Bee venom is a cancer killer if we can harness its power
Have you heard the ‘buzz’ in the medical community about new research on the health benefits of bee venom?
You probably know bee stings can be painful—and even deadly for folks who are allergic.
But scientists from Washington University in St. Louis have shown that making a minor change to a bee venom protein changes it from a toxic killer to a potential cancer treatment!
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Scientists around the globe have worked for years to make bee venom into a safe cancer treatment, with limited success. It’s been a sort of Holy Grail.
They knew about bee venom’s anti-tumor potential. In fact, it’s already being used to treat some other diseases. It’s effective for treating bursitis and both types of arthritis, as I’ll explain in a moment. But scientists shied away from using it as a cancer drug because — when used in large quantities — bee venom also attacks red blood cells and other healthy cells in your body.
However, new studies conducted by Washington University researchers seem to be a game changer…
According to research published in the August 2010 print issue of the FASEB Journal, researchers used the modified protein called melittin to shrink or slow the growth of tumors in mice. Melittin is the “active ingredient” in bee pollen.
Not only could their findings revolutionize cancer treatments—but they could prove to be a promising remedy for arthritis, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, and many other health concerns!
Lab results show cancer cells can’t survive the sting!
Samuel Wickline, PhD and colleagues used nanotechnology to attach the melittin to microscopic, synthetically manufactured spheres called nanoparticles. Nanotechnology operates at the atomic level, building things atom by atom. It’s very cutting edge stuff.
In this application of nanotechnology, the resulting particles are appropriately called nanobees, which the scientists began injecting into lab mice in 2007.
They injected nanobees in a few dozen lab mice with three kinds of tumors:
1. A mouse form of skin cancer;
2. A type of human breast cancer transplanted into the mice; and
3. Precancerous lesions caused by human papillomavirus, which can lead to cervical cancer in humans.
The researchers observed that when the nanobees reached a cancerous tumor, they launched an all-out attack. But scientists were delighted to find that the nanobees ONLY targeted cancer cells—unlike traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy that can destroy both cancerous and healthy cells.
After two weeks of treatment, scientists compared the group of animals receiving nanobees with control groups that received either saline injections or nanoparticles without melittin. The results?
Apparently, the nanobees:
a) Slowed the breast cancer tumor growth,
b) Shrank the melanoma tumors, and
c) Reduced the precancerous lesions
The researchers said the mellitin injected into the mice would have been lethal if it had been injected on its own. That amount of free melittin would kill a mouse by destroying its red blood cells.
But Wickline’s team discovered that the melittin detached itself from the nanoparticles and went directly into the cell—without entering the bloodstream. The researchers observed that nanobees in the mice experiments seemed to induce apoptosis, or natural self-destruction, in cancer cells.
This is preferable to necrosis, or cell death from external factors such as chemotherapy, infections or trauma. This is because necrosis can damage other parts of the body while eliminating cancer cells.
But the health benefits of bee venom go beyond its ability to cause cancer cell explosions!
The use of honeybee venom for therapeutic purposes is called apitherapy. According to the American Apitherapy Society (APS), their discipline includes not only bee venom, but all hive products such as beebread… beeswax… honey… pollen… propolis… and royal jelly.
Unlike the new high-tech advance from Washington University, the natural use of these products can be traced back to ancient China, Egypt and Greece. Today, thousands of medical professionals and other health practitioners use apitherapy throughout the world.
Glory ‘bee’! Who knew bee venom is also a natural inflammation fighter?
In addition to causing cancer cells to explode, bee venom also stimulates your adrenal glands to produce cortisol. This natural hormone has anti-inflammatory properties.
This could be helpful to folks who suffer from painful joint inflammation and related conditions such as bursitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
And bee venom soothes inflammation without producing any nasty side effects associated with hydrocortisone creams. These topical creams have been linked to severe allergic reactions such as hives, difficulty breathing, and tightness in the chest.
They’ve also been known to cause bleeding, burning, mental or mood changes and fevers. Sounds like a ‘cure’ far worse than the condition it’s meant to treat!
In addition to being a safe and effective anti-inflammatory agent, bee venom also helps kick your immune system into overdrive. It also jump starts production of endorphins—which are like your body’s natural pain killers.
And that’s not all… Bee venom also has antiviral and antibacterial properties that are essential for fighting infections in your body.
In spite of all the health benefits, I have to caution you against trying to self-medicate with bee stings!
The APS website said bee venom therapy should be administered by properly trained therapists via injections or in the form of a direct bee sting. And treatment should always be preceded by an allergy test to determine how a person will react to bee venom.
Typically, bee venom treatments are given twice a week on average, and patients usually report improvement within two to three treatments.
So whether or not you choose this ancient therapy as a cancer treatment, at least you know that enduring the sting could actually trigger some powerful internal healing!