What is the relationship between Honey and Cancer?
Can I eat honey if I have cancer? Is honey bad for cancer? These are some of the questions I get most frequently in my office, at dinner parties, and just about everywhere I go. When I was interviewed for Sugar Free Summer (you can still view it by clicking the link) I dug a little deeper to make sure you got a great answer.
You know what, the result of this research was shocking!
It turns out honey is safe in cancer. In fact, it might even disrupt cancer cell growth. I know this might seem counter intuitive, especially if you have been reading all about how Sugar Feeds Cancer. That’s the benefit of looking at things a little deeper.
A study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine showed that honey can stop cancer by:
- Naturally boosting the immune system
- Reducing Inflammation
- Fighting infection
- Healing ulcers and wounds
- Cause cancer cell death through apoptosis
So, how much honey?
One study reviewed intake of honey in patients with AIDS showed that when they took 80 grams of honey per day for 21 days, their immune cells improved. This is equivalent to about 3 ounces, ¼ cup, or 4 tablespoons of honey per day.
Another study looked at the relationship between cancer incidence and honey intake in developing nations. This study suggested that in people that ate more honey had less cancer. While there could be other factors involved, it is none the less interesting.
Does it need to be a special type of honey?
Studies have looked at Manuka honey, Bush Honey, and natural honey. All seem to be effective against cancer cells and in improving immune status. However, the darker the honey, the more positive plant chemicals it had. So look for darker honey.
What’s in Honey that helps it protect us against cancer?
Some of the polyphenols (aka plant chemicals) that have been studied in honey are:
- Caffeine acid: a powerful antioxidant
- Chrysin: can also reduce aromatase enzyme hormone production
- Caffeic Acid Phenyl Esters (CAPE): has been studied against glioblastoma
- Quercetin: effective in cell cultures against many cell lines including pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and skin cancer.
- Apigenin: studied again many cancer types.
Is there anything I should watch out for when it comes to honey?
Yes! A lot of honey on the shelf is being adulterated with fructose syrup and high fructose syrup. It may be best to buy your honey directly from a local beekeeper. Plus, supporting local beekeepers supports local hives.
Bees need our help to stay alive! They are facing their own health epidemic right now. You can learn more at this link.