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Effect of antioxidant-rich propolis, honey and bee pollen extracts against type 2 diabetes and its associated risks : a potential approach that warrants a clinical investigation

Professor Badiaâ Lyoussi

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a chronic progressive disease characterized by chronic fasting hyperglycemia and resulting in defective insulin action. This pathology is most often linked to life style changes, obesity, physical inactivity and family antecedents. Currently, its incidence is increasing exponentially, and affects more than 350 million people worldwide, estimates are that it will grow to about 642 million people by 2040. Several hypotheses were put in place in order to explain the mechanisms involved in the manifestation of diabetes and its associated risks. The most solid one is that linking to oxidative stress, in fact hyperglycemia is a main factor triggering oxidative stress via the overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The relationship between diabetes, hepato-renal damage and oxidative stress has been the subject of previous studies. Nature is an inexhaustible source of products and bioactive molecules that can be used as alternative treatments, being propolis one of them. Propolis, known as a miracle drug, is a sticky, resinous substance made by a complex mixture of bee-released and plant–derived compounds. Numerous studies have shown that propolis has different therapeutic properties such as antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anticancer, antiangiogenic and hepatoprotective. Furthermore, in vitro studies have shown that propolis inhibits α-amylase and α -glucosidase activities as part of its anti-hyperglycemic mechanism . Pollen is another bee product that is extremely rich in bioactive molecules, like flavonoids. Numerous biological effects are attributed to bee pollen, which include antioxidant , cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, and anti-inflammatory effects. Honey have antioxydant and antiinflammatory properties, honey decreases urinary prostaglandins and increases nitric oxyde. Until now, no study had examined the combined effect of propolis and bee pollen or honey on type 2 diabetes and its related metabolic disorders. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the chemical composition of antioxidant polyphenols in propolis, bee pollen and honey extracts and also to evaluate the influence of several doses of these extracts and their mixture in the prevention of T2D, dyslipidemia and hepato-renal dysfunction induced by D-glucose in rats. The results of this study showed for the first time that co-administration of propolis and honey or bee pollen extracts, especially their combination, are able to attenuate the T2D caused by a high-glucose intake. The role of these natural ingredients involves prevention of hyperglycemia, insulinemia, HOMA-IR index, HOMA-β, Insulin sensitivity, pancreatic β-cell function and lipid prolife. Furthermore, these natural products ameliorate hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity as diabetic complications.

It might be concluded that propolis , honey and pollen are potential candidates to be used in the management of diabetes and its metabolic disorders . These results pave the way for controlled clinical studies and the use of their combination might potentiate their activities.