HONEY * the gold standard brain fuel Ron Fessenden, MD, MPH

Colorado State Beekeepers Association Summer Meeting
June 15, 2013
The brain faces an energy crisis 18 to 20
hours of every day. . .
. . . And we don’t even know it’s happening
until it’s too late!
The brain has no capacity to store fuel like
most other organs and tissues of the body
The brain exists in a state of “tension” every
minute of the 24-hour cycle and is on
constant alert with respect to the provision of
a continuous energy supply
The brain’s reserve fuel tank is quite small
– only 75 to 80 grams on average - and
the amount of fuel in the circulating blood
is even smaller ~ 5 grams
The brain is highly selectively in its choice
of fuels
The dietary habits of the average
American (what we eat and when we eat it)
keep the tank nearly empty most of the
Running out of fuel is not an acceptable
option for the brain
The body provides a low fuel indicator that
alerts the brain to an impending low fuel
The brain orchestrates the production of
new fuel for itself by initiating a process
called metabolic (adrenal-driven) stress
Is neuro-protective (protects the brain)
Is automatic (we don’t recognize that it is
Is not without consequences
Keep fuel in the tank
Maximize the liver glycogen yield (LGY)
from every meal or snack (especially in the
morning and at bedtime)
Avoid Liver Glycogen Depletion
(Liver Glycogen Depletion is a normal consequence of food
depravation, fasting, prolonged exercise, sleep and / or
repeated over-consumption of glucose-rich foods.)
Consume foods containing both fructose
and glucose (HONEY, fruits, and some
vegetables) and/or amino acids (protein and
HONEY packs a dense caloric load - a small
amount provides a relatively large amount
of energy
HONEY presents the gut with a low
digestive burden - absorption into the
blood stream is rapid
HONEY contains substances that help to
regulate insulin release from the pancreas
Ingestion of HONEY, with its nearly equal
portions of fructose and glucose, results in
immediate formation of liver glycogen
HONEY is a “high-octane” fuel providing
more liver glycogen per gram than any
other food
1 Tbsp of HONEY = 15 – 17 grams of liver
Honey is the Gold Standard of carbohydrates
1 Tbsp of HONEY =
1 Tbsp of HONEY =
4 Tbsp of Peanut
Butter (1/4 cup)
1 Tbsp of HONEY =
1/4 cup of Raisins or Dates
1 Tbsp of HONEY =
~ 6 oz of Chicken
1 Tbsp of HONEY =
3-4 oz Halibut, Pork chop
or Hamburger
1 Tbsp of HONEY =
1 cup of Yogurt or
other milk products
1 Tbsp of HONEY =
3 cups of Mashed Potatoes
1 Tbsp of HONEY =
4 cups of Carrots
1 Egg = 10 grams
3 Strips Bacon = 4.5 grams
Coffee with Cream = 2 grams
TOTAL LGY = 75 grams
1 cup OJ = 18 grams
Wheat Toast & Honey = 30 grams
1 cup Fruit = 12-15 grams
TOTAL LGT = 23 grams
Donut or pastry = 4 grams
Coffee with Cream = 2 grams
1 cup Juice Drink = 2 grams
Cereal with Milk= 15 grams
Avoid over-consumption of glucose rich foods
such as:
Fat Free Foods
Rapid rise in blood glucose (blood sugar)
Release of excessive levels of insulin
Glucose driven into the cells
Formation of high levels of triglycerides (fats)
Little or no liver glycogen formation
Repeated / chronic brain starvation
Over-consumption = Brain Starvation
Repeated over-consumption = Chronic
Brain Starvation
Reduced risk for Obesity & Diabetes
Better Weight Control by regulation of the
appetite hormones - leptin & ghrelin
Sinha, MK, et al, “Nocturnal Rise of Leptin in Lean, Obese, and Non-insulin-dependent Diabetes Mellitus Subjects,” J Clin
Invest 97(5): 1344-1347 (1996)
Turek, VF, et al, “Mechanisms of Amylin/Leptin Synergy . . .” Endocrinology Vol 151, No 1: 143-152 (2010)
Isidori, AM, et al, “Leptin and Aging: Correlation with Endocrine Changes . . .” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &
Metabolism Vol 85, No 5; 1954-1962 9(2000)
Improved Cardiovascular Health from
lowered levels of cortisol and adrenalin
Tengattini, S, et al, “Cardiovascular Diseases: Protective Effects of Melatonin.” J Pineal Res 2008 Jan; 44(1): 16-25
Chen Z, et al, “Protective Effect of Melatonin on Myocardial Infarction,” Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol (2003) 284:
Reduced Risk of Thyroid Disease
Roos, A, et al, “ Thyroid Function is Associated with Components of the Metabolic Syndrome . . .” J Clin Endocrinol
Metab 2007 Feb; 92(2): 491-6
Demidova, OR, “The Role of Thyroid Hypofunction in Development of Metabolic Syndrome,” Ter Arkh 2009; 81(4) 69-73
Reduced risks for Osteoporosis, Menopausal
Conditions, Infertility and GI Disease
Brown, JP, et al, “Relations among Menopausal symptoms, Sleep Disturbance and Depressive Symptoms in Midlife,”
Maturitas Feb 20, 2009; 62(2): 184-9
“Glucocorticoid Induced Osteoporosis,” Bone and Tooth Society of Great Britain, the National Osteoporosis Society and
the Royal College of Physicians (Pamphlet)
Bubenik, GA, “Thirty Four Years Since the Discovery of Gastrointestinal Melatonin,” J Physiol Pharmacol August 2008;
59 Suppl 2: 33-51
Improved Sleep
Reduced risks for all the metabolic conditions
associated with poor quality sleep
The reduction or prevention of nocturnal
metabolic stress is the primary benefit of
consuming honey before bedtime, impacting
every system, organ, and tissue in the body.
“Sleep with Honey . . . Its good for your health!”
Improved functional capacity for learning
and memory
Reduced risks for Depression and Insomnia
Reduced Sleep Disordered Breathing or
Sleep Apnea
Reduced risks for and/or prevention of
Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinsonism, other
Neuro-degenerative Diseases
All of these conditions and diseases are
associated with a decrease in REM (Rapid
Eye Movement) sleep
HONEY promotes REM sleep
Honey consumption lowers triglycerides
and increases HDL (good) cholesterol
Yaghoobi N, et al, “Natural Honey and Cardiovascular Risk Factors; Effects of Blood Glucose, Cholesterol,
Triacylglycerole, CRP, and Body Weight Compared to Sucrose,” Scientific World Journal 2008, April 20; : 463-9
Bogdanov, Sephan, “Honey in Medicine – A Review,” Bee Product Science, 5 April, 2011
Honey reduces the inflammatory processes
associated with many conditions of aging
Al-Waili, N, et al, “Natural Honey Lowers Plasma Prostaglandin Concentrations in Normal Individuals,” J Med Food,
2003 Summer; 6(2): 129-33
Honey reduces homocysteine (HCY) levels in
the body
HCY elevation is responsible for 10% of
heart attack deaths each year
El-Saleh, SC, “Honey Protects Against Homocysteine Elevation in Rats,” Vascular Disease Prevention, Vol 3, No 4,
November 2006, 313-318(6)
Fructose from HONEY “recycles” the enzyme
in the liver necessary for detoxifying alcohol
Rang, HP, Dale MN, “Fructose Recycling of NAD from NADH,” Pharmacology, Churchill Livingstone 1991, Edinburgh
Chapter 39, 890-1
HONEY improves immune system functioning
Al-Waili, N, et al, “Effect of Honey on Antibody Production . . . In Primary and Secondary Immune Responses,” J Med
Foods, 7(4) 2004, 492-495
Zidon, J, et al, “Prevention of Chemotherapy-Induced Neutropenia by special Honey Intake,” Medical Oncology 2006 , Vol
23, No 4, 549-55
HONEY is a potent antimicrobial for topical
Traynor, J, “Honey – The Gourmet Medicine,” Kovak Books 2002
Henle T, et al, “Identification and Quantification of MGO as the Dominant Antibacterial Constituent of Manuka Honey . .
.” Molecular Nutrition and Food Research 2008 April; 52(4): 483-9
Blair, S, Unpublished data presented by the author at the First International Symposium on Honey and Health, January
2008, Sacramento, CA
HONEY the gold standard food for rapid
formation of liver glycogen
HONEY regulates and controls blood sugar
and insulin levels
HONEY reduces or eliminates Metabolic Stress
HONEY promotes Recovery Sleep
HONEY prevents disease for some, lowers
risks of disease for others, and improves or
restores health for all
The regular consumption of 3 to 5
tablespoons per day of natural unfiltered
honey* does all of this and more without side
effects, risks or negative health
* Health benefit information from research studies used in this presentation relates to natural unfiltered
honey or specific honey varietals. Processed and blended honey may or may not provide similar
benefits. Further study is needed to determine if health benefits are applicable to processed honey.
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