Heal Your Liver With Bee Products

Propolis, honey, royal jelly and bee pollen combine to heal damaged livers in study

Angela, CNP

We've all treated our livers badly at some point or another, haven't we? Whether you had one too many drinks or swallowed a few too many Tylenol, the fact is that your liver has been damaged at some point in your life.  Fortunately, the liver is an organ that can heal and regenerate itself if given the opportunity and raw materials to do so.  

Liver diseases happen to be one of the most common illnesses in the world, from which hundreds of millions of people suffer and die each year. Liver damage is primarily caused by viral infections, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, as well as bacterial infections, chemical agents, antibiotics, and pesticides. 

In a study published in the Turkish Journal of Medical Science, scientists set out to identify whether the products of the hive (propolis, bee pollen, royal jelly and honey), might in fact have the capability to protect the liver from damage but also heal it once damaged.   

They first looked at the antioxidant properties of honeybee products as it is hypothesized that foods high in antioxidants might be more protective in nature.   It is thought that the higher the antioxidant capacity of a food (known as the ORAC value) the more protective it is.

It was found that the antioxidant activities were highest in propolis, followed, in order, by bee pollen, honey, and royal jelly.

Once the antioxidant levels of honey, bee pollen, propolis, and royal jelly were determined, the scientists set out to determine their hepatoprotective (liver) activity against a potent liver toxin call CCl4 (Carbon tetrachloride).

Carbon tetrachloride is one of the most potent liver toxins and is  widely used in scientific research to evaluate hepatoprotective agents.  It was formerly widely used in fire extinguishers, as a precursor to refrigerants , and as a cleaning agent.   It was even used as a pesticide to kill insects in stored grain, but in 1970 it was banned in consumer products in the United States.

Animals were fed with bee pollen, propolis, royal jelly and honey for 7 days following the injection of CCl4. Development of liver damage and oxidative stress were monitored by measuring key liver enzymes.   

The results of the study suggest that honey, propolis, bee pollen, and royal jelly significantly enhanced the healing of CCl4-induced liver damage, likely due to their very high antioxidant levels.

It was also found that despite the four bee products different levels of antioxidant capacity, their roles in the prevention of liver damage induced by CCl4 were very similar.   So the idea that higher antioxidant levels of a food being predictive of their protective capacity is incorrect.  Clearly there is something else in bee pollen, royal jelly and honey that is 'mysteriously' protecting and healing the liver.  

Healing Your Liver

We know from this study that bee pollen, royal jelly, raw honey and propolis not only protect the liver from damage but also help it to heal and repair itself.  So how do you heal your liver using bee products?   Based on this study we know the following:

The levels of bee products given to the animals in this study were as follows for seven days:

  • Bee pollen - 400 mg per kg
  • Propolis - 400 mg per kg
  • Honey - 400 mg per kg
  • Royal Jelly - 50 mg per kg

These amounts equate in a 150 lb human as follows:

  • Bee pollen - 27 grams per day (2 + tablespoons per day)
  • Propolis - 27 grams per day (2 + tablespoons per day)
  • Honey - 27 grams per day (2 tablespoons per day)
  • Royal Jelly - 3.4 grams per day (3 x 1000 mg capsules per day)

Other than the dose of Propolis consumed, these are all very realistic and reasonable doses to consume in the event of a 'liver damaging event' such as excessive exposure to a chemical, drug, pesticide or medication.  Taking 27 grams of propolis per day would be prohibitively expensive.   Otherwise, follow this protocol daily to help heal your liver.

I also recommend high doses of Vitamin C and either N'Acetyl Cysteine or Glutathione to help protect and heal the liver.   You might also consider Milk Thistle which is a wonderfully powerful liver tonic.

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Turk J Med Sci. 2016 Jan 5;46(1):194-202

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