By now, you’re probably already familiar with the importance of honey bees to the world’s agricultural ecosystems. Honey bees pollinate the crops and the plants that wild animals eat, which contribute to our global food production.
But did you know that bees are also helpful to humans in numerous other ways too? Besides honey, royal jelly, honeycomb, and propolis that they produce, which we use in food and beauty products, bee pollen also has some amazing benefits that shouldn’t go unnoticed. Keep reading to learn more about the surprising health benefits of bee pollen!
What is Bee Pollen?
Packed with over 250 biologically active substances, including vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and other nutrients, bee pollen is the culmination of the pollen that foraging honey bees collect from plants, which then gets transported and stored in the beehive as food for the bee colony. It is a combination of pollen from flowers, as well as nectar, enzymes, honey, wax, bee saliva, and bee secretions.
Each bee pollen granule contains approximately*:
- 40% carbs
- 35% protein
- 4–10% water
- 5% fats
- 5–15% other substances (such as vitamins, minerals, antibiotics and antioxidants)
* Depends on the plant source and season collected
How is Bee Pollen Used?
Humans can use bee pollen in a number of ways, including taking it in granule or dietary supplement form, or using it topically in skin care products for diaper rash or eczema.
Researchers in the U.S. are still debating the clinical health effects of bee pollen, but some studies have shown promising results. In fact, the German Federal Board of Health already considers bee pollen a medicine.
Bee pollen granules or supplements are usually available for purchase from health stores, farmers’ markets, or your local beekeeper.
Here are some of the potential health benefits of bee pollen, as supported by scientific research.
10 Benefits of Bee Pollen Supplements
- Provides antioxidant support. Bee pollen contains many antioxidants, such as flavonoids, carotenoids, quercetin, kaempferol ,and glutathione, which all help protect cells from free radical damage, inflammation, and infections.
- May promote muscle mass. One study found that a fresh bee pollen-enriched diet may lead to improved muscle mass, metabolism, and longevity.
- May help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. The antioxidants in bee pollen may protect lipids from oxidation, which protects the heart against “bad” LDL cholesterol.
- Helps the liver remove toxins from blood.
- Protects against inflammation. The plant compounds and the antioxidant quercetin in bee pollen may help protect the body against symptoms of inflammation.
- Supports overall immune system function.
- Provides natural antimicrobial properties. Research suggests that bee pollen extract kills potentially harmful bacteria such as coli.
- May aid the body in wound healing.
- May alleviate several menopausal symptoms, providing sleep and mood support.
- May support the body’s utilization and absorption of nutrients.
Warning: Bee pollen may trigger allergic reactions, such as shortness of breath, hives, and swelling, in people who are sensitive to pollen or bee sting allergies. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and people taking blood thinners such as warfarin should not use bee pollen. Consult with your healthcare provider before using bee pollen.
Try These Bee Pollen Supplements
If you’re looking for bee pollen supplements to try, here are some suggestions. Bee Pollen by Patz Maple & Honey Farms is a 100% whole grain bee pollen supplement that supports a healthy immune system and normal histamine response. Add a few sprinkles to your favorite protein shake, salad, or consume “as is.”
Bee Pollen Plus Energy by Natural Factors contains 300 mg of bee pollen, 150 mg of bee pollen extract, 150 mg of eleuthero root extract, and 75 mg of green tea leaf extract to support energy and endurance.
Have you tried bee pollen supplements? Share your experience in the comments below!