Bee Pollen

 

Bee Pollen Introduction

Bee pollen is the actual pollen collected by the honeybee Apis millifera, and is not considered to be a food supplement. Bee pollen is made up of plant pollens, plant nectars, and bee saliva. Bees combine these three substances and pack it into pellets within the hive, where it is then stored for food for the male, or Drone honeybees. [1]

Bee pollen has been used for centuries, dating back to ancient Egyptian and Chinese civilizations. It was often thought of as a rejuvenating medicinal tonic that was effective at fending off disease and prolonging life. It gained popularity as a supplement in Western culture in the 1970’s.

Bee pollen is about 55% carbohydrate, 35% protein, and 10% fat.[2] It also contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals. Bee pollen contains many antioxidants including Vitamin C, Vitamin E, beta-carotene, flavonoids, selenium, and lycopene. It is also high in B- vitamin compounds. [3]

There are many claims regarding the potential benefits of bee pollen, as it continues to be a very popular dietary supplement. However, there have been no research trials that support its traditional, or current day uses. Still, many people use bee pollen based on traditional usage and anecdotal evidence.

Bee Pollen Uses

There are many health claims regarding the benefits of taking bee pollen. Bee pollen is reported to enhance the immune system. This may be a result of the pollen containing anti-oxidants.

Bee pollen is also believed to enhance vitality and improve stamina. It has even been suggested that it can slow the aging process and prolong life. Again, this could be due to its antioxidant properties.

Bee pollen is believed to cure allergies, specifically those to pollens. Some individuals will administer small amounts of bee pollen prior to hay fever, to induce immunity to the usual hay fever symptoms. Bee pollen is also believed to increase strength and improve sexual function. Clearly, more definitive research is necessary to accurately assess bee pollen’s validity as an effective nutritional supplement.

Bee Pollen Contraindications and Dosages

Bee Pollen Contraindications

Bee pollen is theoretically contraindicated in individuals who have an allergy to pollens due to the risk of a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis. Though, some individuals with pollen allergies will use bee pollen to help eliminate allergies. [4]

Bee Pollen Dosages

The typical dosage is 1.0 - 1.5 grams per day, Capsules can be found in dosages of 250, 500, and 1000 milligrams (mg).

Bee Pollen Toxicities

There are no reported toxicities from ingesting large amounts of bee pollen. Long-term use may cause a decrease in memory, headaches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. In one case, bee pollen caused inflammation to the liver.

In individuals with an allergy to pollen, a serious side effect of anaphylaxis can occur that may result in death. Less serious symptoms include itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, hives, and edema.[5]

References

[1] http://www.pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/herbaldrugs/101840.shtml Bee Pollen. December 2004.

[2] Schmidt IO, Btichman SL. The Hive and the Honeybee. Hamilton, IL. Dadant & Sons; 1992: 927-988.

[3] http://www.pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/herbaldrugs/101840.shtml Bee Pollen. December 2004.

[4] http://www.pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/herbaldrugs/101840.shtml Bee Pollen. December 2004.

[5] http://www.pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/herbaldrugs/101840.shtml Bee Pollen. December 2004.

 
 


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