In addition to its many documented negative impacts on health, smoking introduces free radicals in the body, which increases oxidative stress – a major risk factor for the development of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerotic vascular disease, hypertension, coronary artery disease, myocardial infarct and stroke.
Tualang honey – produced by the rock bee (Apis dorsata), which builds hives on branches of tall Tualang trees located mainly in the north-western region of the Malaysian Peninsular – is already known for its antibacterial properties.
Previous studies have shown that it may also have anti-inflammatory and hypoglycaemic effects, as well as improving sperm concentration in patients with oligospermia (low sperm count). It has been reported to contain antioxidants such as phenolic acids (benzoic, gallic, syringic, trans-cinnamic acids) and flavonoids (catechin, kaempferol), which produce strong free-radical scavenging activities.
The authors of this latest study previously found Tualang honey to improve oxidative stress in the testes of rats exposed to cigarette smoke, indicating an antioxidant effect. This led the researchers to decide to assess whether it also improved oxidative stress status among chronic smokers. Other studies have shown that several antioxidants are effective in reducing oxidative stress among smokers.
In the study, 32 smokers were supplemented with 20g of Tualang honey per day over 12 weeks and compared to two control groups – 32 non-smokers and 32 smokers who had been given a placebo.
A reduction in the level of plasma F2-isoprostanes suggests a reduced lipid peroxidation among smokers supplemented with honey. Lipid peroxidation occurs when free radicals react with lipids leading to cell damage.
There was also a significant increase in the erothrocyte glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and catalase (CAT) activities in the honey supplemented group following 12 weeks of intervention. GPx scavenges hydrogen peroxide, reducing oxidative stress damage of cells and CAT is an important enzyme in protecting the cell from oxidative damage by reactive oxygen species (ROS).
The researchers, from a range of Malaysian universities and medical institutions, are planning next to evaluate the effect of Tualang honey on oxidative stress status among breast cancer patients.
Source: Toxological & Environmental Chemistry
Published online, 20 August 2015. doi: 10.1080/02772248.2015.1077959
“Tualang honey supplementation improves oxidative stress status among chronic smokers”
Authors: Wan Syaheedah Wan Ghazali, Mahaneem Mohamed, Siti Amrah Sulaiman, Aniza Abdul Aziz & Harmy Mohamed Yusoff