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Honey has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for various ailments, including infections, atherosclerosis, diabetes, IBD, and cancer. It is known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties. Recent studies have also shown that honey can have a positive impact on gut microbiota. However, most studies on honey have focused on only one aspect of its benefits, and there is a lack of holistic studies evaluating its antioxidant activity, anti-inflammatory effect, and gut microbiota regulation.
In this study, we aim to investigate the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacities of different types of honeys and their effects on the gut microbiota of elderly individuals. We hypothesize that honeys with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory activity can regulate the gut microbiota and provide health benefits for the elderly.
Sugar Profile and Physicochemical Properties of Honeys
Sugars are one of the major components of honey and are closely related to its maturation and botanical source. Fructose, glucose, and sucrose are the main sugars found in honey. In this study, we analyzed the sugar composition of four different honeys using HPLC. The results showed that fructose was present in the highest concentration, followed by glucose and sucrose.
Anti-inflammatory, Anti-bacterial, and Anti-oxidant Properties of Honey
Honey has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects on different disease models. It can decrease the production of inflammatory mediators and promote the expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines. Honey also exhibits antimicrobial effects and can inhibit the growth of pathogens. In addition, studies have shown that honey can balance the composition of the gut microbiota.
Impact of Honeys on Gut Microbiota
In this study, we utilized a microcosm, which is a batch gut model seeded with elderly fecal microbiota, to investigate the impact of honeys on the gut microbiota. The results showed that the addition of honeys increased the abundance of beneficial lactobacilli and decreased the abundance of potentially harmful Gram-negative enteric bacteria. Honeys also had a beneficial effect on the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are important for gut health.
Chemical Compositions and Antioxidant Capacity of Honeys
We analyzed the chemical compositions and antioxidant capacities of the four honeys. The results showed that the sugar content, phenolic content composition, and antioxidant capacity of honeys are source-dependent. The antioxidant capacity of honeys was positively correlated with the concentration of gallic acid.
In conclusion, this study provides evidence that honeys with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity can regulate the gut microbiota of elderly individuals. These honeys have the potential to prevent chronic inflammation and improve health in aging. The findings of this study contribute to the understanding of the functional performance and effective components of honey in targeting immunity and the microbiome. Further studies are needed to explore the value-added utilization of these honeys for improving health outcomes.