Propolis, a compound that honeybees use to seal their hives, may be the secret to working through heat stress, according to an article in the Journal of Food Science. It turns out that honeybee propolis, or bee glue, has an active ingredient known as caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), which is an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Hyperthermia, or heat stress, is considered to be the underlying cause of early fatigue and dehydration during prolonged exercise in hot conditions. In fact, hyperthermia and free radical generation are related to exercise-induced physical damage.
“CAPE rescued cells from hyperthermia-induced cell death,” says lead researcher Yu-Jen Chen of the Chinese Culture University in Taiwan. “This implies that CAPE might not only promote athletic performance but also prevent injury secondary to endurance-exercise-induced hyperthermia.” If you’re training in higher temps or if you’re preparing for an event that will test your physical temperature boundaries (and you’re not allergic to bee products), pick up some propolis today.