Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Comparison of bee products based on assays of antioxidant capacities

Yoshimi Nakajima1, Kazuhiro Tsuruma1, Masamitsu Shimazawa1, Satoshi Mishima2 and Hideaki Hara1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biofunctional Evaluation, Molecular Pharmacology, Gifu Pharmaceutical University, 5-6-1 Mitahora-higashi, Gifu 502-8585, Japan

2 Nagaragawa Research Center, API Co. Ltd, 692-3 Nagara, Gifu 502-0071, Japan

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2009, 9:4  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-9-4

Published: 26 February 2009

Abstract

Background

Bee products (including propolis, royal jelly, and bee pollen) are popular, traditional health foods. We compared antioxidant effects among water and ethanol extracts of Brazilian green propolis (WEP or EEP), its main constituents, water-soluble royal jelly (RJ), and an ethanol extract of bee pollen.

Methods

The hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-, superoxide anion (O2·-)-, and hydroxyl radical (HO·)- scavenging capacities of bee products were measured using antioxidant capacity assays that employed the reactive oxygen species (ROS)-sensitive probe 5-(and-6)-chloromethyl-2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate, acetyl ester (CM-H2DCFDA) or aminophenyl fluorescein (APF).

Results

The rank order of antioxidant potencies was as follows: WEP > EEP > pollen, but neither RJ nor 10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid (10-HDA) had any effects. Concerning the main constituents of WEP, the rank order of antioxidant effects was: caffeic acid > artepillin C > drupanin, but neither baccharin nor coumaric acid had any effects. The scavenging effects of caffeic acid were as powerful as those of trolox, but stronger than those of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) or vitamin C.

Conclusion

On the basis of the present assays, propolis is the most powerful antioxidant of all the bee product examined, and its effect may be partly due to the various caffeic acids it contains. Pollen, too, exhibited strong antioxidant effects.