Bee pollen is a nutrient-dense superfood. It isn’t the same as honey or honeycomb and has its own specific health benefits. Read on to discover the most popular benefits of bee pollen!
But first, let’s explore a little more about how this superfood is made by nature’s busy little bees.
How Is Bee Pollen Made?
Bees flit about, collecting pollen from plants and flowers. Almost everyone knows this. But what happens next is a little fuzzy.
After it’s collected, the pollen is combined with secretions from the salivary glands of bees and then tucked away in little pockets attached to their hind legs.
When the bee returns to the hive, the pollen is deposited into the cells of the honeycomb and covered with a bit of honey and more beeswax. This combination is what feeds the bees.
Most people assume that all pollen is yellow, but it can range in color from bright to dull yellow, or even be brown or black.
Bee pollen is composed of a variety of things, including pollen from flowers, honey, beeswax, nectar, and enzymes.
While many foods contain nutrients, bee pollen contains 250 different nutritious substances. The German Federal Board of Health recognizes bee pollen as medicine because it is so nutritionally dense.
16 Health Benefits of Bee Pollen
Bee pollen is a therapeutic product that is rich in vitamins, flavonoids, lipids, amino acids, and more. Here are the top health benefits of bee pollen.
Rich in Antioxidants That Fight Inflammation
Antioxidants help the body to fight inflammation and damage from free radicals. Bee pollen is a rich source of antioxidants, including glutathione, quercetin, carotenoids, and flavonoids.
Bee pollen contains such potent antioxidants that it has been compared to pharmaceutical medications in its ability to work within the body.
Without protection against free radicals, we are susceptible to oxidizing damage in cells and tissues which can result in chronic disease, autoimmune disorders, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Bee pollen can help to reduce systemic inflammation, decrease infections, and work against the development, growth, and spread of tumors. It has been used therapeutically for people undergoing treatment for cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
Increases Natural Immunity
No one likes to be under the weather, and everyone seems to be looking for the perfect immune-boosting supplement. Bee pollen could be it!
It can help to increase natural immunity that helps to prevent or lessen the severity of cold and flu-like illnesses and other viral infections.
Bee pollen is also antimicrobial and can help to fight off bacterial infections as well as dangerous bacteria like E. coli, staph, and salmonella.
Eases Menopause Discomfort
Menopause can be a long and grueling season for women that involves unpleasant symptoms like hot flashes, headaches, night sweats, mood disturbances, insomnia, and weight gain.
Research shows that bee pollen can help ease certain menopause symptoms, most specifically hot flashes, joint pain, mood, and energy levels. It even showed that bee pollen can help women sleep better when they’re going through menopause.
Fights Cholesterol Problems
Excessively elevated cholesterol can cause problems relating to heart disease—which is still the leading cause of death across the world.
Cholesterol itself isn’t bad, but when you get an extreme imbalance in the body, and the LDL cholesterol becomes oxidized, it can form plaque in the arteries and lead to heart issues.
Bee pollen can help to provide a balance to cholesterol by reducing LDL levels and increasing HDL, also known as the “good” kind of cholesterol.
Because bee pollen is so rich in nutrients it can also help the body to better absorb and use the nutrients it digests. This can help to improve overall cellular health, leading to more healthy years and a longer life.
Bee pollen can also improve muscular function and metabolism.
Helps Wounds Heal Faster
Because of the antioxidant properties of bee pollen, it can help to fight inflammation and oxidation associated with wounds and burns. It works as effectively as certain prescription burn treatments, with less side effects, and can actually speed the time it takes to fully recover.
Because bee pollen also fights bacteria and infections, it can help to cut down on the chances of infection associated with wounds or burns.
Relieves Seasonal Allergies & Other Allergic Reactions
Bee pollen can be used to manage seasonal allergies, such as hay fever or other grass or pollen sensitivities.
Note that bee pollen can in and of itself produce allergic reactions sometimes, so if you are allergic to bees or any other bee product, or pollen, you should consult with your practitioner first before ever attempting to use bee pollen.
If you aren’t allergic to bee products, it’s believed that by ingesting bee pollen, you build your body’s tolerance of pollen and other potential plant-based allergens that the bees may have come in contact with, thereby reducing overall seasonal allergy reactions.
This is only effective if you use local bee pollen since you’re trying to address allergies that are in the area that you live. Bee pollen can also help to slow the activity of mast cells, which release histamine in response to allergenic triggers.
By slowing the ability of these cells to work, the histamine cascade is diminished, resulting in fewer allergy symptoms.
Bee pollen provides such a hefty dose of nutrients that it can help to boost the body’s metabolic function and support the body at a cellular level.
It’s rich in calcium, phosphorous, iron, vitamin C, and flavonoids, all of which directly benefit the thyroid, the regulator of metabolism.
While research needs to further explore the direct result of bee pollen on thyroid hormone levels, because it contains all of the nutrients needed for the thyroid to do its job well, it can indirectly boost thyroid function and overall energy levels.
Boosts Liver Function & Aids In Natural Detox
The liver is the largest internal organ of the body and it has a multitude of tasks: detoxing the body from harmful substances, breaking down hormones, metabolizing alcohol and prescriptions, making vitamin D and cholesterol, and so much more.
Without a healthy liver we can’t be healthy people. Bee pollen can support the liver’s natural function and improve its ability to get toxins out of the body.
Bee pollen can also help to protect the liver from damage thanks to its high levels of antioxidants, and it can also help reverse damage done by toxicity.
Fights Development of Cancer
Cancer happens when cells start to reproduce incorrectly, but bee pollen may be able to interfere with this process. Because bee pollen can stimulate cell death in tumors, it may be able to prevent the development and spread of cancer, particularly in colon and prostate cancer, as well as leukemia.
Bee pollen might also be able to fight estrogen-related cancers, like breast, uterine, and prostate. More research in humans is needed, but bee pollen is a promising future treatment potential.
Combats Side Effects of Stress
Stress, whether it’s situational or long-term, can cause numerous health problems. Bee pollen can help to support the nervous system and improve blood flow to the brain, which can better help you to cope with stress in your life.
As such, bee pollen is one of the few natural stress relievers and can help to increase energy levels while dealing with stressful situations. Even small, irregular doses of bee pollen can help to balance mood and improve energy levels, improving one’s overall outlook on life.
It can also help to relieve some aspects of stress-related pain, such as headaches from tension.
Increases Ability to Lose Weight
Bee pollen can help to improve metabolism and reduce fat in the body by improving the body’s ability to break down stored fat.
Bee pollen is also rich in hundreds of beneficial nutrients, enzymes, amino acids, and more, all of which can help to support healthy nutrition that leads to natural weight loss. While some products made with bee pollen will promise rapid weight loss, these products haven’t been tested or backed by research.
But bee pollen on its own can boost health and help lead to sustainable weight loss, reduced inflammation (which is often associated with obesity), and increased energy, which can promote a more regular desire to exercise or be active.
Improves Vision & Eyesight
While bee pollen is more of a roundabout benefit for eyesight, it can specifically help to ensure that arteries are healthy and unclogged, including those behind the eyes.
When arteries in the eyes are congested, it can result in nearsightedness or other vision problems, but the nutrients in bee pollen can promote balanced cholesterol and healthy arteries, which means proper blood flow to eye vessels.
Helps to Increase Natural Fertility
While there is no single miracle cure for fertility issues, bee pollen can help to boost natural fertility primarily by helping to stimulate ovarian function and ovulation.
It might also be able to improve egg quality, which is vital for a healthy embryo and implantation. Overall, bee pollen may increase odds of pregnancy, but won’t correct other forms of infertility and isn’t a replacement for fertility treatments.
You should always speak to your practitioner before using bee pollen for fertility purposes.
Supports Healthy Bones & Fights Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose density and don’t have access to enough calcium and phosphorous for bone rebuilding. Bee pollen is rich in both of these minerals and may help to nourish bones, keeping them strong and reducing density loss.
While bee pollen won’t replace other nutrient support for osteoporosis, it can boost other protocols and help to reduce more severe bone mineral losses.
Clears Skin & Fights Acne
Raw honey is a popular topical treatment for acne, but pairing it with bee pollen can increase the positive results. Bee pollen can help to soothe irritated, reddened, or otherwise pimple prone skin and can help to revive complexion and skin tone.
When used regularly, it might even be able to help reduce overall acne breakouts.
Is Bee Pollen Safe?
Bee pollen has a substantial amount of benefits, but is it safe for everyone to use? Not necessarily. While it’s nutrient dense and can have some great results, certain people need to be cautious.
Bee pollen should never be taken long-term, and for most people, should be taken for 30 to 60 days and then discontinued for a period.
People who have pollen allergies or bee allergies should not take bee pollen, as the potential for anaphylactic or other severe allergic reactions is there.
It is also possible to have a reaction even if you don’t have a known bee allergy, so always carefully pay attention to any symptoms or side effects, especially rashes, shortness of breath, wheezing, or hives.
Pregnant and lactating women should not take bee pollen, nor should infants or children under age three. Always ask your child’s doctor whether bee pollen is safe for them to ingest.
Do not take bee pollen if you’re on blood thinners or anticoagulants as it might increase bleeding potential.
Bee pollen could interact with other drugs or herbs, so be sure to check with your practitioner for safety.
How to Use Bee Pollen & Where to Buy
If you want to take bee pollen for health benefits, first make sure you’ve checked with your practitioner.
You can purchase bee pollen locally—often at a farmer’s market—which is always ideal, or you can also find it online, at health food stores, and anywhere else that supplements are sold. It can be found in powder form or granules.
If you prefer powdered, you can blend your own granules or mix them into foods. You can also soften granules for use by soaking them in water or warm liquid (milk, tea, juice, etc.) for a few hours and then drinking it.
When taking bee pollen, you can add it to drinks or smoothies, mix with honey and take by mouth, or even use topically.
Aimee McNew, MNT, CNTP, is a certified nutritionist who specializes in women’s health, thyroid problems, infertility, and digestive wellness. She ate her way back to health using a Paleo diet, lost 80 pounds, and had a healthy baby after numerous miscarriages. She focuses on simple nutrition practices that promote long-lasting results.