Bee pollen is considered by many health experts to be a perfect food due to its high levels of nutrients, vitamins, protein, and amino acids. In fact, bee pollen contains more protein than any other animal source, as well as nearly all the nutrients required by humans for healthy functioning. High in vitamins A, B1, B3, and B12, as well as fatty acids, carbohydrates, trace minerals, and at least 22 amino acids essential for muscle growth, this superfood has numerous health applications.
1. Antibacterial Agent
Studies have shown that substances in bee pollen are effective in fighting certain bacterial and viral infections such as giardia and salmonella. Experiments have shown that although bee pollen is effective in fighting bacteria and viruses, the efficacy of the pollen depends heavily on the variety of flowers from which the pollen was collected. The method of harvest, as well as the moisture content of the pollen, also play a factor in how potent a particular batch of bee pollen will be in fighting off infection.
2. Immunity Booster
Bee pollen contains compounds that aid the body in fighting off infection. High levels of vitamins, antioxidants, and essential minerals give the body a needed boost to ward off infections, and increase immune system functioning. In addition, high levels of antioxidants help repair cellular damage caused by foreign pathogens and other free radicals.
3. Increased Cardiovascular Health
An antioxidant found in bee pollen known as Rutin, has been shown to increase the strength of blood vessels, capillaries, and improve circulation. Bee pollen has proven effective in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, both which contribute to good heart health. In one study, participants who ingested bee pollen experienced an increase in high-desity lipoproteins, and a decrease in low-density lipoproteins, increasing cardiovascular health. Bee pollen has also shown to increase both white and red blood cells, as well as hemoglobin levels in anemic patients. Bee pollen has, however, been linked to an increased risk of heart attack in some individuals. If you currently have a heart condition, speak with your doctor before taking bee pollen.
4. Potential Cancer Fighting Properties
Bee pollen has shown promising results in treating certain forms of cancer. There have been over 20 studies on both men and women with cancer, to determine the efficacy of bee pollen in fighting this common disease. In one recent study of women with uterine cancer, the use of bee pollen in conjunction with chemotherapy showed an increase in hemoglobin levels, antibody production, and a decrease in negative side effects associated with chemotherapy, such as hair loss, nausea, and muscle wasting. The group of women given bee pollen had a significantly greater rate of survival than the women not treated with bee pollen.
5. Allergy Inhibitor
There is some evidence that supports the use of bee pollen to reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies. It is believed that taking bee pollen will help the body build up a resistance to other forms of pollens and allergens. There is conflicting information over the use of bee pollen for this purpose, however, as some people have reported an allergic reaction to bee pollen, while others have reported the pollen to be ineffective in treating their allergies. Bee pollen is most effective for allergies when taken at least 6 weeks prior to allergy season.
6. Energy and Strength Enhancement
The British Sports Council reported that athletes using bee pollen experienced a significant increase in strength during training. The council also reported that athletes experienced an increase in body height, a claim that has yet to be verified through clinical research. Many athletes take bee pollen to increase athletic performance and endurance due to the high levels of nutrients and vitamins.
7. Weight Management
Bee pollen has commonly been used for weight control and weight management. It is believed that the pollen stimulates the metabolic process, speeding up digestion. In addition, bee pollen contains phenylalanine, an amino acid involved in appetite control. Phenylalanine effects your appestat, the control center in your brain responsible for letting you know when you are hungry and when you are full. It is believed that by taking bee pollen regularly, you can curb your appetite, helping to keep weight under control.
Bee pollen has proven to be effective in increasing health in a myriad of ways. The suggested daily dosage of bee pollen is 400-500mg a day. However, it is always recommended to start with a lower dose in order to see how your body reacts. Caution should be used if you have an allergy to bees or pollen. Serious allergic reactions have been associated with ingesting bee pollen, and it is crucial to speak with your doctor before taking bee pollen if you have a known allergy to pollen.
Amazingly, bee pollen cannot be replicated in the laboratory. Even when scientists were able to create an exact chemical match to pollen, bees fed this synthetic mixture did not survive. This goes to show that some things are best left to mother nature.