Can Honey Improve Prostate Health?

If you are one of the millions of men suffering from an enlarged prostate due to BPH, then it makes sense to want to try all the natural ways you can find to thwart its size. Or at least be able to curb its symptoms. 

The truth is, no one wants to spend their time running for the bathroom or managing the bladder pressure. That constant nighttime urination can be nerve-wracking. 

Research suggests that honey may have health benefits for the prostate.

What Is an Enlarged Prostate? 

BPH is a nonmalignant prostate growth typically found in older men. This ailment triggers lower urinary tract symptoms

These symptoms can be obstructive and result in a weak urine stream, straining, hesitancy, or prolonged voiding. Or they can be irritative, leading to urgency, urge incontinence, poor voiding volumes, and nocturia

Those affected may also find it difficult to empty their bladder completely. Others will deal with a postvoid dribble. 

The fact is, you are not alone in this. Almost 50% of all men in their 60s have BPH. That prevalence skyrockets to almost 90% by the time you reach your 80s. 

When there is inflammation and unstable sex hormones, that’s when prostate enlargement happens. The treatment for the ailment starts with watchful waiting. Depending on its progress, doctors can suggest surgical or medical interventions. 

What Is Honey?

Honey is a byproduct created via a completely natural chemical process. This thick, sweet, and delicious food substance comes from honey bees and other bees. The honey bee is one of the key insects crucial for humankind. 

Not that many species are as mutually beneficial to each other as these bees and humans. Most of our favorite veggies and fruits are pollinated by bees. We use that to plant crops that would help bees create their primary food source – honey. 

In 2019, roughly 90 million beehives were recorded on a global scale. They went up by 10 million from 2010. But, to understand the benefits of honey, it is important to look at the various types of raw honey you can encounter. 

Types of Honey

There are varieties and types of honey people can purchase. They vary in texture, taste, and potential beneficial properties. While the cheapest brand of honey may do the trick if you need to add it to a quick recipe, its impact can’t compare to that of organic honey.  You have:

  • Clover honey

  • Buckwheat honey

  • Acacia honey

  • Manuka honey

  • Monofloral honey

  • Sourwood honey

  • Wildflower honey

  • Tupelo honey

  • Tualang honey, and many more

all about the prostate health book

Can Honey Improve Prostate Health?

Natural honey has a range of therapeutic properties. From its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, raw honey is a viable option for managing the enlarged prostate. The primary constituent of honey is sugar, which makes up over 99% of the dry weight of honey. 

This sugar mixture features 40.5% fructose, 7.5% maltose, 33.5% glucose, and 1.5% sucrose. These numbers are consistent between all kinds of honey regardless of where their nectar comes from. 

But, raw honey is also packed with other components that can benefit prostate health. These include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and polyphenols. 

Data indicates that honey could inhibit cancer cell proliferation and trigger apoptosis. This is seen in many carcinomas, such as prostate cancer, liver cancer, breast, and colon cancer

What the Research Says

As previously mentioned, honey has polyphenols. These are mainly phenolic acid derivatives, phenolic acids, and flavonoids. One study looked at the pro-oxidant and antioxidant effects of polyphenols in prostate cancer. 

Polyphenols could act as both: 

  • Pro-oxidant agents – by amplifying ROS (reactive oxygen species) production.

  • Antioxidant molecules – by scavenging for free radicals to curb oxidative stress.

Further data showed similar results. Researchers examined the possibility of honeydew honey, manuka honey, and New Zealand thyme for decreasing metastatic cancer development. Their impact was evaluated in prostate cancer cell lines. Based on the reports, non-toxic concentrations of honeydew and thyme honey curbed cell migration by 20%.

All of their phenolic agents (except caffeic acid) decreased cell migration. In other words, honey and the sugar it contains, paired with the phenolic compounds, can decrease the metastatic properties of carcinoma cells. They could achieve this by preventing efficient cell adhesion. 

Based on reports, dark honey features more illness-fighting agents than light honey. The nectar foraged has profound nutritional importance. What the bees eat will determine the antioxidant value the natural honey carries. 

The roles of dietary polyphenols for managing an enlarged prostate have yet to be explored. 

A 2017 report looked into the possibility of dietary polyphenols as an alternative option for BPH management. While conventional medication is relatively effective for managing the enlarged prostate, it comes with a range of side effects, like abnormal ejaculation, among many other problems. 

Several other polyphenols such as curcumin and cinnamon feature potent beneficial compounds. They have renowned anti-inflammatory activities, which could aid the prostate. 

With that in mind, honey might come in handy for an inflamed prostate. There is not enough research to confirm that. But, from the limited data we have, honey might have some substantial potential. 

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Other Health Benefits of Honey

This sugar-rich bee pollen nectar comes from nature. It virtually has no protein, fat, or fiber. But, it is packed with some plant compounds. 

The higher the quality of the local honey, the better its organic acids and antioxidant power. And antioxidants are linked to reduced risk of strokes, some cancers, and heart attack

This pollen nectar is also “less bad” than the added sugar found in a ton of other foods. It can thwart LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and raise HDL (good cholesterol). 

But, it can raise blood sugar, yet not to the same extent as refined sugar. So, to manage the blood sugar levels effectively, consume raw honey with caution. 

The good thing is that raw honey’s antioxidants can also aid with blood pressure control. This is something that can come in handy in the long run. 

Lastly, we have honey and wound care. Hydrogen peroxide is the primary component for the antibacterial action of raw honey. The honey itself can promote healing, making it a beneficial option for wound dressing. 

How to Get Honey in Your Diet

Eating honey is all about moderation. Although raw honey is natural, it has sugar. So, it can lead to cavities and tooth decay. It can linger on the teeth and result in stickiness. 

The best way to eat honey is to:

  • Mix a teaspoon in your tea or coffee. 

  • Drizzle some of the sugary goodness on pancakes, toast, or dressings. 

  • Mix the raw honey into oatmeal, cereal, or yogurt. 

  • Spread some raw honey over whole-grain toast. 

Keep in mind that raw honey is a food source and could get contaminated with harmful bacteria. Some bacteria can cause infant botulism. Although this is incredibly rare, it can happen. So, seal the jar when not in use. 

Conclusion

The sugar in honey makes it sweet and downright delicious. But, the real impact of this product is in its beneficial properties. 

Overall, it is good for the general health and prostate. Data shows that it could aid with cancer of the prostate. But, there is insufficient data on whether it can shrink the prostate.

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Sources

  1. Chughtai B, Forde JC, Thomas DD, Laor L, Hossack T, Woo HH, Te AE, Kaplan SA. Benign prostatic hyperplasia. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2016. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27147135/
  2. Lee CL, Kuo HC. Pathophysiology of benign prostate enlargement and lower urinary tract symptoms: Current concepts. Ci Ji Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2017;29(2):79-83. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5509197/
  3. Abel SDA, Dadhwal S, Gamble AB, Baird SK. Honey reduces the metastatic characteristics of prostate cancer cell lines by promoting a loss of adhesion. PeerJ. 2018;6:e5115. Published 2018 Jul 3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6034594/
  4. Costea T, Nagy P, Ganea C, Szöllősi J, Mocanu MM. Molecular Mechanisms and Bioavailability of Polyphenols in Prostate Cancer. Int J Mol Sci. 2019;20(5):1062. Published 2019 Mar 1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6429226/
  5. Olas B. Honey and Its Phenolic Compounds as an Effective Natural Medicine for Cardiovascular Diseases in Humans?. Nutrients. 2020;12(2):283. Published 2020 Jan 21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7070389/
  6. Abel, Sean & Dadhwal, Sumit & Gamble, Allan & Baird, Sarah. (2018). Honey reduces the metastatic characteristics of prostate cancer cell lines by promoting a loss of adhesion. PeerJ. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326159465_Honey_reduces_the_metastatic_characteristics_of_prostate_cancer_cell_lines_by_promoting_a_loss_of_adhesion
  7. University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. “Dark Honey Has More Illness-Fighting Agents Than Light Honey.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 1998. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/07/980708085352.htm
  8. Eleazu, C., Eleazu, K., & Kalu, W. (2017). Management of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: Could Dietary Polyphenols Be an Alternative to Existing Therapies?. Frontiers In Pharmacology, 8. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2017.00234/full

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