Vitality

Bee Pollen Health Benefits And Potential Risks You Need To Know

You have probably seen bee pollen on local medicine shops as well as online stores and social media. Commonly used in Asian medicine for centuries, bee pollen is as old as beekeeping itself. If you are curious about these tiny gold-yellow granules, then here are the health benefits and potential risks of bee pollen that you need to know.

What Is Bee Pollen?

According to the Natural Medicines Database, bee pollen is a mix of bee saliva, nectar and plant pollen that collects on worker bees' hind legs. The bees bring back the mixture to their hives on their bodies and then pack the pollen into honeycomb cells before it undergoes fermentation.

Bee pollen's composition varies depending on the plant source and even region because bee pollen comes from various plants such as buckwheat and maize. Though different from bee venom or honey, it is a form of apitherapy, a type of alternative therapy focusing on honeybee-sourced products. Various literature has found that up to 50 percent of bee pollen contains complex carbohydrates, in addition to lipids, protein, vitamin C, carotenoids and various phytochemicals and flavonoids.

Benefits

  • Decreased Inflammation - Bee pollen is thought to have significant anti-inflammatory properties because it contains several nutrients and antioxidants. A review article published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine said that it works by inhibiting the activity of enzymes that promote the development of inflammatory processes.
  • Ease Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) - Early research looked at the effects of a product made from a combination of royal jelly, pistil extract and bee pollen on PMS symptoms. Its findings suggested reduction of irritability and weight gain, among other symptoms. Although bee pollen may help alleviate PMS symptoms, more research is needed to fully understand its effects.
  • Boosts Immunity - Bee pollen is suggested by animal studies to be capable of promoting immune response of the spleen and also stimulating immune organ development.
  • Promotes Wound Immunity - Bee pollen is thought to have antibacterial properties that aid in promoting regeneration of damaged tissues. An ointment containing bee pollen extract is suggested by animal research to speed up time for healing burn wounds.
  • Improves Longevity - Certain animal studies found that bee pollen can lengthen the lifespan of experimental animals. 
  • Other Benefits - Though research is lacking at this time, bee pollen has other purported benefits, including improved weight loss and athletic performance.

Risks

  • Allergic Reaction - Bee pollen and its supplements can cause an allergic reaction if you are allergic to pollen (especially from dandelion, sunflower and other plants from the Asteraceae family).
  • Increases Risk Of Bleeding - According to the Natural Medicines Database, bee pollen has a moderate interaction with the blood thinner Coumadin (also known as Warfarin). This can increase risk of bleeding so talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before taking bee pollen if you are using Coumadin or any other blood thinner.
  • Affects Pregnancy And Breastfeeding - Since bee pollen may have uterine stimulant effects, it is best to avoid if you are pregnant, and discuss with your doctor before taking if you are breastfeeding.

bee pollen Bee pollen has health benefits and potential risks that you need to know. beepollenhub / Flickr

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