Mānuka honey helps reduce functional dyspepsia symptoms – Comvita study

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Comvita's range of mānuka honey products.
Comvita's range of mānuka honey products.

Related tags Comvita Manuka honey Digestive health

The supplementation of mānuka honey has been shown to reduce symptoms of functional dyspepsia, New Zealand-based mānuka honey maker Comvita announced.

Functional dyspepsia is a type of digestive condition that manifests itself in the form of heartburn, ingestion, bloating, and stomach pain.

The company told us in an interview earlier​ that it was conducting a six-week interventional trial which examined the potential benefits of mānuka honey on people suffering from functional dyspepsia.

The trial ollows the firm’s discovery of LepteridineTM​, a natural compound unique to mānuka honey and has been shown to inhibit metalloproteinase nine (MMP-9). This is an enzyme matrix associated with a host of digestive inflammatory conditions.

Known as The SOOTHE Trial, preliminary results showed that the intervention group had 50 per cent more participants experiencing an improvement in their symptoms, as compared to the placebo.

“In addition, there was also a noticeable dose response, with 71 per cent of subjects treated with the highest dose of Lepteridine™ mānuka Honey reporting more than a 40 per cent improvement in their symptoms,”​ said Dr Jackie Evans, chief science officer, Comvita.

Improvements in their symptoms were measured using the Nepean Dyspepsia Index, which is a questionnaire developed to assess symptom severity and quality of life indices specific to functional dyspepsia.

The trial required the intervention groups to take in either 0.1mg or 0.4mg of Lepteridine™ per 10g of mānuka honey twice per day before morning and dinner.

These two doses are found naturally in manuka honey as the lower and higher dose respectively.

The control group took in a honey flavoured syrup which did not contain active ingredients found in mānuka honey.

During the trial, the participants had to provide faecal samples, blood test sample, and complete questionnaires pertaining to their digestive wellbeing and daily bowel motion.

“This clinical trial, the first of its kind, shows that Lepteridineᵀᴹ mānuka Honey can significantly improve digestive symptom response in people with functional dyspepsia, a common digestive condition with limited effective treatment options characterised by stomach symptoms including heartburn, pain, and discomfort,”​ said Dr Evans who presented the findings at Foodomics 2024.

The researchers were also analysing blood inflammatory markers that may be important outcomes in the studied population, said co-principal investigator, Professor Nicole Roy, research professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago.

“The significant symptom response seen in this trial shows that this is an important outcome and points to the potential of Lepteridine™ mānuka Honey as a promising treatment option for patients suffering from inflammatory digestive conditions,”​ said professor Richard Gearry, Professor of Medicine, University of Otago, and consultant gastroenterologist at Christchurch Hospital, who is one of the trial’s investigators.

The randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, feasibility clinical trial, valued at NZD$1.4m (US$840k), was co-funded by the High-Value Nutrition (HVN) National Science Challenge and Comvita.

The University of Otago and its partners, The Riddet Institute, and The Malaghan Institute of Medical Research conducted the research.

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