Luba Ershova is a Russian living in Auckland, New Zealand. She had no previous stomach problems, until her brush with H.pylori.
Luba tells how it affected her and how what she calls “magic honey” (actually MGO™ 400+ Manuka Honey from New Zealand) cured her stomach ulcer:
“Three months ago I started to have a problem with my stomach. A couple of hours after eating a meal I would start to feel very uncomfortable, like I had swallowed a stone.”
“It was not exactly painful, just a feeling of ‘heaviness’ that I wanted to get rid of.
“At first I thought it was a type of gastritis caused by something that I had eaten, so I put myself on a diet to get my digestion back to normal.
“I became better when I ate mostly porridge, potato puree and boiled veggies, but after a week of dieting it was still not back to normal and as soon as I ate something that was not on the diet list, the heavy feeling in my stomach would return worse than ever.
“I was constantly avoiding meat, butter, eggs and wine, thinking that they may be responsible, but the problem was still there.
“After several weeks of this, I decided to go and see a doctor and she asked me to have a blood test, as she thought the problem might be caused by Helicobacter pylori, bacteria that can get into the stomach when you eat contaminated food.
“The blood test came back positive, confirming that I had an H.pylori infection and the doctor prescribed a 7-day course of antibiotics.
“The antibiotics she gave me were quite strong and after the course my stomach felt better, but it was never completely back to normal and the heavy feeling would return every once in a while, such that I still had to be careful with the food I ate.
“The doctor explained that I had a pre-ulcer condition, and that the stress I was experiencing at that time of my life was a major contributor.
“I pretty much resigned myself to this uncomfortable feeling in my stomach and learned to live with it.
“However, later, a friend suggested that I try MGO™ 400+ Manuka Honey, as she knew of a friend of hers who had managed to totally clear himself from H. pylori bacteria by taking MGO™ manuka honey.
“You can imagine that I was pretty enthusiastic to try! I had heard a lot about the miraculous healing properties of Manuka honey in the past, but I had never had a reason to try it myself.
“I thought because it was a natural product it couldn’t do me any harm, and on the contrary it might even help my immune system to fight the condition.
“So, I took a teaspoon of MGO™ 400+ Manuka honey with a little bit of water before each meal 4 times a week.
“To tell the truth, the first week I was rather confused, as after each spoonful of honey I took, the heavy feeling would come back and I thought the honey wasn’t helping my stomach, but was somehow helping the bacteria instead.
“However, it wasn’t long before I saw real improvements – I soon forgot about my stomach, and my eating was back to normal again!
“I am still taking the magic honey as I know it can’t be doing me any harm, and my stomach has become so much better with every day!”
A scientist explains why MGO™ Manuka honey works
Dr Lynne Chepulis is Research & Development Director at Manuka Health New Zealand, which produces MGO™ Manuka Honey.
She says the story Luba tells is similar to many about the eradication of H.pylori infections using MGO™ Manuka honey:
“H. pylori is one of the main causes of stomach ulcers in many people, and yet it can be extremely difficult to get rid of, even with strong antibiotics. The medicine regime can also be difficult to stick to – standard therapy involves 2-3 drugs for 2 weeks, with up to 20 pills a day.
“This can be effective in up to 90% of patients, but often people don’t comply with the full drug therapy and/or the bacteria are simply not killed. As such, people can often suffer with these infections for months, or even years at a time.
“Nowadays, there is a large amount of case study and anecdotal evidence that demonstrates MGO™ manuka honey works to treat stomach ulcers. As well there is published scientific data that indicates Manuka honey effectively destroys H.pylori, while other honeys have no effect.”
Dr Chepulis explains the antibacterial properties of MGO™ Manuka honey are due to high concentrations of the compound Methylglyoxal.
“This is a stable compound that occurs naturally in Manuka honey. Importantly, Manuka honey contains levels of Methylgyoxyl that are far greater (up to 600 mg/kg honey) than those found in other honeys (5-10 mg/kg honey) or other foods.
“It is also stable in the presence of enzymes that readily degrade hydrogen peroxide, the non-stable antibacterial compound found in most honeys. For this reason Manuka honey can be an effective antibacterial agent in the gut, whereas other honeys are not.
“Manuka honey has been known for many years to have special properties, but until recently we did not know what was responsible for its potent stable antibacterial activity.
“It was not until 2006 that Professor Thomas Henle, of the Technical University of Dresden, Germany, identified Methylglyoxal as manuka honey’s dominant antibacterial constituent.”
Dr Chepulis says the precursor for dietary Methylglyoxal forms naturally in the Manuka plant and is transferred to the nectar which bees collect to make honey.
The Manuka bush is unique to New Zealand and manuka honey is the world’s only 100% natural food shown in numerous scientific studies to have effective and reliable stable antibacterial activity. However, the level of Methylglyoxal can vary due to soil and climate conditions, and because bees may also collect pollen from other plants at the same time.
Consumers need to be able to refer to a reliable measurement to ensure the product they buy contains enough Methylglyoxal for the purpose they intend.
MGO™ Manuka honey certification is accurate, direct and simple. For example, MGO™400+ Manuka Honey is tested and certified to have a minimum 400mg of dietary Methylglyoxal per 1 kilo of Manuka honey. Honey which is not Manuka will not have the same antibacterial affects. Nor may manuka honey which is not tested and certified.
According to research, the minimum level required to reliably inhibit major bacteria is 100mg /kg.
The information website mgomanuka.com says H. pylori is inhibited by Manuka honey with a sufficiently high level of Methylglyoxal. The site says that researchers report that Manuka Honey with a high level of anti-bacterial activity not only decreases pathogen growth in the gut, but also encourages good, pro-biotic gut bacteria. Manuka honey has no adverse affects on “friendly” bacteria essential to the digestion process.
So should manuka honey be regarded as more than a health food? A final word from the scientist who identified Methylglyoxal as the active ingredient, Professor Thomas Henle, Technical University of Dresden, Germany:
“Manuka honey should be one of the few food items for which a health-promoting property beyond the basic nutritional function can be clearly documented,” says Professor Henle.
“Health claims require significant scientific consensus, and I think from a scientific point of view, the data concerning the methylglyoxal-induced antimicrobal properties of Manuka honey are very promising to fulfil the requirements.”