by Angela Van Alten, Nutritionist and Beekeeper's Daughter
As reported here at Bee Pollen Buzz many times, Propolis contains many high level nutrient factors including vitamins, polyphenols, and amino acids. Honey has recently been shown in studies to be very beneficial for controlling blood sugar levels. Now it appears that propolis may help too. Several of the nutrients found in propolis would be expected to improve insulin sensitivity and secondarily improve blood pressure levels, as insulin resistance is known to cause hypertension.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of propolis extracts on blood glucose levels and blood pressures in rats. The test subjects were divided into 3 different groups: those getting a normal diet, those getting a 0.1% propolis diet, and those getting a 0.5% propolis diet.
After 8 weeks, blood sugar levels and blood pressures were measured along with other metabolic factors. Blood glucose levels were decreased associated with a reduction of insulin levels in both proplois diet groups compared with the normal diet group. Propolis decreased systolic blood pressure with no significant changes in plasma aldosterone levels. Aldosterone is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. The overall effect of aldosterone is to increase reabsorption of ions and water in the kidney, increasing blood volume and therefore increasing blood pressure.
The scientists concluded that "the data suggests that dietary propolis improves insulin sensitivity and blood pressures in the early stage of the process in development of insulin resistance."
This study was done in rats, not humans. So to proclaim that propolis will treat your insulin resistance and lower your blood pressure at this time is premature. It might be worth using propolis as part of a comprehensive blood sugar control program including proven ingredients such as Omega 3 fatty acids, chromium, alpha lipoic acid, and my favorite - GlucoSmart.
Also consider implementing the following nutrition tips to help control blood sugar:
The full study can be found in the journal Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 2013 Feb 14.