Pollen is the male gametes of flowers found in the stamen and which is used to propagate new plants. When honeybees gather honey, they go from flower to flower.
During their journey, they walk all over the flower and the pollen gets stuck to their hairy legs. The pollen forms into tiny pellets held together by plant nectar and enzymes secreted by the bees.
This is called bee pollen and it is collected and sold by beekeepers.
The beekeepers keep special devices at the foot of the hives and as the bees walk into the entrance, the pollen gets brushed off their legs and falls into the traps.
Bee pollen is different from plant or flower pollen extracts. While the source is the same, raw bee pollen contains both the outer shell and the full pollen grain.
Flower pollen extracts on the other hand contain only the inside nutrients. The nutritive substance that bees collect combines with enzymes and is used to make royal jelly and honey apart from bee pollen.
Bee pollen has been used as a dietary supplement for hundreds of years. Over the centuries, it has been dubbed as ‘ambrosia of the gods’, ‘fountain of youth’, ‘superfood’ etc.
Those who promote bee pollen as a food supplement say that it can be used to treat a wide range of illnesses like those that affect the immune system, aid in weight loss, help in easing allergic symptoms, improve sexual functioning, improve stamina and energy levels, and prolong life by slowing down the aging process.
Nutritional value of bee pollen
Here are some details on the nutritional value of bee pollen. Bee pollen is extremely nutrient dense and contains the best natural food source of vitamins. It also contains 25% proteins and is low in sodium and fat.
The following is the nutritional composition of pure bee pollen. It contains vitamins such as Provitamin A, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, pyridoxine, Pantothenic acid, vitamin D, E, K, H, folic acid, rutin, inositol and choline.
The minerals found in bee pollen include phosphorous, calcium, potassium, iodine, zinc, copper,
sodium, sulfur, magnesium, chlorine, manganese, selenium, molybdenum, silica, boron and titanium.
Overall, bee pollen has at least 18 vitamins, 22 amino acids, 25 minerals, 59 trace elements, 25% protein, 11 carbohydrates, 14 fatty acids and 11 enzymes.
It is very high in carotenes and contains 50% more proteins than beef with very minimal fat.
Hence, it can be an excellent vegetarian protein food sources for it has more amino acids than dairy products, meats and eggs. Cooked meats, vegetables and fruits lose their enzymes since they are exposed to heat. Bee pollen on the other hand, retains all its nutrients when consumed raw.
Even the best multivitamins do not have the superior nutrient content of bee pollen.
As we see, bee pollen contains a vitamin called rutin it is the richest source of this vitamin and many nutritionists suggest taking bee pollen at least for the benefits that rutin provides. Rutin helps with strengthening capillaries.
For any food source to be considered good, it must exceed at least 10% DV (Recommended Daily Value). 1 tbsp bee pollen gives 13% DV of copper and vitamin C.
Vitamin C is necessary for collagen production, wound healing and helps with proper functioning of the immune system.
Copper is considered an essential trace mineral and is needed for optimal functioning of the cardiovascular and skeletal systems and is also needed for collage production and to absorb and release iron.
A serving of 1 tsp bee pollen gives 16 calories, 1 oz provides 89 calories and 100g gives 314 calories. The calorie breakdown for 1tsp bee pollen is 55% from carbohydrates, 31% from protein and 14% form fat.
Best way to have bee pollen
Bee pollen is available as tablets, gelatin capsules and raw granules in health food stores. Any form of bee pollen takes around 2 hours to get absorbed by the body and enter the bloodstream.
Tablets and capsules usually contain 500-1000mg bee pollen. Raw granules are sold by the pound or ounce while capsules and tablets are sold in bottles, each normally containing 100 count.
It is usually recommended that you start with a small dose and slowly increase it, if you do not display any allergic symptoms.
As a preventive medicine, you can start on 1/8th to ¼ tsp granules and increase it to 1-2 tsp taken 1-3 times daily. The increase should take place over a month.
For therapeutic purposes the dosage for short-term consumption is usually 3/8-3/4 tsp to begin and increasing to 3-6 tsp, 1-3 times daily. If you are taking capsules or tablets, for a preventive dosage take 450-580mg 3-4 times daily and thrice that dosage if bee pollen is being taken for therapeutic purposes.
Bee pollen products are available as salve, cream, liquid or tincture. These products are used to treat skin conditions like bruises or open sores and wounds.
Never heat bee pollen for it will lose its effectiveness.
Those who are allergic to bee products or bee sting must not take bee pollen for it can cause severe allergic reactions. If uncertain, always start using a few granules, watch for reaction and slowly increase the dose.
There are no known adverse reactions of bee pollen with other supplements or drugs. Always consult your doctor before starting a new supplement.