Mycotoxins (such as aflatoxins and ochratoxin) are toxic products of fungi and contaminate 25% of all crops worldwide. Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus produce aflatoxins, and Aspergillus ochraceus produces ochratoxin A. Both aflatoxins and ochratoxin A are human carcinogens. One authority has called mycotoxins greater risk factors for cancer than “synthetic contaminants, plant toxins, food additives, or pesticide residues.”
Bee honey is a “functional food” that has many benefits. The present two month study was done to see if honey could block the effect of mycotoxins, using mice that were treated with aflatoxins and ochratoxin A. Some mice were fed honey and some were not, otherwise their basic diets were the same. Testing was done of colonic probiotic bacteria, colon enzymes and genotoxicity. The mice fed honey were compared with those that were not.
The results of the oral use of aflatoxins and ochratoxin A in mice without honey resulted in chromosomal abnormalities of the bone marrow and germ cells. Honey treatment reduced the amount of damage to genes caused by mycotoxins. The toxins caused damage to cells in the liver and kidney without honey. Honey reduced the cell damage caused by aflatoxin but not by ochratoxin A.
Colonic enzymes were not altered by the honey treatment. Lactobacillus sps. and Bifidobacterium sps. were greatly increased by the honey treatment. Colonic bacteria are effective in removing mycotoxins from the intestine. Altering microflora is one way in which ingested foods can alter human disease.
CONCLUSION: “Substituting sugars with honey in processed food can inhibit the harmful and genotoxic effects of mycotoxins and improve the gut microflora.” Reducing the genotoxic effects of mycotoxins would likely reduce cancer risk in humans. Honey contains at least 180 substances, including fructose, glucose, the prebiotic fructooligosaccharide, amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
NOTE: While we are discovering the health benefits of honey, bees are disappearing. Without bees, we can’t have nuts or fruit.
Read about the benefits of medical-grade honey against antibiotic resistant bacteria.
To read the author’s abstract of the article click on the link to the author’s title of the article above.