Bee pollen has been used for centuries as folk remedies: it has been referred as a sedative, astringent, aphrodisiac, and anti-upset stomach in various crops as early as the 1100s and 1200s. Today bee pollen is heralded as a superfood, with claims that it has anti-aging properties and also that it contains all the nutrients needed for human life. But are these claims too good to be true? Let’s see if bee pollen gets up control.
What is bee pollen?
Before diving into all sorts of benefits of bee pollen consuming, it is helpful to actually understand which bee pollen is. When bees are looking for nectar to make honey, they collect pollen along the way. The byproduct of these pollen, combined with the digestive enzymes bees, is called bee pollen. It is packed by the bees and stored in small balls in the hive and is the main source of protein for the hive.
It is important that bee pollen is not the same as honey, royal jelly, or honeycomb to note, the other by-products of bees are the health benefits can have.
Bee pollen nutritional values
Bee pollen is rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, and trace elements. But to say that it has every nutrient needed for human life is a stretch. The exact amount of nutrients depends on the plants of the pollen, and the protein harvested in bee pollen is more difficult for humans to digest protein from other sources.
Nutritional value also decreases with time after harvest and how it is stored.
Bee pollen and allergies
Another bee pollen claim is that by taking local bee pollen you can expose your body to all the different pollens in the air. Over time, your body will become desensitized to the pollen of the season and your allergies will disappear. However, the FDA has specifically cracked on bee pollen labeling because there is not enough evidence to say that preventing bee pollen is allergies.
In addition, some people are actually allergic to bee pollen. The reactions to bee pollen and bee pollen supplements in those who are allergic can range from mild to fatal, and are wheezing, malaise, rashes, or anaphylaxis. If you are prone to allergies and asthma, you should not experiment with bee pollen.
The Bottom Line about bee pollen and health
Best of all, bee pollen could be an alternative to your daily vitamin, but the evidence is not there yet. All of the immune-related, anticancer claims of bee pollen are centered on vitamins and found in minerals. You can get these vitamins and minerals from multiple sources, not just from bee pollen.