Bee pollen is a natural mixture of pollen, nectar, bee secretions, enzymes, honey, and wax that is used as a dietary supplement. It is promoted as a superfood by natural health professionals due to its nutrient-rich profile, which includes tocopherol, niacin, thiamine, biotin, folate, polyphenols, carotenoid pigments, phytosterols, enzymes, and coenzymes.
It is widely available in the form of dietary supplements that are used for the following health conditions:
Additionally, bee pollen is believed to increase energy, sharpen memory, slow down the aging process, promote weight loss, and improve athletic performance.
What is bee pollen used for?
To date, the scientific data on the health effects of bee pollen is quite limited. However, there is some evidence that bee pollen can provide specific benefits. Here are some of the main findings of the available research:
One of the most common uses for bee pollen is to treat seasonal allergies like hay fever. Eating pollen is believed to help the body develop resistance to these potential allergens and, in turn, reduce allergy symptoms.
While very few studies have tested the use of bee pollen as a remedy for seasonal allergies, some animal studies suggest that bee pollen may have anti-allergic effects.
A 2008 mouse study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that bee pollen can inhibit the activity of mast cells, a class of cells involved in releasing histamine in response to allergens and, as a consequence, causing symptoms related to allergy.
While bee pollen holds promise for treating seasonal allergies, there is not enough human research to support its use as an allergy treatment.
Bee pollen can help lower high cholesterol levels. Two animal studies, one published in the journal Nutrients in 2017 and another published in the journal Molecules in 2018, showed that bee pollen reduces LDL and total cholesterol levels.
However, human studies are needed to confirm these results before bee pollen can be recommended for lowering cholesterol levels.
Several animal studies show that bee pollen hay helps protect the liver from damage and may even help repair liver damage caused by alcohol and drug use.
A 2013 study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that bee pollen promotes the healing of liver cells and protects against damage with fewer side effects than milk thistle.
Bee pollen shows promise for treating osteoporosis, according to an animal study published in 2012 .
In tests on rats, the study authors determined that bee pollen can help increase calcium and phosphate levels in bones and protect against bone loss associated with osteoporosis.
Possible side effects.
Serious allergic reactions to bee pollen, including life-threatening anaphylaxis, have been reported. Symptoms can include itching, swelling, shortness of breath, dizziness, and severe reactions throughout the body.
These reactions occurred with a small amount of bee pollen (that is, less than a teaspoon). Most of these case histories involved people with a known pollen allergy. If you are allergic to pollen, it is imperative to be careful and consult your doctor before consuming bee pollen.
Taking bee pollen with warfarin (Coumadin) can increase the chance of bruising or bleeding.
Dosage and preparation
Alternative health advocates recommend starting with 1/4 teaspoon, gradually increasing to 2 tablespoons per day, and keeping an eye out for side effects including itching, swelling, shortness of breath, dizziness, and severe reactions throughout the body. Children should start with a few granules.
Bee pollen can be sprinkled with cereal, yogurt, or oatmeal, added to homemade muesli, or mixed with smoothies.
Store bee pollen in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry, refrigerator, or freezer, out of direct sunlight.
What to look for
Bee pollen supplements, widely available for purchase online, are sold in many health food stores, drug stores, and supplement stores.
Look for foods that are completely natural, without additives that have not been heated or dried that can destroy your enzymes.
Get the word of drug information
If you are considering using bee pollen to treat ailments, consult your doctor first. Treating a disease on your own and avoiding or delaying standard treatment can have serious consequences.
Frequently asked questions
There is no recommended dosage, but it is recommended that you start with a small amount to ensure you are not allergic to it. You can start with 1/4 teaspoon and gradually increase up to 2 tablespoons per day.
While individual tastes vary, bee pollen generally tastes sweet and floral, but can be slightly bitter. Its texture is dusty.
No. If you are allergic to bees, do not eat bee pollen, as this can cause serious side effects, including anaphylaxis.
Beekeepers collect pollen using pollen traps in their hives. Returning bees to the hive pass through a metal or plastic net. Some of the pollen from their legs is scraped off when they come out and ends up in a collection tray.