Honeybees produce honeycomb in their hives. Composed of beeswax, the structure of honeycomb consists of hexagon-shaped cells used to store honey. The wax that makes up honeycomb contains very-long-chain fatty acids, along with long-chain alcohols, or esters. The honey stored within the honeycomb is the purest, rawest form of honey, and the wax the honeycomb is made of has nutritional value and health benefits.
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The fatty acids found in fish provide heart health benefits, and so do the very-long-chain fats and alcohols of honeycomb. The fatty alcohols that honeycomb is made of appear to significantly lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol, according to a review published in the March 2004 issue of the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine. In humans, clinical data in one study showed honeycomb fatty acids and alcohols lowered low-density lipoprotein by 21 to 29 percent.
Protects the Liver
The alcohols found in honeycomb appear to have antioxidant effects that help protect your liver. To test this, researchers conducted a study using a mixture of beeswax alcohol to evaluate the safety and effectiveness in people with fatty liver. Participants took a preparation of beeswax alcohol for 24 weeks, and at the end of the study researchers found that it helped normalize liver function and improve symptoms of fatty liver. The study was published in the July 2013 issue of the Korean Journal of Internal Medicine.
Benefits Glucose Metabolism
Glucose is vital to your health, as your body, especially your brain, relies on it for energy. And it appears that the waxy alcohols found in honeycomb promote healthy glucose metabolism. In the fatty liver study, the waxy alcohols in honeycomb significantly reduced insulin levels and markers for insulin resistance in participants. Insulin resistance can lead to type-2 diabetes and other problems.
Don't Go Overboard
It is possible to have too much of a good thing. Follow the honeycomb product's intake guidelines, or consult with a nutrition professional. Eating large amounts of honeycomb may cause gastrointestinal blockage, which is potentially life-threatening. The Cases Journal reports on a woman who landed in the hospital with a large stomach obstruction from eating large amounts of honeycomb over a two-month period. She thought eating large amounts would increase the health benefits. Instead, the honeycomb accumulated in her gastrointestinal tract and formed a large mass that required surgery to remove. The case report was published in the May 2009 edition.
- Experimental Biology and Medicine: Nutritional Significance and Metabolism of Very Long Chain Fatty Alcohols and Acids From Dietary Waxes
- Cases Journal: Huge Gastric Bezoar Caused by Honeycomb, an Unusual Complication of Health Faddism: A Case Report
- Korean Journal of Internal Medicine: Effects of D-002, A Mixture of High Molecular Weight Beeswax Alcohols, on Patients With Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease