Neurological Effects of Melipona Stingless Raw Bee Honey: Current and Future Prospects

Antioxidant-Based Medicinal Properties of Stingless Bee Products: Recent Progress and Future Directions

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Honey is the only insect-derived natural product with therapeutic, traditional, spiritual, nutritional, cosmetic, and industrial value. In addition to having excellent nutritional value, honey is a good source of physiologically active natural compounds, such as polyphenols. Unfortunately, there are very few current research projects investigating the nootropic and neuropharmacological effects of honey, and these are still in their early stages. 

Melipona Stingless Bee Raw honey possesses nootropic effects, such as memory-enhancing effects, as well as neuropharmacological activities, such as anxiolytic, antinociceptive, anticonvulsant, and antidepressant activities. Research suggests that the polyphenol constituents of honey can quench biological reactive oxygen species and counter oxidative stress while restoring the cellular antioxidant defense system. 

Honey polyphenols are also directly involved in apoptotic activities while attenuating microglia-induced neuroinflammation. Melipona Stingless Bee Raw Honey polyphenols are useful in improving memory deficits and can act at the molecular level. Therefore, the ultimate biochemical impact of honey on specific neurodegenerative diseases, apoptosis, necrosis, neuroinflammation, synaptic plasticity, and behavior-modulating neural circuitry should be evaluated with appropriate mechanistic approaches using biochemical and molecular tools.

Raw Melipona Honey

Honey, a natural food product, is a sweet, viscous substance that is formed from the nectar of flowers by Melipona Stingless Bees. The conversion of nectar to honey is an impressively complex process. Nectar is first collected from flowers and undergoes ripening by partial enzymatic digestion in the honey stomach of the honeybee. The ripened nectar is then matured by moisture evaporation through fanning by the bees, which leaves a moisture content of only approximately 13 to 18% in the honey. Honey has been utilized by humans since prehistoric times, before civilization appeared approximately 5,500 years ago. Most ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians, Greeks, Chinese, Mayans, Romans, and Babylonians, used honey both for nutritional purposes and for its medicinal properties. 

Melipona Stingless Bee Raw Honey is the only insect-derived natural product, and it has therapeutic, religious, nutritional, cosmetic, industrial, and traditional value.

The traditional knowledge of honey and modern science are merged in “apitherapy,” which denotes the medical use of honey and bee products. Apitherapy has become a major focus of research involving alternative medicine because a wide variety of well-known preventive or curative methods from folk medicine use honey to treat different ailments, and the therapeutic properties of honey have been increasingly documented in the modern scientific literature. 

Recently, the oral ingestion of Melipona Stingless Bee Raw Honey has been indicated for insomnia, anorexia, stomach and intestinal ulcers, constipation, osteoporosis, and laryngitis. Externally applied honey is used to treat athlete's foot, eczema, lip sores, and both sterile and infected wounds caused by accidents, surgery, bedsores, or burns. In many countries, including France and Germany, physicians recommend using honey as a first-line treatment for burns, superficial wounds, and in some cases, even deep lesions such as abscesses.

Nutritional Facts about Honey

To date, approximately 300 varieties of honey have been identified. These varieties exist due to the variable types of nectar that are collected by the honeybees. Although there have been many nutritional studies of honey, only a few are representative. Carbohydrates are the main constituents of honey and contribute 95 to 97% of its dry weight. In addition to carbohydrates, honey contains numerous compounds, such as organic acids, proteins, amino acids, minerals, and vitamins. 

Melipona Stingless Bee Raw Honeys were also reported to contain polyphenols, alkaloids, anthraquinone glycosides, cardiac glycosides, flavonoids, reducing compounds, and volatile compounds.

Monosaccharides, such as fructose and glucose, are the predominant sugars present in honey, and they are said to be responsible for most of the physical and nutritional characteristics of honey. Smaller quantities of other types of sugars, such as disaccharides, trisaccharides, and oligosaccharides, are also present in honey. The disaccharides primarily include sucrose, galactose, alpha,beta-trehalose, gentiobiose, and laminaribiose, whereas the trisaccharides primarily include melezitose, maltotriose, 1-ketose, panose, isomaltose glucose, erlose, isomaltotriose, theanderose, centose, isopanose, and maltopentaose. Approximately 5 to 10% of total carbohydrates are oligosaccharides, and approximately 25 different oligosaccharides have been identified. Many of these sugars are not found in the nectar but are formed during the honey ripening and maturation phases.

Gluconic acid, which is a product of glucose oxidation by glucose oxidase, is the major organic acid that is found in honey; in addition, minor amounts of formic, acetic, citric, lactic, maleic, malic, oxalic, pyroglutamic, and succinic acids have also been detected. These organic acids contribute to the acidic (pH between 3.2 and 4.5) characteristic of honey. However, honey can also behave as a buffer.

Honey also contains several physiologically important amino acids, including all nine essential amino acids and all nonessential amino acids except for glutamine and asparagine. Among the amino acids present, proline is predominant, followed by aspartate, glutamate, and some other types of amino acids.  However, in another study, proline was reported as the primary amino acid in honey, followed by lysine. Enzymes that are either secreted from the hypopharyngeal glands of the bee or originate from the botanical nectars constitute the main protein component of honey. These enzymes include the bee hypopharyngeal gland-derived diastase (an amylase that digests starch to maltose), invertases (e.g., saccharase and α-glucosidase that catalyzes the conversion of sucrose to glucose and fructose), glucose oxidase (which produces hydrogen peroxide and gluconic acid from glucose), and plant-derived catalase (which regulates the production of hydrogen peroxide), along with acid phosphatase.

Effects of Honey on Brain Structures and Functions

Current Experimental Evidence of the Nootropic and Neuropharmacological Effects of Honey

Research from the past two decades has explored honey as an enigmatic gel that has gastroprotective, hepatoprotective, reproductive, hypoglycemic, antioxidant, antihypertensive, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, wound healing, cardio-protective and antitumor effects. Unfortunately, research on the nootropic and neuropharmacological effects of honey is scarce. 

Nevertheless, the belief that Melipona Stingless Bee Raw Honey is a memory-boosting food supplement is actually ethnotraditional as well as ancient in nature. For instance, honey is reported to be an important component of Brahma rasayan, an Ayurvedic formulation that is prescribed to extend the lifespan and improve memory, intellect, concentration, and physical strength.

The Effects of Physiologically Active Moieties in Honey on Brain Function

Oxidative stress is a common manifestation of all types of biochemical insults to the structural and functional integrity of neural cells, such as aging, neuroinflammation, and neurotoxins. The brain is highly susceptible to oxidative damage due to its high oxygen demand as well as to the high amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in the neuronal membranes. Different phytochemical compounds have been shown to have scavenging activities and can activate key antioxidant enzymes in the brain, thus breaking the vicious cycle of oxidative stress and tissue damage. 

Several supplementary research reports have suggested that the neuroprotective effect of the polyphenols present in Melipona Stingless Bee Raw Honey involves several important activities within the brain. These effects include protection against oxidative challenge; the attenuation of neuroinflammation; the promotion of memory, learning, and cognitive function; and protection against neurotoxin-induced neuronal injury. We describe several important constituents in honey that may play this protective role.

Honey as a Neuroprotective Nutraceutical

Generally, neurodamaging insults are categorized as either endogenous or exogenous in nature. Because the neurons of the mature nervous system are postmitotic, they cannot be easily replaced by cell renewal; therefore, neuronal cell death is the most widely studied neuronal pathologies. Neurodegeneration describes the progressive loss of neural structure and function that culminates in neuronal cell death. Acute neurodegeneration is usually caused by a specific or traumatic event, such as cardiac arrest, trauma, or subarachnoid hemorrhage, whereas chronic neurodegeneration occurs within the context of a chronic disease state with a multifactorial origin, such as AD, PD, HD, or amyloid lateral sclerosis. 

The biochemical events underlying neurodegeneration include oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, excitotoxicity, neuroinflammation, misfolded protein aggregation, and a loss of functionality.  The ultimate fate of such a neurodamaging insult is neuronal cell death through apoptosis, necrosis, or autophagy. Therefore, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and inflammation are prime candidates for neuroprotection. 

Much research over the last few decades has established nutraceuticals as neuroprotective agents. In addition to the acute modulation of the antioxidant defense system, several nutraceuticals can also modulate gene expression to confer long-term protection. Phytochemicals can also modify cellular behaviors by influencing receptor function as well as by modulating intracellular events, such as cell-signaling cascades. Melipona Stingless Bee Raw Honey and its constituents can ameliorate oxidative stress and oxidative stress-related effects. The neuroprotective effects of honey are exerted at different stages of neurodegeneration and play prominent roles in early events.

Honey as a Nootropic Nutraceutical

Learning and memory are the most exclusive and basic functions of the brain. Synaptic plasticity is thought to be crucial for information processing in the brain and underlies the processes of learning and memory. Synaptic plasticity describes the capacity of neurons to change their efficiency in neuronal transmission in response to environmental stimuli and plays an essential role in memory formation. Long-term synaptic plasticity, or long-term potentiation (LTP), is the molecular analog of long-term memory and is the cellular model that underlies the processes of learning and memory. The induction, expression, and maintenance of LTP involve a series of biochemical events. LTP is induced by the influx of calcium into postsynaptic neurons through a set of receptors and/or channels and is usually followed by the amplification of calcium levels due to the release of calcium from the Ca2+/InsP3-sensitive intracellular store.

Current research has clarified only a portion of the involvement of honey polyphenols in memory-related signaling pathways. However, the overall body of knowledge clearly suggests the neuroprotective roles of honey and several supplementary experimental studies support its memory-improving effects. Overall, honey or its bioactive constituents might influence multiple signaling pathways to exert its memory-improving effects.

Concluding Remarks and Future Prospects

The brain is the supervisory organ with critical functions, such as body homeostasis maintenance, learning, and memory. Any neurodamaging insult leads to either the death or the functional aberration of neural cells, which results in neurodegeneration and the loss of motor function and the executive functions of the brain, such as memory. There is strong scientific support for the development of nutraceutical agents as novel neuroprotective therapies, and honey is one such promising nutraceutical antioxidant. However, past research paradigms did not evaluate the neuropharmacological and nootropic effects of honey using appropriately in-depth mechanistic approaches concerning biochemical and molecular interventions.

Honey has an appreciable nutritional value. Stingless Bee Raw honey possesses anxiolytic, antinociceptive, anticonvulsant, and antidepressant effects and improves the oxidative status of the brain. Several honey supplementation studies suggest that honey polyphenols have neuroprotective and nootropic effects. Polyphenol constituents of honey quench biological reactive oxygen species that cause neurotoxicity and aging as well as the pathological deposition of misfolded proteins, such as amyloid beta. Polyphenol constituents of honey counter oxidative stress by excitotoxins, such as kainic acid and quinolinic acid, and neurotoxins, such as 5-S-cysteinyl-dopamine and 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine. Honey polyphenols also counter direct apoptotic challenges by amyloid beta, methyl mercury-induced, and retinoid. 

Melipona Stingless Bee Raw honey and honey polyphenol attenuate the microglia-induced neuroinflammation that is induced by ischemia-reperfusion injury or immunogenic neurotoxins. Most importantly, honey polyphenols counter neuroinflammation in the hippocampus, a brain structure that is involved in spatial memory. Honey polyphenols also counter memory deficits and induce memory formation at the molecular level. Several studies suggest that the modulation of specific neural circuitry underlies the memory-ameliorating and neuropharmacological effects of honey polyphenols.


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What does Raw honey do to your brain? 

It was proven that 'raw honey possesses antidepressant effects and improves the oxidative status of the brain. Other studies have also stated that polyphenols found in honey have 'neuroprotective and nootropic effect' which protects your nervous system and can enhance your memory and improve cognitive functions. Next article.