June 09, 2021

Manuka Honey’s Benefits for Digestive Health!

When it comes to protecting and improving your Digestive System, Manuka honey excels with its unique healing properties and probiotic activity.

Manuka honey is created when bees forage for pollen and nectar from the Manuka tree, which is native to New Zealand. For thousands of years, honey has been used for its numerous health benefits, including its ability to help protect and treat gut health.

Let’s take a deeper look into why Manuka honey is so beneficial for the digestive system, how it impacts certain conditions such as ulcers, IBS, acid reflux, and the research that supports these amazing benefits! 

Why is Manuka Honey Beneficial for the Digestive System?

In the 1980s, Dr. Peter Molan, a New Zealand Biochemist, and a team of scientists were researching the chemical compounds found in Manuka honey. Molan and his contemporaries were astonished by Manuka honey’s incredible antimicrobial properties and other health benefits.

They discovered the main cause of these health benefits came from a naturally occuring chemical compound found in Manuka honey called Methylglyoxal, or MG for short. 

MG is produced from the intricate process honeybees use when they forage Manuka pollen and nectar to create delicious Manuka honey. Although other honeys contain their own health benefits, Manuka honey is much more notable for the potency of its antibacterial and antimicrobial activity, and its effectiveness in treating a wide range of bodily ailments. 

Molan and his team coined the term “Unique Manuka Factor” (UMF) to use as a rating system to measure the potency of the amazing benefits of Manuka honey. A higher UMF, equates to a higher concentration of MG and greater healing capabilities. 

Let’s take a look at the wide range of health benefits Manuka honey brings to your digestive system and gut microbiomes. 

Manuka Honey Promotes Healthy Gut Bacteria

Our digestive system contains millions of different gut bacteria that keep our bodies healthy, balanced and operating effectively. 

These beneficial bacteria are called Probiotics, and they help the body by promoting good digestion, bolstering a strong immune system, maintaining energy levels and more. Some research even suggests that your stomach’s microbiome plays a role in regulating your emotions. This makes sense, if you’ve ever had a stomach ache, diarrhea or any other unpleasant ailment, you’re usually not in the best mood.

What it comes down to is this: A good gut biome keeps you feeling your best and helps protect you against disease. Thankfully, research shows that Manuka honey is extremely effective in promoting a healthy, balanced microbiome with each delicious spoonful.

Manuka honey is known as a Prebiotic which is different from the probiotics we mentioned earlier.

Prebiotics are foods that we can eat to help our natural probiotics flourish. If you imagine your stomach as a garden, prebiotics are the nutrient rich soil that helps your flowers bloom. 

Manuka honey produces prebiotics called fructo-oligosaccharides which help to keep important stomach probiotics healthy and effective.

So when it comes to helping your gut biome maintain a healthy balance, high activity Manuka honey can be very beneficial. 

Manuka Honey Kills Bad Bacteria

One of the most notable and interesting aspects about Manuka honey is that it promotes the growth of good probiotic bacteria, while simultaneously eradicating harmful bacteria and viruses that invade our digestive system. 

Recent research evidences that Manuka honey is effective at killing over 50 species of harmful bacteria. Many of these specifically attack our digestive system:

  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
  • Clostridium difficile (C. diff)
  • Escherichia coli (E. coli)
  • Salmonella enteritidis
  • Salmonella typhimurium
  • Staphylococcus aureus (staph)

These bacteria can cause issues like stomach ulcers, colitis and even contribute to improper digestion. However, ingesting Manuka honey as part of your diet gives you a great natural remedy to treat these issues. 

Manuka honey is an Anti-inflammatory

Another reason why Manuka honey is so helpful to the digestive system is that it reduces inflammation. Inflammation can be an immune response triggered when foreign pathogens attack our bodies. It can occur in the stomach lining, intestines and other parts of the digestive tract. This type of inflammation can be extremely painful and cause harm throughout the entire body. 

Honey has been used as an anti-inflammatory for centuries. Moreover, Manuka honey’s high concentration of Methylglyoxal contributes an even greater effect on reducing inflammation, and eliminating the bacteria that caused it. 

Research backs this up, revealing how Manuka honey can be used as an effective medication for treating inflammation. 

Manuka Honey for Stomach Ulcers (Ulcerative Colitis) 

One of the best ways Manuka honey shows off its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effectiveness is in the treatment of stomach ulcers.

A stomach ulcer is a sore on the internal  lining of the stomach. These ulcers appear when damage occurs to the lining, usually caused by hydrochloric acid present in stomach acid. Ulcers can also be caused by a bacteria called H. Pylori. Research shows that Manuka honey is effective at eradicating H. Pylori, and helps to reduce the inflammation caused by these stomach ulcers.

Similarly, in 2016, researchers were able to discover that Manuka honey helped protect the gastric tissue from developing ulcers and promoted healing of lesions when they occurred. 

As you can see, Manuka honey bolsters the physical health of your stomach while also effectively killing harmful bacteria that may try to invade.

Manuka Honey for IBS/IBD

Another example of Manuka honey’s incredible anti-inflammatory ability is in its treatment of symptoms caused by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). 

As the name suggests, IBS and IBD are both triggered when inflammation occurs throughout the bowels and intestines. This is a common issue, as nearly 1 in 7 adults deal with the painful symptoms of IBS.

IBS can cause symptoms like abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, GERD symptoms, and pretty much anything you can think of relating to a bad stomach ache. 

Thankfully, Manuka Honey's awesome anti-inflammatory properties make it a fantastic natural option for treating these symptoms. 

Research conducted in 2008 concluded that there was a significant reduction in colonic inflammation when treated with Manuka honey, especially when consumed at higher levels.

People who deal with these issues usually have to make changes to their diet to minimize their symptoms. Including a healthy amount of high activity Manuka honey can really make a difference in managing the symptoms of IBS and IBD.

Manuka Honey for Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is another very common occurrence amongst adults dealing with stomach pains and other digestive issues. 

Acid reflux causes heartburn, sore throat, chest pain and sometimes can induce vomiting. It’s very painful and can be an issue that people deal with throughout their whole lives.

Harm caused by acid reflux can actually cause damage to the esophagus over time. This is due to the erosion of this delicate organ caused by the harsh stomach acids.

Thankfully, Manuka honey is efficient at helping treat these symptoms through a variety of ways.

Manuka honey’s anti-inflammatory capabilities help to soothe the throat and delicate tissues along your digestive tract. It also helps to protect the thin mucosal layer covering our esophagus, allowing for a strong barrier to develop. This stronger lining protects the esophageal cells and prevents opportunistic bacteria from causing infection.

Finally, Manuka honey has impressive antioxidant abilities. Oxidants can cause issues in the digestive tract relating to increased inflammation.

This combination of effective healing helps to reduce symptoms of acid reflux and can reduce its occurrence.

Manuka Honey for Food Poisoning

Food poisoning can be caused by many different issues stemming from allergies, diet and especially bacteria. One of the most common bacteria that affects the digestive system and can cause food poisoning is called Clostridium Difficile. Manuka honey’s strong antibacterial activity is effective at killing this harmful bacteria in the digestive tract.

Research, conducted in 2013, surmises that Manuka honey’s antimicrobial effectiveness is a serious means to treat the painful symptoms of food poisoning, and to boost the body’s defenses in order to protect against future infections.

Higher concentrations of Manuka honey were found to be increasingly effective against C. Difficile infections, so it’s important to note that high grade Manuka honey is the best option when dealing with these symptoms. 

Conclusion

Thanks to Manuka honey’s vast array of different digestive benefits, it has become a very common treatment in the medical community for those dealing with gut health issues. 

Whether it’s killing the harmful bacteria that cause these conditions, promoting the healthy probiotics which bolster our digestive system’s overall health, reducing inflammation or improving antioxidant capability, Manuka honey is a strong choice for those seeking fast, effective and natural relief.

As Manuka honey is digested and moved through the digestive tract, the honey begins to work as it is broken down. By utilizing high grade Manuka honey, like our 550+ MG high activity option, you’re ensuring that your Manuka honey produces maximum results as it moves throughout your digestive system.

Consistent daily intake of Manuka honey will help you in the long run. If you’re looking to consume Manuka honey as a means to treat any of these issues, we recommend eating 1-2 teaspoons of high activity Manuka honey daily!

We hope that you found this article helpful and that your symptoms can be managed through the natural healing power of Manuka honey!


Research

  1. Almasaudi SB, El-Shitany NA, Abbas AT, Abdel-dayem UA, Ali SS, Al Jaouni SK, Harakeh S. Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, and Antiulcer Potential of Manuka Honey against Gastric Ulcer in Rats. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016;2016:3643824. doi: 10.1155/2016/3643824. Epub 2015 Dec 7. PMID: 26770649; PMCID: PMC4685122.
  2. Carter, Dee A., et al. “Therapeutic Manuka Honey: No Longer So Alternative.” Frontiers, Frontiers, 5 Apr. 2016, www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2016.00569/full. 
  3. Daglia M, Ferrari D, Collina S, Curti V. Influence of in vitro simulated gastroduodenal digestion on methylglyoxal concentration of Manuka ( Lectospermum scoparium ) honey. J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Mar 6;61(9):2140-5. doi: 10.1021/jf304299d. Epub 2013 Feb 25. PMID: 23406199.
  4. Hammond EN, Donkor ES. Antibacterial effect of Manuka honey on Clostridium difficile. BMC Res Notes. 2013 May 7;6:188. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-6-188. PMID: 23651562; PMCID: PMC3669629.
  5. Prakash A, Medhi B, Avti PK, Saikia UN, Pandhi P, Khanduja KL. Effect of different doses of Manuka honey in experimentally induced inflammatory bowel disease in rats. Phytother Res. 2008 Nov;22(11):1511-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2523. PMID: 18688794.
  6. Rosendale, Douglas I., et al. “High‐Throughput Microbial Bioassays to Screen Potential New Zealand Functional Food Ingredients Intended to Manage the Growth of Probiotic and Pathogenic Gut Bacteria.” Institute of Food Science and Technology, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 18 Nov. 2008, ifst.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2621.2008.01863.x.
  7. Yaghoobi, Reza et al. “Evidence for Clinical Use of Honey in Wound Healing as an Anti-bacterial, Anti-inflammatory Anti-oxidant and Anti-viral Agent: A Review.” Jundishapur journal of natural pharmaceutical products vol. 8,3 (2013): 100-4. doi:10.17795/jjnpp-9487


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