February 22, 2013

Honey Bee Venom to treat Blood Glucose

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beeBees are not the first thing that comes to mind when you are seeking to treat blood glucose imbalance. However, this study has shown that honey bee venom may be used as a therapy to lower blood glucose.

In the Journal of Orthropod-Borne Diseases, this study caught my attention. The idea behind this study is based on the fact that T2D is a disease due to dysfunction in insulin secretion, insulin action or both. Researchers used bee venom to see if an increase in insulin secretion could be stimulated to normalize blood glucose.

The patients in this study were rats. The rats were induced with diabetes by a treatment called allozan.  Alloxan causes diabetes by creating free radicals that destroy the beta cells, similar to Type 1 diabetes, where T-cells destroy the beta cells.

The rats were divided into 3 groups that were evaluated for 4 months: a control group, an alloxan group, and an alloxon treated group that received bee venom every day before meals.

In the alloxan bee venom-treated group, glucose, triglcerides, and total cholesterol levels were significantly decreased in comparison to the non-treated group with alloxan-induced diabetes. The bee venom did show to increase insulin secretion in comparison to the untreated diabetic group.

It’s funny to see how bee venom can influence insulin secretion in an animal that has been gifted with diabetes similar to the pathology of T1D, but without the autoimmune aspect. I wonder if this same provocation of insulin can be applied to larger animals.

In many ways we are like the birds and the bees. But in many ways, we are so different. I’m a little leery about believing that bee venom can improve blood glucose levels, triglycerides, and cholesterol in humans. When Jewel Aken sang about the birds and the bees, something tells me he wasn’t talking about diabetes.¬†

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