Bee pollen has traditionally been used to treat a wide variety of ailments. Regarded as nutritious food beneficial for overall health, bee pollen has been marketed as a potent supplement packed with vitamins and minerals. But how true is this claim? Is bee pollen really packed with all the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy?
Bee Pollen Health Nutrients
Despite years of researches and clinical studies, scientists are still unable to confirm the health-giving benefits of bee pollen.
Bee pollen does contain a rich concentration of lipids, vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates. Bee pollen should not be confused with other bee products like honey, honeycomb, royal jelly, or bee venom. Bee pollen is harvested from the bodies of bees. Traces of bee pollen are also found in bee saliva.
Bee pollen is often found in most health food stores along with other natural dietary supplements. It’s often used as an ingredient in various skin care products and eczema creams and is a known treatment for diaper rash.
Most herbalists recommend taking bee pollen as treatment for asthma, stomach problems, and even alcoholism. Bee pollen is also widely believed to enhance endurance and improve athletic performance, minimize the ill effects of chemotherapy, and even alleviate common allergies. Some people take bee pollen supplements as part of their general health maintenance.
However, proof of been pollen’s health benefits remains inconclusive in lab tests. So before taking supplements with bee pollen, it’s important to consult your physician first.
Bee Pollen Safety
Taking bee pollen is relatively safe but only if you don’t have pollen allergies. There are cases wherein people allergic to pollen unknowingly took bee pollen supplements. This inevitably led to serious allergic reactions ranging from hives, inflammation and swelling, shortness of breath, and even anaphylaxis.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take bee pollen supplements or food with traces of bee pollen.
In addition, certain types of medication—like warfarin, a blood thinner—should not be taken together with bee pollen as it could cause increased bleeding. So if you are taking any sort of medication, including over-the-counter medicines or even herbal medicines, do not take it together with bee pollen.
Bee Pollen – Is It Better or Worse Than Multivitamins?
Bee pollen’s nutritional value has been a subject of debate for decades but a 2005 analysis by Food Composition and Analysis broke down the content of bee pollen to 7.4% moisture, 20% protein, 6% lipids, 2.2% ash, and “absence of vitamin C and beta-carotene and presence of total carotenoids.”
From the article published by Food Composition and Analysis, it was concluded that bee pollen contains very little nutritional value. As such, it should not be taken as a replacement for multivitamin supplements. Bee pollen doesn’t contain enough health value to cover any nutritional gaps.
Most health companies market bee pollen as a cure-all, anti-cancer, immune-system-enhancing health supplement; but the lack of evidence says otherwise. It’s also geared as an alternative to common vitamins and minerals supplements but so far, there is no proof that bee pollen could replace your multivitamins at all. It’s neither better nor worse than multivitamins.