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POLLEN

What is bee pollen?
Bee pollen exist in flowers as reproductive system. By visiting flower to flower bees facilitate this reproduction or "polinization". Bees make balls of pollen when they land on a flower. Itís a mixture of pollen, saliva, and nectar or honey. Bees carry these balls back to the hive in sacs on their legs and store them in the hiveís honeycomb. The pollen then ferments into ďbee bread,Ē which feeds a bee colony. Beekeepers collect pollen from bees by keeping a thick comb in the entrance of their hives. When bees pass through it, it knocks the pollen off their legs into a collection bin below. The bees then must go out to collect more pollen.

What are the benefits of bee pollen?
Bee pollen is considered so beneficial that the German Federal Board of Health recognizes it as medicine. Advocates are quick to tout the benefits of this so-called superfood, saying it can:

Relieve inflammation
Work as an antioxidant
Boost liver health
Strengthen the immune system
Work as a dietary supplement
Ease symptoms of menopause
Reduce stress
Speed up healing

Nutrition facts
Bee pollen in its natural form comes as small, crunchy pellets. One tablespoon of bee pollen contains:

16 calories
0.24 grams of fat
1.2 grams of protein
2.18 grams of carbohydrates
250 types of nutrients, including vitamins and flavonoids
You can add it to foods like yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies. It can be ground down as a supplement powder or into a capsule.
Recommended dosage
Adult 20-40 g or 3-5 tbsp. per day
Children 15 g or 1-2 tbsp. per day
If you take it in capsule form, be sure to read the label to ensure youíre taking the appropriate dose.

What the research says
In recent years, a number of scientists have published studies on the supposed health benefits of bee pollen. However, these studies are mostly on animals and have yet to be proven on humans.

Hereís what the research says about bee pollen benefits:

Relieving inflammation
Bee pollen may work similarly to anti-inflammatory drugs, according to researchers. In one studyTrusted Source on rats, scientists found that bee pollen extract reduced inflammation in rats with swollen paws. ResearchTrusted Source on mice showed bee pollen had anti-inflammatory effects when used to treat their liver disease.

Working as an antioxidant
ResearchersTrusted Source have found that bee pollen has very high antioxidant properties similar to those of fermented foods. Antioxidants are naturally occurring chemicals that exist in plant-based foods, usually those that are red or dark in color, as well as fermented foods.

Some common antioxidants include:

Flavenols (found in chocolate)
Resveratrol (found in wine)
Lycopene (found in tomatoes)
Vitamins A, C, and E
Antioxidants keep people healthy by counteracting oxidants such as air pollution and cigarette smoke that can damage the body.

Boosting liver health
The liver is responsible for filtering toxins out of the body. ResearchersTrusted Source found that in rats, bee pollen helps keep the liver healthy and can even help the healing process after liver damage.

Researchers noted that the rats had no side effects in taking bee pollen, compared to silibinin, a medication that also contains antioxidants but can also cause harm.

Strengthening the immune system
A strong immune system is necessary for fighting off disease and keeping you healthy. One studyTrusted Source found that bee pollen naturally inhibits allergic reactions in mice. Another studyTrusted Source suggests that bee pollen has antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. These properties could help kill off bacteria and viruses, such as staphylococcus aureus, which causes food poisoning.

Working as a dietary supplement
Bee pollen could potentially work as a supplement that helps your diet and health. One studyTrusted Source looked at rabbits that received a bee pollen supplement in addition to their regular diet. They had a longer lifespan and also greater reproductive success. They gave birth to healthier, stronger babies compared to rabbits who didnít take the supplement.

Another studyTrusted Source found that malnourished, old rats experienced improved muscle mass and metabolism after eating a diet that contained bee pollen.

Easing symptoms of menopause
Many women who take antihormonal medications often experience symptoms of menopause. One studyTrusted Source found that some women with breast cancer who took a bee pollen supplement experienced fewer, less intense menopause symptoms than those who didnít.

Reducing stress
Bee pollen can increase blood flow to the bodyís nervous system, helping reduce stress. Itís also effective for tiredness, according to a review of bee pollenTrusted Source.

Speeding healing
ResearchTrusted Source shows that bee pollen can be used on the skin to speed healing, as it boosts blood circulation, kills bacteria, and moistens the skin.

What are the side effects of bee pollen?
Always buy your supplements from a reputable source. Itís possible to buy tainted bee pollen that contains potentially dangerous ingredients reported to cause serious side effectsTrusted Source, including increased heart rate, cardiac arrest, and even death.

Talk to a doctor before taking any supplements or herbs. Additionally, if youíre allergic to bee stings or wasps, you should avoid bee pollen. Discontinue the supplement immediately if you experience:
Itching
Swelling
Lightheadedness
Trouble breathing

Experts also recommend that pregnant women avoid taking bee pollen, as it may interfere with pregnancy.

Takeaway
For most people, bee pollen appears to be a safe dietary supplement. There are many claims about its health benefits, but most of the science has been done on animals and cells, not people. Be sure to buy bee pollen from a trusted source. Talk to your doctor about any health concerns you may have before taking bee pollen. While itís not guaranteed that bee pollen will help you, it probably wonít hurt you either.


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