honey is a type of honey native to New Zealand.
It’s produced by bees who pollinate the flower Leptospermum scoparium, commonly known as the manuka bush.
Manuka honey’s antibacterial properties are what set it apart from traditional honey.
Methylglyoxal is its active ingredient and likely responsible for these antibacterial effects.
Additionally, manuka honey has antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
In fact, it has traditionally been used for wound healing, soothing sore throats, preventing tooth decay and improving digestive issues.
Here are 7 science-based health benefits of manuka honey.
1. Aid Wound Healing
Since ancient times, honey has been used to treat wounds, burns, sores and boils (1Trusted Source).
In 2007, manuka honey was approved by the US FDA as an option for wound treatment (2).
Honey offers antibacterial and antioxidant properties, all while maintaining a moist wound environment and protective barrier, which prevents microbial infections in the wound.
Multiple studies have shown that manuka honey can enhance wound healing, amplify the regeneration of tissue and even decrease pain in patients suffering from burns (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
For example, one two-week study investigated the effects of applying a manuka honey dressing on 40 people with non-healing wounds.
The results showed that 88% of the wounds decreased in size. Moreover, it helped create an acidic wound environment, which favors wound healing (5Trusted Source).
What’s more, manuka honey may help heal diabetic ulcers.
A Saudi Arabian study found that manuka honey wound dressings, when used in combination with conventional wound treatment, healed diabetic ulcers more effectively than conventional treatment alone (6Trusted Source).
Additionally, a Greek study showed that manuka honey wound dressings reduced healing time and disinfected wounds in patients with diabetic foot ulcers (7Trusted Source).
Another study observed the effectiveness of manuka honey in healing eyelid wounds after surgery. They found all eyelid wounds healed well, regardless of whether the incisions were treated with manuka honey or vaseline.
However, patients reported that scarring treated with manuka honey was less stiff and significantly less painful, compared to scarring treated with vaseline (8Trusted Source).
2. Promote Oral Health
According to the CDC, almost 50% of Americans have some form of periodontal disease.
To avoid tooth decay and keep your gums healthy, it is important to minimize bad oral bacteria that can cause plaque formation.
It’s also important not to totally wipe out the good oral bacteria that is responsible for keeping your mouth healthy.
Studies have shown manuka honey attacks harmful oral bacteria associated with plaque formation, gum inflammation and tooth decay.
One study examined the effects of chewing or sucking on a honey chew on the reduction of plaque and gingivitis. The honey chew was made of manuka honey and similar to a chewy honey candy.
After their three daily meals, participants were instructed to either chew or suck on the honey chew for 10 minutes or chew a sugar-free gum.
The honey-chew group showed a significant reduction in plaque and gingival bleeding, compared to those who chewed the sugar-free gum (14Trusted Source).
The idea of consuming honey for good oral health may seem counterintuitive, as you have probably been told that consuming too many sweets can lead to cavities.
However, unlike candy and refined sugar, manuka honey’s potent antibacterial effects make it unlikely to contribute to cavities or tooth decay.
3. Soothe a Sore Throat
If you are suffering from a sore throat, manuka honey may help provide some relief.
Its antiviral and antibacterial properties can reduce inflammation and attack the bacteria that cause pain.
Not only does manuka honey attack harmful bacteria, it also coats the inner lining of the throat for a soothing effect.
A recent study in patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment for head and neck cancer observed the effects of consuming manuka honey on Streptococcus mutans, a type of bacteria responsible for sore throats.
Interestingly, researchers found a significant decrease in Streptococcus mutans after they consumed manuka honey (15Trusted Source).
Moreover, manuka honey decreases harmful oral bacteria that causes mucositis, a common side effect of radiation and chemotherapy. Mucositis results in inflammation and painful ulcerations of the mucous membranes lining the esophagus and digestive tract (16Trusted Source).
For quite some time, various types of honey have been touted as natural cough suppressants.
In fact, one study found honey was as effective as a common cough suppressant (17Trusted Source).
Although manuka honey wasn’t used in this study, it’s likely to be just as effective at suppressing coughs.
4. Help Prevent Gastric Ulcers
Stomach ulcers are one of the most common illnesses affecting humans (18Trusted Source).
They are sores that form on the lining of the stomach, causing stomach pain, nausea and bloating.
H. pylori is a common type of bacteria that is responsible for the majority of gastric ulcers.
Research suggests that manuka honey may help treat gastric ulcers caused by H. pylori.
For example, a test-tube study examined its effects on biopsies of gastric ulcers caused by H. pylori. The results were positive and implied that manuka honey is a useful antibacterial agent against H. pylori (19Trusted Source).
However, a small two-week study in 12 individuals who took 1 tablespoon of manuka honey by mouth daily showed that it did not decrease H. pylori bacteria (20Trusted Source).
Thus, more research is needed to fully assess its ability to treat gastric ulcers caused by H. pylori.
Gastric ulcers can also be caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
Yet, a study in rats showed that manuka honey helped prevent alcohol-induced gastric ulcers (18Trusted Source).
5. Improve Digestive Symptoms
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive disorder.
Its associated symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain and irregular bowel movements.
Interestingly, researchers have discovered that regularly consuming manuka honey may help decrease these symptoms.
Manuka honey has been proven to improve antioxidant status and reduce inflammation in rats with both IBS and ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease (21Trusted Source).
It has also been shown to attack strains of Clostridium difficile.
Clostridium difficile, often called C. diff, is a type of bacterial infection that causes severe diarrhea and inflammation of the bowel.
C. diff is commonly treated with antibiotics. However, a recent study observed the effectiveness of manuka honey on C. diff strains.
Manuka honey killed C. diff cells, making it a possibly effective treatment (22Trusted Source).
It is important to note that the above studies observed manuka honey’s influence on bacterial infections in rat and test-tube studies.
Further research is needed to come to a full conclusion regarding its influence on bacterial infections of the bowel.
6. May Treat Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disorder that damages the lungs and can also affect the digestive system and other organs.
It affects the cells that produce mucus, causing mucus to be abnormally thick and sticky. This thick mucus clogs airways and ducts, making it difficult to breathe.
Unfortunately, upper respiratory infections are quite common in people with cystic fibrosis.
Manuka honey has been shown to fight bacteria that cause upper respiratory infections.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia spp. are two common bacteria that can cause serious upper respiratory infections, especially in vulnerable populations.
One study observed the effectiveness of manuka honey against these bacteria in people with cystic fibrosis.
Results indicated that it inhibits their growth and works in conjunction with antibiotic treatment (23Trusted Source).
Therefore, researchers concluded that manuka honey may play an important role in treating upper respiratory infections, especially in those with cystic fibrosis.
7. Treat Acne
Acne is usually caused by hormonal changes, but it can also be a reaction to poor diet, stress or bacteria growth in clogged pores.
The antimicrobial activity of manuka honey, when used in combination with a low-pH product, is often marketed to fight acne.
Manuka honey could help keep your skin free of bacteria, which could expedite the acne healing process.
Also, given its anti-inflammatory properties, manuka honey is said to decrease inflammation associated with acne.
Yet, there is very limited research on manuka honey’s ability to treat acne.
However, one study investigated the effects of kanuka honey, which has antibacterial properties similar to those of manuka honey. It found that kanuka honey was as effective as antibacterial soap at improving acne (24Trusted Source).
Further research is needed to declare manuka honey a useful home remedy for acne.
Is Manuka Honey Safe?
For most people, manuka honey is safe to consume.
However, some people should consult a doctor before using it, including:
- People with diabetes. All types of honey are high in natural sugar. Therefore, consuming manuka honey may affect blood sugar levels.
- Those allergic to honey or bees. Those allergic to other types of honey or bees may have an allergic reaction after ingesting or applying manuka honey.
- Infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend giving honey to babies younger than one due to the risk of infant botulism, a type of foodborne illness.
The Bottom Line
Manuka honey is a unique type of honey.
Its most notable attribute is its effect on wound management and healing.
Manuka honey also has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that may help treat numerous ailments, including irritable bowel syndrome, gastric ulcers, periodontal disease and upper respiratory infections.
Further research is warranted to support its beneficial properties.
All things considered, manuka honey is likely an effective treatment strategy that may accelerate the healing process when used in conjunction with more conventional therapies.
SUPPLEMENT VITAMIN B12
Health benefits of vitamin B12
B12 plays a crucial role in the body’s formation of red blood cells and neurological functioning. Therefore, it can boost overall health in a variety of ways and here are five of them:
1. Helps form red blood cells
Red blood cells carry oxygen from our lungs to tissues throughout our body. They also carry carbon dioxide — a toxic by-product of cell functioning — from those tissues back to the lungs where it’s then expelled.
“Vitamin B12 participates in the production of red blood cells,” says Vikram Tarugu, MD, a gastroenterologist and CEO of Detox of South Florida. “If the rates of vitamin B12 are too poor, red blood cell output is impaired, inducing megaloblastic anemia.”
Megaloblastic anemia refers to anemia — a lack of red blood cells — specifically caused by lack of B12. It “causes symptoms like fatigue, difficulty concentrating, clumsiness, and dry skin,” says Megan Wong, a registered dietitian at AlgaeCal, a company providing information on bone health.
While there are other reasons a person may develop anemia, such as excessive bleeding or low iron, maintaining healthy levels of vitamin B12 is one way to prevent it.
2. Might prevent dementia
Another benefit of vitamin B12 is that it can slow brain atrophy in the elderly. Brain atrophy means an overall shrinkage in brain volume and also a loss of neurons, which can cause diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s making it difficult to function independently in society.
A 2008 study published by the American Academy of Neurology with 107 participants over 61-years-old, found that the brain volume lost over five years was greater for people with lower B12 levels in the blood.
“Vitamin B12 is crucial for a well-functioning brain and nervous system. Its role in the brain is so important that research suggests vitamin B12 might play a role in preventing dementia,” says Wong.
However, there’s no evidence that B12 supplements improve memory loss in those who are already suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
3. May improve mood and symptoms of depression
There is still debate over the extent of its impact, but research has shown a connection between vitamin B12 deficiency and neuropsychiatric manifestations. These include depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and mood swings.
“Vitamin B12 is required for serotonin development, which is a chemical that controls mood,” says Tarugu. This link has led researchers to encourage vitamin B12 supplements as part of treatment plans for those with depression.
For example, in a study of 199 depressed individuals, 100% of those treated with antidepressants as well as injected vitamin B12 improved by at least 20%. Only 69% of people treated with antidepressants and not B12 reported similar improvements.
4. May prevent birth defects
People who are pregnant have a higher recommended dose of vitamin B12. That’s because the compound may help prevent severe birth defects like partial paralysis and an undeveloped skull. “Adequate amounts of vitamin B12 are important for a successful pregnancy,” says Tarugu.
If someone with low levels of B12 becomes pregnant, they have a greater chance of giving birth to a child with neural tube defect. This class of birth defects includes anencephaly, a fatal condition where the baby’s brain and skull are severely underdeveloped. Along with maintaining proper vitamin B12 levels, taking folic acid before and after conception can decrease the chances of a baby having neural tube defects.
5. Supports healthy hair, skin, and nails
“However, if your [B12] levels are already adequate, consuming a supplement probably won’t boost your health in those regions,” he says.
If you do have a vitamin B12 deficiency, it may manifest as vitiligo — a condition in which the skin has discolored patches, slower hair growth, or skin hyperpigmentation. In this case, adding vitamin B12 to your diet or taking a supplement may improve the condition.
The amount of vitamin B12 a person needs steadily increases as they age.
“The best food sources [of B12] are meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fish, and fortified cereals,” says Wong.
B12 can be supplemented in four ways, says Taylor Graber, MD, physician and owner of ASAP IVs, a mobile IV hydration and wellness company:
- Orally, through eating foods rich in vitamin B12
- Taking a B12 supplement
- Injected into the muscle
- Through an IV drip
As vitamin B12 is found naturally in animal-based food products, vegetarians and vegans may not get enough of it in their diet and require supplements. Medical conditions may also require a person to seek out additional amounts of the vitamin.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms and causes
Between 1.5% and 15% of the general population is vitamin B12 deficient. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include megaloblastic anemia — in which abnormally sized or immature red blood cells are produced — weight loss, weakness, neurological changes like memory loss and depression, as well as fatigue.
Your small intestine helps absorb B12 with help from a substance secreted by the stomach known as intrinsic factor. This makes people with certain health conditions more susceptible to B12 deficiency.
“Without intrinsic factor, the free vitamin B12 in the digestive tract is unable to be absorbed,” says Graber. “Deficiencies of this glycoprotein, or a shortening of the small intestine where the B12 is absorbed, can lead to an inadequate amount of dietary vitamin B12.”
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin meaning that your body only absorbs necessary amounts of B12, with the rest flushing out through your urine. That said, there can still be side effects of excess intake. These symptoms include headaches, anxiety, and nausea.
Vitamin supplements, such as B12, have previously been reported to interact with medicines and supplements, like colchicine and vitamin C supplements. Therefore, always consult your doctor before starting a new supplement or diet
Udo’s Choice® Ultimate Oil Blend
Great performance and good recovery practices go hand-in-hand. Trevor Woods reveals his ultimate tips for performing at your best.
The key to optimising your training response is mastering your recovery. There are two critical practices that must not be neglected – sleep and nutrition. If an athlete is not optimising these two ‘recovery pillars’, other accessory techniques will have minimal benefit.
Studies show getting the right quality and quantity of sleep leads to increased performance and mental well-being in athletes. It is also known that chronic sleep debt impairs performance, bothphysical and mental. How many hours do we need, this varies, but common advice is to aim for 8–10 hours per night? In addition to sleep duration, sleep quality and sleep phase also affect the regenerative qualities of sleep. Exercising late in the day can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, and following up an intense evening session with inadequate sleep is far from ideal. Athletes losing sleep after these evening sessions are advised to switch their intense training to the morning and focus evening training time on lower intensity activities such as yoga, stretching, and massage.
For athletes training 2-3 times per week, following a healthy daily nutrition plan focused on whole foods is generally sufficient for optimal recovery before the next training session. But for those training once per day or more, refuelling promptly for the next session is critical.
Refuelling appropriately on a consistent basis after workouts will restore muscle and liver glycogen stores, replace fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat, promote muscle repair and bolster the immune system.
Immediately on finishing a workout, start replacing fluid and electrolyte losses with a sodium containing drink or water plus sodium containing food. To restore muscle glycogen and promoteprotein synthesis, consume 0.8g per kg of body weight of carbohydrate and 0.2g per kg of body weight of protein within 30 minutes of finishing exercise.
A homemade smoothie is a good option using fruit, milk, natural yogurt and/or water, and the addition of Udo’s Choice Beyond Greens will give an additional nutrient boost of B12, iron, calcium and protein from rich green foods.
Additionally, antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin A, and microbiotics are good additions to a recovery drink or snack, so try adding some One Nutrition Spirulina, or Udo’s Choice Super 8. In the hours post-exercise continue your recovery by eating a healthy whole foods meal. This meal should contain a combination of carbohydrate, about 20g of protein and some healthy fat, a good source being Udo’s Choice Oil Blend. Use it as a dressing on salads or cooked vegetables. Athletes who optimise post exercise nutrition will perform better in training and accumulate more high qualitysessions than athletes skipping post-exercise recovery fuelling.
Trevor Woods is a qualifi ed exercise physiologist and experienced triathlete with multiple national titles along with World and European age-group medals in triathlon. He is also the current Masters M50 cyclocross national champion.
New Nordic™ Melissa Dream
New Nordic™ Melissa Dream – 20, 40 & 100 Tabs
> Helps to maintain a healthy sleep
> Wake up rested and full of energy
> Non drowsy and non addictive
Melissa Dream™ contains all natural ingredients including the herbs lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and chamomile in combination with selected B-vitamins, Magnesium and the amino acid L-theanine.
Take two tablets one hour before bedtime. Food supplements are intended to supplement the diet, and should not be a substitute for a varied diet or healthy lifestyle. Do not exceed the stated dose.
Caution: Seek professional advice before using if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or suffer from allergies. Do not take Melissa Dream™ in combination with any antidepressants or sleep medications.
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