I love bee pollen. I use it in my green smoothies all the time. Bee pollen has one of the most complex nutritional profiles around, making it one of the strongest of the so-called “Superfoods.” Bee pollen has a unique combination of high powered vitamins, minerals and proteins that make it an excellent supplement to your diet to boost your immune system and support your body’s natural rejuvenation process. It also has several other properties that make the health benefits of bee pollen a worthwhile consideration for adding to your skin care routine.
There is one caution though; people who are allergic to bee stings should not take bee pollen without first consulting their allergist. “A rare but serious allergic reaction to bee pollen can cause drastic blood pressure changes, along with life-threatening complications.” Consult your doctor before using bee pollen. (more info on risks)
Is it honey?
Bee pollen is not honey. It is formed by the pollen of the flowers becoming granulated in the sticky coating on a bee’s leg. As they fly from flower to flower, they accumulate this coating of pollen before returning to the hive. The pollen is then used to feed the young in the hive. Bee pollen is how bees collect the raw ingredients that are then converted into honey.
Is it the same as Royal Jelly?
Bee pollen is not the same as Royal Jelly, another bee product that has amazing health benefits. There is a bit of controversy over the use of Royal Jelly because of the way it is gathered. With bee pollen, the substance is on the outside of the bee’s legs, and gathering it from the bee causes the bee no harm or stress. Royal Jelly is secreted by the bee as a special, high powered nutrient for their young. In order to harvest Royal Jelly, the bee is subjected to intense physical stress. For many people, this makes Royal Jelly an unethical product to use for health and beauty needs. It is also why there is such a large price difference between the pollen and the jelly.
How is Bee Pollen used?
Bee pollen is most often found in an oral supplement form. Taken daily, it provides you with a high dose of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, folic acid, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium, protein and several amino acids. It can also be used as an ingredient in a topical gel or balm. It can appear in many different colors, being influenced by the season and type of flowers the bees have gathered the pollen from.
Why should I take it?
There is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that taking a regular bee pollen supplement can help reduce cholesterol levels, increase your energy and promote good blood sugar stabilization. It is also being seen as a stress reducing supplement and mood enhancer as the vitamins B, D and E all help with mood stabilization. The high protein, amino acid and potassium in the bee pollen help the body’s cells to naturally repair themselves as well.
As a topical salve, the same unique vitamins, minerals, proteins and amino acids can also help to rejuvenate the skin, hair and nails as well. People swear by bee pollen to return shine to hair and to reduce brittle nails.
Bee Pollen and Allergies
As mentioned at the beginning, people who are allergic to bee stings shouldn’t take bee pollen without consulting their allergist. If you are not sure if you are allergic to bees, ask your doctor or take a very small does while having an Epi pen or allergy medicine on hand to handle any potential reactions.
With the warnings out of the way, what may surprise you is that the allergist may prescribe small doses of bee pollen to you if you are allergic to bee stings. Over the course of treatment, the dosage will increase. In some cases, this exposure to bee pollen can help to reduce the severity of an allergic reaction to a bee sting because the body gets the time it needs to build the immune systems resistance to the substance.
For people with seasonal allergies, the same reasoning applies. When we say that the “pollen count is high” it would be more accurate to say that the “bee pollen count is too high.” Consistent exposure to small doses of bee pollen can often reduce the effect of seasonal allergies.