What are the Benefits and Harms of Bee Pollen?

What is bee pollen?

Bee pollen contains vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids and protein. It comes from pollen collected in the bodies of bees. Bee pollen may also contain bee saliva. It is important not to mix bee pollen with natural honey, honeycomb, bee venom or royal jelly. Although there are mixed products containing one or more of these products, these products do not contain bee pollen.

Is bee pollen safe?

Bee pollen is available at many wellness stores. You can find bee pollen in skin softening products for diaper rash or eczema, as well as in other natural nutritional supplements. You may also hear recommendations for using bee pollen for alcoholism, asthma, allergies, health care or stomach problems, but we have no conclusive evidence that it helps with these conditions. It is always beneficial to consult your doctor before taking any natural product for health conditions. Bee pollen is also often recommended by many people to improve athletic performance, reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, and improve allergies and asthma.

What are the benefits of bee pollen?

Bee pollen is a mixture of flower pollen, nectar, enzymes, honey, wax and bee secretions. Foraging honey bees collect pollen from plants and transport it to the hive where it is stored and used as food for the colony. Bee pollen should not be mixed with other bee products such as honey, royal jelly or honeycomb.

These products may not contain pollen or may contain other substances. Recently, bee pollen has gained attention in the health community as it is loaded with nutrients, amino acids, vitamins, lipids and more than 250 active substances. In fact, the Federal Ministry of Health in Germany recognizes bee pollen as a medicine. Many studies have examined the health effects of bee pollen and have produced promising results.

Here are the benefits of bee pollen backed by science for children and adults:

1- Contains more than 250 items

Bee pollen has always attracted attention for its benefits because it has an impressive nutritional profile. It contains more than 250 biologically active substances, including proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants.

The granules of bee pollen contain approximately:

  • Carbs: 40%
  • Protein: %35
  • Your: %4-10
  • Fats: 5%
  • Other ingredients: 5-15%

The second category includes vitamins, minerals, antibiotics and antioxidants, which are responsible for most of the bee pollen benefits. However, the nutrient content of pollen depends on the plant source collected and the season. For example, studies examining the benefits of bee pollen have shown that bee pollen collected from pine plants has approximately 7% protein, while pollen collected from dates has close to 35% protein. In addition, bee pollen harvested in the spring has a significantly different amino acid composition than pollen collected in the summer.

Summary: Biological substances contained in bee pollen; more than 250, including protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. The exact nutrient composition depends on the plant source collected and the season.

2- It has high antioxidant content

Among the benefits of bee pollen is its high antioxidant content. Bee pollen contains various antioxidants. Among them; flavonoids, carotenoids, quercetin, kaempferol, and glutathione. Antioxidants protect your body against potentially harmful molecules called free radicals. Damage from free radicals is linked to chronic diseases such as cancer and type 2 diabetes .

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Studies on animals and humans examining the benefits of bee pollen have shown that the antioxidants contained in bee pollen can reduce chronic inflammation, eliminate harmful bacteria, fight infections, and fight the growth and spread of tumors. However, the antioxidant content of bee pollen also depends on the plant source.

Summary Bee pollen contains a wide variety of antioxidants that may protect cells from damage caused by free radicals associated with chronic diseases, including cancer and type 2 diabetes.

3- Lowers the risk of heart disease

Bee pollen benefits also improve cardiovascular health. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Both high blood lipids and high cholesterol are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Interestingly, bee pollen can reduce these risk factors.

For example, animal studies examining bee pollen benefits have shown that extracts of bee pollen can lower bad cholesterol levels, especially high cholesterol. In people with myopia caused by occlusion of the arteries, bee pollen improves vision by lowering bad cholesterol levels. In addition, the antioxidants in bee pollen can prevent lipids from being oxidized. When lipids oxidize, they can clump together, constricting blood vessels and increasing the risk of heart disease.

Summary Bee pollen may help lower heart disease risk factors such as bad cholesterol and lipid oxidation.

4- May increase liver function

Bee pollen benefits also contribute to liver health. Your liver is a vital organ that breaks down and removes toxins from your blood. Animal studies have found that bee pollen can increase its detoxification abilities. In older animals, bee pollen increased the antioxidant defense of the liver and removed more waste products such as malondialdehyde and urea from the blood.

Other animal studies examining bee pollen benefits show that bee pollen antioxidants protect the liver against damage from a variety of toxic substances, including drug overdoses. It also supports the healing of the liver. However, very few human studies have evaluated the effects of bee pollen on liver function. More human studies are needed to establish health recommendations.

Summary: Animal studies show that bee pollen may increase liver function and protect this organ from harmful substances. However, more research is needed.

5- It has anti-inflammatory properties

Bee pollen benefits include exhibiting anti-inflammatory properties. Bee pollen has traditionally been used to reduce inflammation and swelling. An animal study examining bee pollen benefits showed that bee pollen extract reduced swelling of rat paws by 75%. In fact, its anti-inflammatory effects have also been compared to several nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as phenylbutazone, indomethacin, analgin, and naproxen.

Bee pollen contains several compounds that can reduce inflammation and swelling, including the antioxidant quercetin, which reduces the production of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids such as arachidonic acid . Moreover, the plant compounds in bee pollen can suppress biological processes that stimulate the production of inflammatory hormones such as tumor necrosis factor.

Summary: According to animal studies, the antioxidants in bee pollen may have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

6- Strengthens the immune system

Bee pollen can help you avoid illness and unwanted reactions by boosting your immune system. Studies have shown that it can reduce the severity and onset of allergies. In one study, bee pollen was shown to significantly reduce the activation of mast cells. When mast cells are activated, they release chemicals that trigger an allergic reaction.

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Also, several test-tube studies examining bee pollen benefits have confirmed that bee pollen has potent antimicrobial properties. The extract of bee pollen has been found to kill potentially harmful bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, as well as those that cause staph infections.

Summary Animal and test-tube studies show that bee pollen antioxidants may reduce the severity and onset of allergies and kill several harmful bacteria.

7- Helps to heal wounds

Bee pollen benefits also support wound healing. Bee pollen has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help heal wounds in your body. For example, animal studies have found that bee pollen extract is similarly effective at treating burn wounds as silver sulfadiazine, which is the gold standard for burn treatment, with far fewer side effects.

Another animal study examining bee pollen benefits showed that applying an ointment containing bee pollen on a burn significantly accelerated healing compared to standard medications. The antimicrobial properties of bee pollen can also prevent infections, a major risk factor for scrapes, cuts, scratches, and burns that can compromise the healing process.

Summary: Bee pollen has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may speed wound healing. Its antimicrobial properties can also prevent wound infections.

8- May have anticancer properties

The most important ingredient among the benefits of bee pollen is that it has anticancer properties. Bee pollen may be useful for treating and preventing cancers that occur when cells multiply abnormally. Test-tube studies have found that extracts of bee pollen may be beneficial for inhibiting tumor growth and stimulating apoptosis (programmed death of cells) in prostate, colon, and leukemic cancers. Bee pollen from Cistus (Cistus incanus L.) and white willow (Salix alba L.) may have antiestrogen properties, which may reduce the risk of breast, prostate and uterine cancers. However, more research is needed.

Summary: While more research is needed, some studies show that bee pollen may lower the risk of several cancers.

9- May reduce the symptoms of menopause

Bee pollen benefits can also reduce menopausal symptoms. Menopause, which means the cessation of menstruation in women, is often accompanied by disturbing symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes and sleep disturbances. Studies show that bee pollen can relieve a variety of menopausal symptoms. In one study, 71% of women felt their menopausal symptoms improved while taking bee pollen.

In another study examining bee pollen benefits, 65% of women who took pollen supplements experienced less hot flashes. These women reported better sleep, less irritability, less joint pain, and better mood and feeling energized. What’s more, a three-month study showed that women who took bee pollen supplements experienced significantly fewer menopausal symptoms. Additionally, these supplements have helped lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol.

Summary: Studies have shown that bee pollen can relieve many menopausal ailments, including hot flashes. It can also improve cholesterol levels.

10- It can accelerate metabolism and promote longevity

Some evidence of bee pollen benefits suggests that bee pollen may improve your body’s use of nutrients. For example, iron-deficient rats absorbed 66% more iron when pollen was added to their diet. This increase is probably due to the fact that the pollen contains vitamin C and bioflavonoids that increase iron absorption. Additionally, healthy mice fed pollen absorbed more calcium and phosphorus from their diets. Pollen contains high-quality proteins and amino acids that can aid in such absorption.

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Other animal studies examining bee pollen benefits have shown that bee pollen can improve muscle growth, boost metabolism, and increase longevity. While animal studies are promising, it is not clear whether all people will experience the same benefits.

Summary: Animal studies have shown that bee pollen may increase the absorption and utilization of nutrients such as iron, calcium, and phosphorus. It may also boost metabolism and promote longevity, but more research is needed to confirm these benefits.

11- Safe for most people

Bee pollen can be in granule or supplement form and is safe for most people. You can easily find it at wellness shops. The granules can be added to your favorite foods such as breakfast or smoothies. However, people with pollen or bee sting allergies should avoid pollen products as they can cause symptoms such as itching, swelling, shortness of breath or anaphylaxis. These products may also interact negatively with blood thinners such as warfarin. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid bee pollen and its products as there is no evidence that they are completely safe for babies.

Summary Bee pollen supplements are generally safe to consume. However, people with pollen or bee sting allergies, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and people taking blood thinners such as warfarin should avoid it.

Are there any bee pollen harm?

We learned what are the benefits of bee pollen . So, are there any downsides? In rare cases, serious allergic reactions, including potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis, have been reported in some people using bee pollen. Symptoms may include itching, swelling, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and severe whole-body reactions.

These reactions occurred with a small amount of bee pollen (ie less than a teaspoon). Most of these case reports involved people known to be allergic to pollen. If you have a pollen allergy, it is very important to be careful and consult your doctor before consuming bee pollen.

How should bee pollen be consumed?

Bee pollen is sold as granules. According to the National Institutes of Health , there isn’t enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for bee pollen.

Alternative health advocates recommend gradually increasing the dose to 1/4 teaspoon, up to 2 tablespoons per day, and recommend watching for symptoms of an adverse reaction, including itching, swelling, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and severe whole-body reactions. Children should start with just a few granules. .

Bee pollen can be sprinkled over cereal, yogurt or oatmeal, added to homemade granola, or mixed into smoothies.

Bee pollen should be stored in a cool, dark place such as a pantry, refrigerator or freezer, and should be kept out of direct sunlight.

As a result

Bee pollen has many benefits. Bee pollen contains many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making it incredibly healthy. Studies have linked bee pollen and its compounds with health benefits such as reduced inflammation, improved immunity, menopausal symptoms, and wound healing.

However, much of the evidence surrounding bee pollen and its ingredients comes from test-tube and animal studies. More human research is needed to clarify the health benefits. All in all, it makes a great addition to your diet and can be easily purchased at wellness shops or from your local beekeeper.

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