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The Wonderful Benefits of Bee Venom on RA

You may recall a number of stories I've posted about bee venom as an alternative protocol with which to treat Lyme disease. In fact, Lyme disease is similar to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in many ways. This link probably has much to do with conventional doctors joining with holistic practitioners over the years to explore the potential of bee venom for treating a wide variety of conditions from acute tendonitis to RA.

Although previous research has established the anti-arthritic effects of bee venom, much about the way it worked had been a mystery. That is, until recent work by a team of South Korean researchers who investigated the molecular mechanisms behind bee venom's therapeutic impact on RA and, specifically, melittin, a major component of bee venom and a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.

In the first phase of their experiments, scientists discovered treatment with bee venom at very low doses resulted in dramatic reductions of tissue swelling and osteophyte formation on affected paws of rats with advanced RA. Researchers examined the anti-inflammatory effects of bee venom on synovial cells -- cells lining the joints -- obtained from human RA patients in a second phase focusing on melittin, bee venom's principal peptide.

Melittin's power to block the expression of inflammatory genes, scientists said, is much like COX-2 inhibitor drugs used to treat RA. And it works to effectively to reduce inflammation by inhibiting critical DNA binding activity which directly controls a number of genes involved in immune reactions.

Thus, Melittin's targeted inactivation of inflammation may hold the key to the anti-arthritic effects of bee venom.

EurekAlert November 4, 2004

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