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Health Benefits of Bee Pollen - Everything You Need to Know

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Bee pollen is a mixture of pollen from the plants and the secretions of the honeybee. It has excellent health and medicinal properties.

Written by

Dr. Parul Anand

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop

Published At December 8, 2022
Reviewed AtMarch 22, 2023

Introduction

Many bee products have been used in medicines since ancient times by various civilizations. It is readily available and can be collected from the hives using traps. It has many benefits against human diseases, therefore, is used as supplementary nutrition in diets. It contains many vital nutrients such as proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates. It also contains trace elements, and some polyphenols like flavonoids are present in the bee pollen. The chemical composition of bee pollen is affected by factors such as atmospheric conditions, the nature of the soil, geographical location, and the behavior of the bees.

What Are the Components of Bee Pollen?

Bee pollen contains metabolites like proteins, amino acids, enzymes, carbohydrates, lipids, fatty acids, vitamins, phenolic compounds, and bio elements.

  • Amino acids such as tryptophan, leucine, lysine, threonine, histidine, isoleucine, methionine, phenylalanine, and valine are present in the bee pollen. These vital amino acids do not get synthesized in the human body. These are essential in gene expression, cell signaling pathways, and nutrient absorption. Nucleic acids are present in the form of ribonucleic acid in abundant amounts.

  • Carbohydrates are present in reducing sugars such as glucose and fructose.

  • Lipids, namely archaic linoleic acids, phospholipids, and phytosterols, are present.

  • Phenolic compounds found in the pollen are leukotrienes, catechins, chlorogenic acid, and flavonoids.

  • Fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin E, vitamin D, and pro-vitamin A are present, and water-soluble vitamins like vitamins B1, B2, B6, and C constitute bee pollen.

  • Bio elements are available in the two categories as macro elements like sodium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. The other category is microelements, as zinc, copper, iron, and selenium is present in bee pollen.

How Does Bee Pollen Affect Human Health?

Metabolic syndrome disorders are diseases responsible for increasing the hazards of cardiovascular diseases, strokes, and diabetes. These cause an increase in the levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides and lead to hyperglycemia and extra visceral fats. The primary method to treat and prevent such diseases is healthy eating. The main components of a diet include low trans fats, balanced carbohydrates, and fibers, along with bee pollen as a natural supplement that helps in the protection of metabolic syndrome diseases. The following are the effects of bee pollen :

  • Effect on Blood Sugar- Polysaccharides are broken into glucose with the help of intestinal enzymes like amylase and glucosidase. This glucose is then transported into the body cells, and these enzymes are responsible for changing the activity of glucose. These enzymes can induce glycemic control but show side effects like liver disorders, flatulence, abdominal pain, and renal tumors. Therefore, natural inhibitors like bee pollen should be used to maintain blood glucose.

  • Testicular Dysfunction- Diabetic males have shown the symptoms of testicular dysfunction, impotence, and decreased fertility. The administration of bee pollen improves this diabetic-induced dysfunction as it increases the levels of glutathione-S-transferase (GST), superoxide dismutase (SOT), and glutathione (GSH). Studies have shown that bee pollen improves the process of spermatogenesis, featured by an increase in spermatids, spermatogonia, spermatocytes, and Sertoli cells.

  • Obesity- The common disease associated with obesity is the nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD). This disorder occurs due to fat accumulation in the hepatic cells. Studies have shown that phenolic compounds help elevate the absorption of nutrients and lipid metabolism and thus support weight loss. Bee pollen has an abundance of phenolic compounds, due to which obesity and other secondary health complications can be reduced.

  • Effects on Cardiac Health- In patients suffering from myocardial infarction, one of the most effective methods to prevent cardiac damage and myocardial dysfunction is antioxidant therapy. Studies were conducted on Schisandra Chinensis bee pollen extract (SCBPE), and it was found that there was a production of nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor ( Nrf-2), heme oxygenase-1, and B- cell lymphoma in the heart after administering the increased dose of SCBPE.

  • Atherosclerosis- Antioxidant metabolites like polyphenols and flavonoids reduce the growth of atherosclerotic plaques. It is an inflammatory process caused due to oxidation in arteries supported by increased serum levels, oxidative stress, and blood clotting due to disturbance induced by renin-angiotensin-aldosterone systems.

  • Decrease in Uric Acid- As per the studies, dietary intake of bee pollen in the dose of 6.25- 7.5 g proves to be an excellent supplement to prevent hyperuricemia. It is due to antioxidant activity and the inhibitory effect of xanthine oxidase. Xanthine oxidase is the critical factor for the production of uric acid.

  • Effects of Toxins- Due to the presence of antioxidant compounds in bee pollen significantly impact harmful toxins by suppressing free radicals. A broad-spectrum carbamate insecticide, propoxur (2- isopropoxyphenyl methylcarbamate), acts against pests present in the foods. This insecticide is useful against several insects like bugs, millipedes, fleas, ants, cockroaches, etc.

Fluorine toxicity is also reduced by bee pollen as it increases antioxidant functions. Fluorosis occurs due to the intake of an excessive dose of fluoride in contaminated water, food, and dental materials. Levels of urea, sodium, potassium and alkaline phosphatase are also decreased, thus leading to an increase in total magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus levels.

  • Effect on Bone Metabolism - Studies prove that oral administration of bee pollen soluble in water leads to an increase in diaphyseal and metaphyseal tissues. Thus an anabolic effect of bee pollen is seen on the components of bone.

Another metabolite of bee pollen is vitamin D which helps in maintaining calcium homeostasis by increasing the absorption of intestinal calcium.

  • Functional Food- Functional food is food that provides additional disease prevention and improvement in health by using one or more food components or by enhancing the relativity between the used products. These foods reduce the risk of various chronic diseases. These have many physiological advantages and play an important role in the daily diet.

  • Additional Functions- Bee pollen also helps in

    • Maintaining ovarian functions.

    • Promoting intestinal absorption.

    • As an immunostimulating agent.

    • As an anti-allergic agent.

What Are the Contraindications of Bee Pollen?

Bee pollen should not be consumed in pregnancy, lactation, children and also in individuals on anticoagulant medications. People with pollen allergies would be prone to developing serious allergic reactions, anaphylaxis, hives etc on consuming bee pollen.

Conclusion

Bee pollen plays an important role in food processing industries because of its high health value. The supplements can be used in the form of pills, tablets, capsules, and powders. This bee pollen helps in preventing and treating chronic diseases like metabolic disorders, diabetes, obesity, hyper dyslipidemia, and other heart complications. Consumption of bee pollen for a longer time leads to an increase in blood circulation, improving immunity, delaying aging, and enhancing physical and mental activities. But researchers are required to study the biomedical interactions and metabolic pathways justifying the bioactivity of bee pollen so as to control body functions and prevent diseases.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

What Is the Daily Recommended Dose of Bee Pollen Intake?

The daily recommended dose of bee pollen intake is as follows:
 - 20 to 40 grams or three to five tablespoons in adults.
 - 15 grams or one to two tablespoons in children.

2.

How Long Does Bee Pollen Take To Work?

The time taken for bee pollen to work varies from person to person. Generally, bee pollen starts working within four to six weeks of intake.

3.

Can Bee Pollen Be Considered a Superfood?

Yes, bee pollen is a superfood as it has nutritional benefits exceeding almost all other foods consumed. The benefits of bee pollen are as follows:
 - Boost liver health.
 - Relieve inflammation.
 - Antioxidant properties.
 - Boosts immunity.
 - Fastens healing.
 - Reduces stress.
 - Functions as a dietary supplement.

4.

What Are the Vitamins Present in Bee Pollen?

The vitamins present in bee pollen are as follows:
 1) Fat-soluble vitamins
   - Vitamin E.
   - Vitamin D.
   - Provitamin A.
 2) Water-soluble vitamins
   - Vitamin B1.
   - Vitamin B2.
   - Vitamin B6.
   - Vitamin C.

5.

Can Bee Pollen Detoxify the Body?

Yes, bee pollen can detoxify the body as it contains antioxidant compounds that act against harmful toxins by suppressing free radicals. Bee pollen also improves the liver's functioning, a vital organ that removes toxins from the blood.

6.

Is Bee Pollen Beneficial for Sleep?

Yes, bee pollen helps with better sleep by reducing irritability, anxiety, tiredness, and stress. It also improves energy and mood.

7.

Can Bee Pollen Be Consumed on an Empty Stomach?

Yes, bee pollen can be consumed on an empty stomach. As bee pollen is not a drug, it can be consumed at any time of the day or night.

8.

Does Bee Pollen Contain Vitamin B12?

Even though bee pollen contains vitamin B complexes, it does not contain vitamin B12. However, certain studies suggest that bee pollen from certain plant sources contains small amounts of vitamin B12.

9.

What Are the Ways to Consume Bee Pollen?

Bee pollen granules can be consumed after three to four hours of soaking. They can also be consumed by grinding the granules into powder and mixing them with honey, smoothies, or yogurts. Adding as a topping on salads or cereals and having it in the form of supplements are the other ways of consuming bee pollen.

10.

Does Bee Pollen Contain Estrogen?

No. Bee pollen has anti-estrogen properties that reduce the risk of prostate, uterine, and breast cancers. Bee pollen also decreases the symptoms of menopause by suppressing estrogen production.

11.

Is Bee Pollen Beneficial for the Heart?

Yes, bee pollen is beneficial for the heart as it reduces cholesterol levels in patients who do not respond to cholesterol-lowering drugs and who have active heart disease. Bee pollen also prevents harmful blood clots and improves blood flow, decreasing the risk of stroke and heart disease.

12.

What Are the Benefits of Bee Pollen for the Liver?

The benefits of bee pollen for the liver are as follows:
 - Boosts liver health.
 - Helps in the healing process following liver damage.
 - Boosts the antioxidant properties of the liver by removing more waste products from the blood.
Protects the liver from damage caused by toxic substances, including drug overdose.

13.

Can Bee Pollen Replace Multivitamins?

Bee pollen is a dietary supplement that consists of all the nutrients the human body requires. Hence bee pollen acts as a protein source and natural multivitamin.

14.

How Does Bee Pollen Affect Blood Pressure?

Bee pollen helps reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure by stopping the functioning of inflammatory pathways that lead to hypertension.

15.

Can Bee Pollen Be Used as a Source of Energy?

Yes, bee pollen is a source of energy as it is rich in proteins and vitamins. Bee pollen also stimulates metabolism and increases red blood cells, increasing energy.

16.

Does Bee Pollen Act as a Probiotic?

Bee pollen can stimulate the growth of probiotic bacteria in the gut. Hence bee pollen acts both as a prebiotic and probiotic.
Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop
Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop

Dentistry

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