Honey shows promise as Pre-biotic

March 6, 2017

Effect of honey in improving the gut microbial balance

Increasing consumer emphasis on the health benefits of foods has enhanced the research focus in health promoting elements, such as probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics. Live probiotic bacterial strains, which are incorporated in various food systems, must survive unfavourable processing and gastric environments to confer the desired physiological responses in the human gut. Non-digestible oligosaccharides are provided as fermentable prebiotic substrates to selectively modulate the gut microbial balance in favour of probiotic lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, thus improving the host metabolic function. Honey contains oligosaccharides that can be utilized by the saccharolytic fermenters to yield beneficial metabolites that promote the prebiotic effect. There are numerous studies on the antimicrobial components and health effects of honey, and many have focused on the unique antibacterial activity of varieties such as Manuka. However, the possibility of the bactericidal and bacteriostatic factors in honey working synergistically with probiotics is yet to be adequately explored in the literature. The focus of this review is on the studies that have endeavoured to evaluate the prebiotic potential of honey, which has not been comprehensively assessed as the more established prebiotics. The results in most of the reported investigations are encouraging at optimal concentrations of honey, and further research is recommended as per the defined criteria of fermentation selectivity required for the endorsement of prebiotic functionality.

Mohan, A. et al. (2017)