Pollen is got from plants. Honeybees collect them involuntarily as they fly among flowers collecting honey and bring it back to their hives.
This bee pollen is packed into tiny dust pellets held together by bee saliva and plant nectar.
Once the health benefits of bee pollen was discovered, beekeepers started setting traps at the foot of the hives and the bee pollen was gathered in trays. This bee pollen was then made into tablets, capsules, liquid or sold as raw granules.
Bee pollen is a rich source of concentrated proteins, carbohydrates, fats, trace vitamins, minerals, all the B-vitamins except B-12, amino acids and enzymes.
Bee pollen has been used for various conditions like enlarged prostate, PMS and to boost energy.
Few studies have proved the actual benefits of this supplement although small studies have demonstrated its benefits for prostates and other prostate problems, as a therapy for cancer by reducing some of radiation therapy’s side effects, to slow aging, help with allergic symptoms and such.
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Bee pollen for children
Bee pollen is sometimes considered as an herbal remedy for children and adults. However, it can create severe allergic reactions and anyone with known or suspected allergies must not be given bee pollen.
If children are to be given bee pollen, first perform the skin prick test or prick-by-prick test with all allergens like bee pollen, dust mites, local pollens, animal dander and common fungi. The bee pollen composition will be analyzed and other tests done of the local pollen and bee venom extracts.
When such tests were carried out, the prick tests came positive for local pollen and bee pollen extracts but came up negative for all other allergens. Hence, it was concluded that foods or supplements that contain bee pollen is unsafe for children or adults who have allergies.
There is some evidence that propolis which is an ingredient that combines beeswax and bee pollen is said to provide relief for ear infection in children. However, this again can produce allergies, hence check with your pediatrician before giving your child any bee pollen product.
In Poland and France, doctors include bee pollen in the diet of anemic children and found some improvement in their blood analysis. It is also considered an excellent food supplement to help growing teens and children for it is a rich source of natural foods.
Bee Pollen Dose for Children
There is no set dosage for bee pollen. The daily dose can be mentioned on the labels of the products.
Adults are advised to take 1-3 tablespoons daily of bee pollen for asthma and allergic symptoms. Children between 2-6 years can be given 1/3rd an adults dose, children between 6-12 years can take ½ of an adult’s dose and all children over the age of 12 can take an adult’s dose (the lower end, i.e., 1 tbsp).
Always perform an allergy test with tiny doses of bee pollen to check for any reactions before taking the actual dosage. Even if you administer your children the right dosage, it is important to keep watching them for signs of allergies for in rare cases, although they may tolerate it initially, reactions can occur after a certain dosage threshold has been crossed.
Inform your doctor that you are giving your kids bee pollen.
Precautions while giving Bee Pollen to children
Test for bee pollen allergies before giving them to children. If your child demonstrates even the slightest allergy, you must discontinue the product immediately.
Allergic reactions include redness, itching, hives, shortness of breath, swelling and in extreme cases it can lead to anaphylactic shock. If children suffer from any medical conditions or have allergic asthma, blood or liver disorders bee pollen must not be given.
Since there is lack of evidence about the safety of using bee pollen, doctors usually advises parents not to give them to children. Similarly, pregnant and breastfeeding women must also avoid bee pollen supplements.
Another reason why bee pollen is not recommended for children is that you will not know if the supplement is contaminated by fertilizers or pesticides.
While children over 2 years can be given bee pollen, it is important to check the source of the product before administering it.