from "nectar of the gods" to honey toxicity?
myth and reality (2)
Dr. Mirela Stranț, Cluj Napoca,
doctor with apiphytotherapy competence,
Ayurveda lecturer AMN-
Comparison of HMF levels in honey with other food products
As we already know HMF is not naturally present in food but is formed by heat treatment and in combination with other factors and there is no fixed concentration of HMF in different foods. Baking temperature, rate of sucrose degradation, concentration of reducing sugars, type of sugar (glucose, fructose or others), water activity, addition of other food additives such as HMF-containing sweeteners, colouring agents, caramelisation, storage time and temperature, type of storage and metal processing vary greatly between different food products. Therefore, the HMF content varies from food products even between those of the same type.
However, honey is a safer food than other processed foods in terms of its HMF concentration.
Floral honey and apple honey processed at 95°C for 90 min and at 90°C for 75 min showed HMF levels below 40 mg/kg. In contrast to honey, when processing other foodstuffs at relatively higher temperatures (during baking, roasting), longer times and different additives are required, which profoundly affect the HMF content of the food.
For example, cakes baked at temperatures above 200°C accumulate drastically, 10-100 times more HMF (167.4-1100.1 mg/kg) than cakes baked below 200°C (9.9-39.6 mg/kg).
Health effects of HMF. Studies and conclusions.
Since we have developed the subject of hydroxymethylsulfural (HMF for short) so much, let's also look at its effects on us. In many studies s-
For example, oral administration to mice of single doses of 900 or 1300 mg/kg showed significant damage to DNA-
In topical application of sulphoxymethyl (SMF) and chloromethyl derivatives of HMF, s-
HMF is reported to have cytotoxic effects at high concentrations, as the compound causes irritation to mucous membranes, skin, eyes and upper respiratory tract. Its metabolite, SMF s-
However, there appear to be positive health effects. Some studies show antioxidant effects of HMF, by counteracting free radicals.
Some studies also show that HMF has a protective effect on hepatocytes damaged by hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Other research shows that administered in small amounts, HMF can increase survival under hypobaric hypoxic conditions and could be a potent therapeutic agent against acute mountain sickness, high altitude cerebral oedema and high altitude pulmonary oedema, significantly attenuating the degree of hypobaric hypoxia-induced permeability of the blood-
As we can see, some studies have different and even opposite results. Certainly the results depend on the approach (studies on human or animal cells carried out in the laboratory, in vivo studies on animals and humans), oral administration, by injection, infusion or topical application, small, medium, large or huge doses and last but not least administration of a single compound, extracted from the "context", i.e. the food from which it comes.
The situation becomes even more complex when we also consider the particularities of the body exposed to large amounts of HMF. Many studies have revealed that different cells respond differently to HMF-induced cytotoxicity. The sensitivity of cells to HMF depends on the presence and expression levels of receptors for metabolism, structure and enzyme activity.
At the preclinical level, no s-
Zaitzev and collaborators established a safe daily dose of 132 mg/day for HMF using a 40-fold safety margin. Importantly, in humans, both HMF and its metabolites are completely excreted in the urine within 48 hours after oral administration of 240 mg/day (much higher than the safe dose).
As a component of processed foods, HMF has both adverse and beneficial effects on human and bee health. Some effects of HMF on human health and its carcinogenic as well as anti
Beyond all this, on an individual level, we must use our common sense, but we must not neglect information that can be extremely useful. Heat-treated honey is certainly not the best option when we want to benefit from all its exceptional therapeutic properties, some of which I have already mentioned.
If we are looking for curative or regenerative effects, we will use raw, unheated honey which we will not subject to thermal processes. If, for example, we drink herbal tea for a cold or cough, we prefer to let the tea cool down before adding honey. In this way we will benefit fully from the naturally occurring enzymes in honey, the antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and expectorant factors, and on the other hand we will not irritate the already sore throat with a very hot liquid.
If we want to use it as a sweetener for hot liquids or healthy sweets (not those with white flour, refined oil, margarines, pasteurized or powdered milk, additives, colorings, etc.), we can use it as a sweetener.
In addition, as mentioned above, it is good to have a varied, balanced diet, without excesses, consisting of whole foods and as little processed as possible and with a higher intake of raw foods.
In this way we will have a lower intake of hydroxymethylsulfural, we will avoid many other more harmful substances but above all we will bring a significant intake of nutrients and substances with a protective role. This will help us to have a healthy, harmonious body and flourishing health.