Honey against antibiotic resistance

honey against antibiotic resistance

The antibacterial properties of honey could help to combat the increasing resistance to antibiotics. But you have to choose this honey.

Honey, a food-medicine? According to a paper presented at the 247th National meeting of the American Chemical Society, honey would be effective in combating bacterial infections, avoiding resistance.

Honey is a sweetening product that can represent an alternative to white sugar, because due to the presence of fructose it raises less blood glucose than glucose or sucrose. Due to its richness in antioxidants, it does not have the disadvantages of pure fructose on the synthesis of lipids by the liver, the production of VLDL (very low density lipoproteins), the elevation of triglycerides and the risks of overweight and insulin resistance That characterize diets rich in fructose.

In this paper, Susan Meschwitz of Salve Regina University (Newport, Rhode Island) describes the properties of honey that make it a useful food to fight infections. With her research team, she conducted tests to evaluate the antioxidant properties of honey: “We have separated and identified the various antioxidant polyphenol compounds.” Researchers also tested the antibacterial properties of honey against E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, among others.

The advantage of honey, unlike antibiotics, is that it acts on several fronts at the same time, making it more difficult to emerge resistances: the unique properties of honey are based on its ability to fight infection at levels Multiple. This is the difference between modern antibiotics that only target bacterial growth, which leads to the onset of resistance. On the other hand, honey has a whole battery of weapons to remove bacteria: hydrogen peroxide, acidity, osmotic effect, high sugar concentration and polyphenols. For example, the osmotic effect due to the high concentration of sugar leads the bacterium to drain its water: this excessive dehydration is fatal to it.

Honey could also act by disrupting the bacterial “quorum sensing”, a system of communication between bacteria that allows them to assess their population density. By breaking the “quorum sensing”, bacterial virulence is weakened because this communication system controls the release of toxins implicated in pathologies. The researchers found that honey also avoids the formation of biofilm, which is a assemblage of microbial communities.

The efficacy of honey is also due to the fact that it is rich in polyphenols, antioxidants, phenolic acids, coffeeic acid, p-coumaric acid, ellagic acid, flavonoids. The phenolic compounds present in honey are linked to its antimicrobial and antioxidant activities.
Many studies have confirmed the antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties of honey. Honey can be applied to the skin in case of infections. But these new works and others suggest that honey can be given with antibiotics when there is a risk that the infection will be resistant. Honey should not be given to babies.

Analyses conducted in the United States found that only producer honeys, honeys purchased from markets and honeys sold in agricultural co-operatives and in dietetic stores have the characteristics of honey in terms of pollen content . The supermarket honeys, ultrafiltered, did not meet these characteristics and should be avoided.


American Chemical Society. Honey is a new approach to fighting antibiotic resistance: How sweet it is! Press release. March 16, 2014.


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