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Bee Pollen Health Benefits

  2010-04-18
 

Honeybee Pollen is known for its high level of vitamins, many nutrition benefits, and is said to improve energy, increase exercise stamina, and boost weight loss and immunity. Though it contains trace amounts of minerals and vitamins and is very high in protein and carbohydrates, bee pollen is not found in the everyday diet. The benefits of bee pollen have been known since ancient times, being used by the Chinese, the Egyptians, the Romans and the Greeks.Bee Pollen Nutrition Facts

Every flowering plant in the world produces pollen – the male seed that trees, shrubs, bushes and herbs need in order to reproduce themselves. Bees and other insects collect pollen and nectar as they fly from blossom to blossom, and in the process they pollinate hundreds of plants that could not survive without them, even as the pollen is used by the hive for food.

It is considered one of nature's most completely nourishing foods, containing amongst other things:

  • up to 40% protein
  • free amino acids (protein building blocks)
  • B vitamins which provide energy
  • minerals and trace elements
  • vitamins C, E, carotenes and other antioxidants
  • an "antibiotic factor" which inhibits the growth of bacteria like salmonella
  • fibre which may regulate digestion

As honey bees carry pollen, it is compressed into granules or grains with a combination of honey, nectar, enzymes and other ingredients that are impossible to recreate artificially. Bees fed laboratory-synthesized pollen granules, instead of their own collected pollen, don't survive for long – there seems to be some missing element in bee pollen that scientists haven't been able to duplicate.


Bee Pollen Health Benefits

Used as a tonic and an energy supplement in Chinese medicine and in other traditional medicines around the world, bee pollen is said to strengthen immunity and boost metabolism, providing energy and helping with weight loss. Bee pollen is used in health supplements for exercise stamina and energy reserves, to boost libido, and for recovery after illness or stress.  Research has also shown Bee pollen supplements can help you control stress in your life and athletes have used bee pollen for centuries to increase their energy and endurance.

Bee pollen has been studied for its effects on cholesterol and cancer. In one study, the growth of tumours in mice was slowed by adding bee pollen to their food, while another study showed that women being treated with chemotherapy for uterine cancer experienced a faster recovery and fewer chemo side effects with bee pollen.

Some doctors warn against giving bee pollen to people who experience allergies or hay fever, while others recommend bee pollen as an allergy and asthma cure.


Bee Pollen in Vitamins and Supplements

Bee pollen is widely used for its nutrition benefits, and can be found in many foods and supplements. Quality is very important to those looking to buy bee pollen, because contamination with heavy metals, pesticides, or fungi is a serious concern.

The FDA considers bee pollen a food, rather than a supplement, and medical or therapeutic claims about its effects are not permitted. Despite these issues and restrictions, the popularity of honey bee pollen as a nutritional booster is undeniable, and it's easy to find it sold in most health food stores.


Possible Side Effects and Safety Concerns

Some serious allergic reactions to bee pollen have been reported. Most of these case reports were with people with known allergies to pollen. These reactions occurred with small amounts of bee pollen, less than one teaspoon. Caution should also be exercised by people with a known allergy to bee stings.