Biology Magazine

Honey Could Help Us Live Longer, Did We Evolve to Need It?

Posted on the 16 June 2015 by Reprieve @EvoAnth
Honey could help us live longer, did we evolve to need it?

Human evolution hasn't always moved in a positive direction for us. Mutations broke our ability to make vitamin C, forcing us to get it from fruit. Our shift to bipedality put pressure on our backs. And worst of all, we lost some awesome prehensile tails. Oh, and we don't make honey. That might not seem that significant, but could it be killing us? Perhaps, as a new study reveals that honey could help you live longer.

The research in question examined Malaysian beekeepers and found that they had longer telomeres than would be expected at their age. Telomeres are segments at the end of each chromosome which help protect it during replication. However, over time they can degrade; something which has been linked to ageing, death and all that nasty stuff.

Still not everybody can become a beekeeper to live longer. Besides, they probably get a lot more fresh air and stuff than the regular person. And my mother always did say that that stuff was good for you. How do they not know that was actually the cause? Or something else they failed to consider? Well, they also went and looked at regular folk who just ate a lot of honey.

And it turns out that they also had longer telomeres than non-honey eaters. What's more, those who ate more bee products had longer telomeres, strongly suggesting that that was what was causing the difference. However, it should be noted that the beekeepers were also included in this phase of the study; suggesting this data might not be as independent as I'd like. What'st more the whole study only examined 60 people. Hardly enough to prove this trend is true.

Oh; and they didn't actually find that people who ate honey would live longer. Simply that they had longer telomeres, which has been associated with living longer. For all this researchers know, the high sugar content of honey could outweight any health benefits gained by eating the stuff. And they were only examining Malaysians; so there's no knowing if these results are applicable to any other populations.

Suddenly all this research starts to seem a lot fishier. There's some underlying flaw at almost every point in the research. Fortunately, the scientists do seem to acknowledge this and it seems like they may be planning a follow-up to address some of these problems.

So hold off on eating a jar of honey a day for the moment.


Nasir et al., 2015. The relationship between telomere length and beekeeping among Malaysians. AGE

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