Pollen is found in flowering plants. Bees collect pollen while they’re searching for nectar. Pollen can be gathered from bees. It can also be harvested from plants by machines. Bee pollen contains the male reproductive cells (gametes) of flowers. It also contains digestive enzymes from bees.
Pollen is rich in vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes, and amino acids. It’s also an excellent source of antioxidants. Its exact composition varies. This depends on the plant source from which the pollen was obtained. The protein in bee pollen has decreased digestibility compared with other sources of protein.
Medically valid uses
There are no well-established uses for bee pollen. Although many claims are made for pollen, there are no solid studies that support these claims.
Please note that this section reports on claims that have not yet been substantiated through scientific studies.
Most of the claims made for bee pollen are unsubstantiated. Many healthcare providers feel that the benefits of using bee pollen don’t outweigh its risks.
However, people use bee pollen for many reasons. These can include helping symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia and inflammation of the prostate (chronic prostatitis). It’s also used to ease allergies and protect the liver from effects of some toxins. Bee pollen is also claimed to lower cholesterol, reduce hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), improve metabolism, and increase hormone levels. It may also improve stamina and sexual strength, reduce depression, and ease bleeding problems.
There is no optimal dosage for bee pollen. It’s best to take only a small amount at first. This way, you can test it out in case you have a reaction.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their healthcare providers before taking any supplements.
Side effects, toxicity, and interactions
Some people may be allergic to bee pollen when it’s taken by mouth. Allergic reactions range from mild to fatal. Symptoms can include wheezing, discomfort, and a rash. In rare cases, a severe allergic reaction can happen. This is called anaphylaxis. People who have allergies or asthma should not use bee pollen.
There are no known food or drug interactions to bee pollen.
The nature of bee pollen depends on the flower where it came from. Carbohydrate and protein content can vary from one species to another. Pollen taken from plants growing in areas with environmental contamination may be affected by the toxins in that area. This is especially true for heavy metal contamination.
March 21, 2017
Poulson, Brittany, RD,Wilkins, Joanna, R.D., C.D.