Buckwheat honey, a natural sweetener, conveys antioxidant protection to healthy human subjects
D. D. SCHRAMM and C. L. Keen. Dept. of Nutrition, Univ. of California-Davis, 1 Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616
Free radicals and reactive oxygen species have been implicated in contributing to aging and to many disease states including cancer and cardiovascular disease. Humans protect themselves from reactive oxygen species, in part, by absorbing dietary antioxidants. Honey is one agricultural product that can be a rich source of phenolic antioxidants such as 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, and 4-hydroxycinnamic acid. Honey derived from buckwheat, for example, can provide up to 2 milligrams of phenolic antioxidants per gram of honey. In addition, many honeys provide small amounts of vitamin antioxidants such as Vitamin C. Here we report the effects of consuming 150 grams of corn syrup or buckwheat honey on plasma phenolic content and on plasma antioxidant capacity in healthy human subjects (n=10/treatment group). Corn syrup contained 0.21 ± 0.06 mg of phenolic antioxidants per gram. The two buckwheat honeys, designated honey- and honey+, contained 0.79 ± 0.02 and 1.71 ± .21 mg of phenolic antioxidants per gram. Plasma phenolics were detected using AOAC and HPLC methods. Antioxidant capacity was assessed using Prussian-blue and TRAP methodology. Following consumption of the two honey treatments, plasma phenolic content increased in subjects (P<0.05). Likewise, the honey treatments effectively increased the ability of plasma from subjects to reduce metal ions (Prussian-blue; P<0.05) and scavenge free radicals (TRAP; P<0.05). Data from this investigation support the conclusion that phenolic antioxidants from processed honey are bioavailable and convey antioxidant protection to healthy human subjects. Since more than 150 pounds of sugar are consumed by each US citizen every year, results from this investigation strongly suggest that if honey was substituted for sweeteners traditionally used in food products, it could substantially improve total antioxidant intake by humans.
Session 46F, Nutrition