Bee honey and exercise for improving physical performance, reducing fatigue, and promoting an active lifestyle during COVID-19

Sports Med Health Sci. 2021 Sep;3(3):177-180. doi: 10.1016/j.smhs.2021.06.002. Epub 2021 Jun 25.


An active lifestyle has enormous health benefits. However, physical activity has globally decreased since the beginning of the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak because of social distancing measures. Older adults and people with age-related diseases (e.g., diabetes, obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disorders, etc.) are widely affected by COVID-19 and its grave adverse effects because of their baseline poor immune function. Although they are in intense need for the therapeutic benefits of exercise, they may express a low capacity for exercising due to skeletal muscle dysfunction and low motivation. Honey is a natural energy-rich, low glycemic index food with a variety of biological activities. It is reported to correct muscle pathology in diseased conditions. Because skeletal muscle is the key structure involved in the exercise, we explored the literature for the exercise-promoting potential of natural honey. Bee honey improves physical performance at moderate levels of activity, and it reduces the production of inflammatory cytokines and biomarkers of fatigue following strenuous exercise among athletes. Supplementing ischemic heart disease patients with honey combined with floral pollen improved patients' tolerance for physical loads and corrected metabolic dysfunctions. Therefore, the therapeutic use of honey may have implications for increasing the capacity for exercise in aged and diseased individuals. Soundly designed studies are needed to evaluate such possibilities.

Keywords: Aging; Bee honey; Coronavirus disease 2019/COVID-19; Fatigue; Non-compliance; Physical activity; Skeletal muscle.