Manuka Honey Against Helicobacter Pylori

on Sunday, 21 April 2013. Posted in Honey Research

All varieties of honey have antibacterial properties due to the osmotic effects of their high sugar content...

All varieties of honey have antibacterial properties due to the osmotic effects of their high sugar content. Manuka honey (from New Zealand) has particularly potent antibacterial activity. This remains the case even when the honey is diluted, thus negating its osmotic effects, and in the presence of the enzyme catalase, thus eliminating activity of glucose oxidasel. Al Somal reported that, in vitro, a 5% Manuka honey solution possessed bacteriostatic properties against Helicobacter pylori. The Body Shop magazine Naked Body highlighted these results and suggested that for ulcer relief it is recommended that you eat a tablespoon of the honey spread on bread an hour before each meal.

We recruited (with informed consent) twelve nondiabetic patients who had positive CLO tests but normal gastroscopies. Active H. pylori infection was confirmed with 14C urea breath tests. Six patients were treated with a tablespoon of manuka honey four times a day for 2 weeks and six were treated with honey and omeprazole 20 mg twice a day for the same period. A repeat 14C urea breath test was performed 4 weeks after completion of treatment regimens. This particular batch of manuka honey possessed non-peroxide antibacterial activity equivalent to 11.7% phenol (compared with 13.2% used in the in-vitro experiment). All twelve patients remained positive for H. pylori as demonstrated by 14C urea breath tests. After the trial they were offered conventional eradication therapy.

We conclude that Manuka honey is ineffective at eradicating H. pylori. If honey is effective against dyspepsia, it is not through an effect on H. pylori.