Bee pollen is collected by honeybees from plants along with nectar. Bee pollen also contains bee enzymes, bee saliva, nectar and other debris of the bees like wings, legs etc.
This pollen falls off from the legs of the bees as they enter the hive through specially made traps set there by the beekeepers.
The pollen is collected in trays and cleared of debris before being converted into supplements or sold as raw bee pollen.
The benefits of bee pollen were known as far back as the days of the ancient Chinese and Egyptians.
Nutrients in Bee Pollen
Bee pollen is rich in vitamins C, D, F, E, K, H, folic acid, rutin, and all the B vitamins except for B12, pro-vitamin A, choline and inositol.
It contains a wide range of minerals like copper, iodine, calcium, phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chlorine, selenium, molybdenum, silica, boron, zinc, sulfur, titanium and iron.
Bee pollen comprises around 18 vitamins, 22 amino acids, 59 trace elements, 25 minerals, 11 carbohydrates and 11 enzymes.
About 25% of the total composition of bee pollen is made up of proteins, which is more than what is found in a high protein meat like beef. Lecithin and carotenes are also present in bee pollen.
Consuming bee pollen daily can be a complete nutritional supplement for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
Health benefits of Bee Pollen
The following are some of the benefits of bee pollen.
Energy Booster: Bee pollen is widely eaten to provide extra energy.
Since it is rich in B-vitamins, it can help with metabolizing carbohydrates into energy. 55% of bee pollen is comprised of carbohydrates and this easily breaks down into glucose and provides energy.
Glucose is the energy source for the brain and helps improve concentration, alertness and cognition.
The high levels of protein found in bee pollen are converted into amino acids and this is used to build muscles and other body tissues.
Since it provides great benefits as an energy booster, bee pollen is promoted for use by athletes for it is said to increase endurance, strength and speed and help them recover quickly from tough and long training sessions.
Antioxidant: Bee pollen is rich in vitamins A, C and E which are all anti-oxidants. The work of anti-oxidants is to get rid of free radicals and other harmful toxins from the body.
If these free radicals remain, they can cause a range of health problems like tissue deterioration, cardiovascular diseases, immune system problems and quicken the aging process.
Propolis contained in bee pollen has anti-microbial properties.
Vitamins C and E help by killing harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi and improve cell production. Hence, bee pollen is considered a powerful anti-oxidant.
Enhances Alertness: Bee pollen is said to relieve brain fatigue in those involved in stressful mental work. It improves powers of concentration and helps people work for long hours without their brain and body getting tired.
Benefits to Immune system: Bee pollen benefits the immune system by getting rid of toxic materials and poisons from the body.
Helps in Calorie burning: Bee pollen contains lecithin that increases the rate at which the body burns calories. This can stabilize poor metabolism rates.
Sexual function: When bee is taken with kelp (seaweed) it increases blood pressure rates. This in turn raises hormone levels and improves sexual functioning.
Benefits in Infections: Propolis is a resin found in tree leaves and barks and an ingredient in bee pollen.
Propolis is used to protect hives by sealing the entrance and preventing outside contaminants from entering it.
Bee propolis helps to fight infections for it has anti-bacterial properties and boosts the immune system.
It is referred to as ‘Nature’s Penicillin’ for it can fight bacteria that are resistant to conventional antibiotics. It also does not produce the side effects that conventional produce.
Allergens: Bee pollen is said to help build resistance to certain allergies – especially the sensitivity to pollen, which many people suffer from. Just like how vaccinations are administered to protect people from diseases. B
ee pollen does have the same ingredients which trigger allergies. It is believed that by taking small doses of bee pollen, those who are sensitive to such allergies can develop resistance.
However, this must be given very carefully for the body can react very adversely if the wrong dosage is given.
Weight loss : Since bee pollen is rich in nutrients like vitamins, amino acids, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates etc., it is promoted as a weight loss supplement.
It is claimed that bee pollen improves metabolism and speeds up the process of converting glucose to energy.
Lecithin, another nutrient found in bee pollen can increase the pace at which calories get burned.
These help to improve assimilation of nutrients and digestion.
Many personal testimonials are available about the benefits of bee pollen in promoting weight loss.
Always buy a supplement from a well-established brand, follow the dosage instruction and use bee pollen in any food like cereals, fruit juices, smoothies and such.
Multiple sclerosis : MS is an autoimmune disease that affects the spinal cord and brain. It is a very serious condition that results in damage to the myelin sheath which surrounds nerve cells. This is an attack on the nervous system.
Today, several bee products like bee venom and bee pollen are used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
Lecithin is said to help repair and synthesize the myelin sheath and therefore could slow down the progression of MS symptoms.
Pregnancy : Pregnant and breastfeeding women are generally advised not to taken bee pollen or any other herbal supplements for there is not much research into their benefits for them.
However, bee pollen can be used externally by pregnant women to heal unsightly stretch marks on the belly. There are many creams and oils for the skin which contain bee pollen.
One of these has a mixture of comfrey, elderflower and bee pollen in sweet almond and olive oil is believed to help in expanding the skin on the stomach and therefore avoid formation of stretch marks.
Bee pollen also helps reduce blood pressure levels and hence can improve stress levels in pregnant women. Nursing mothers are usually advised not to consume bee pollen as it can affect their babies.
Cancer : While there is no strong scientific evidence about the benefits of bee pollen for cancer, certain nutrients and ingredients found in it can benefit those with certain types of cancer.
For example, bee propolis found in bee pollen is said to help kill prostate cancer cells. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and hence fights against bacteria, viruses and fungi that attack the body. Hence, it can be used to treat cancer sores.
Laboratory studies on rats found that bee pollen did delay the onset of mammary tumors.
Another study found that when women with uterine cancer were given bee pollen, they suffered less from the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy.
Prostate : The prostate is the male reproductive gland and there are many problems that affect this gland like prostatis, enlarged prostate and prostate cancer.
Bee pollen does improve symptoms of chronic prostatis and benign prostatic hyperplasia or enlarged prostate.
Bee pollen is also said to help in the treatment of prostate cancer. When it was introduced in-vitro into the prostate, it caused the cancer cells to self-destruct.
Hence, it offers a natural remedy to treat prostate cancer apart from conventional medications.
Propolis is also said to help kill prostate cancer cells and also plays a significant role in chemoprevention and has very good anti-microbial and anti-cancer properties.
Other benefits of bee pollen
Bee pollen is also said to benefit the following medical conditions:
- Inflammatory conditions
- Lower cholesterol levels and triglycerides
- Scar formation
- Heal post-operative wounds
Possible Side effects of Bee Pollen
Bee pollen is usually safe unless a person is prone to allergies like asthma, hay fever etc. Anyone who suffers from honey, bee venom or bee sting allergies, allergies to plant pollen like ragweed or chrysanthemum must avoid bee pollen products.
Otherwise, they can suffer from allergic symptoms like difficulty breathing, redness, hives, itching and these can lead to anaphylactic shock if left untreated.
Those who are at risk of liver diseases, blood disorders or allergic asthma must consult their doctor before taking bee pollen. Bee pollen is often promoted to treat allergies.
When done so, you must exercise extreme caution for this could actually lead to worsening of the allergic symptoms. Bee pollen normally does not react to any other foods, drugs or supplements.
However, inform your doctor about all the medications you are taking before starting bee pollen. Pregnant and breastfeeding women and children are usually advised not to take bee pollen since there is not much evidence about its safety.
There is no specific dosage for bee pollen and it usually depends on the age, health and other factors of the user. While bee pollen is rich in many nutrients, caution must be exercised when taking it.
Always make sure you buy good quality products from reliable sources and read the dosage instructions on the label before taking bee pollen.
Benefits of bee pollen are varied and for those who do not suffer from side effects, this can provide an excellent source of complete nutrition.