News from CRIS: Trending - Bee Pollen

March 21, 2022

What is bee pollen?

Bee pollen, sometimes called "bee bread" or "ambrosia," is the pellet-shaped food bees use to feed their hive. It contains pollen from many plants, nectar, and honey bee enzymes secreted by salivary glands (1,2).

It contains high concentrations of nutrients, including biologically active micronutrients like minerals, polyphenols, and vitamins, making it valuable as a nutritional source for humans.

Humans have consumed bee pollen as a food, dietary supplement, and (folk) medicine for thousands of years (1).

Is all bee pollen the same?

No, bee pollen varies significantly in composition and nutrient content based on the region the bee pollen was collected, the ecological habitat, and the season (1).

The bees' location also determines what, if any, contaminants may be present in the bee pollen.

What is it used for?

Bee pollen is a food people often use as a dietary supplement to help improve human health.

Due to bee pollen's composition, researchers have looked at bee pollen's potential to impact our health in six ways (1,2):

  • Anti-allergenic: improve seasonal and other allergies
  • Anti-atherosclerotic: reduce cardiovascular disease risk
  • Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal: reduce bacteria and fungi's ability to reproduce
  • Anti-carcinogenic: reduce cancer risk
  • Anti-inflammatory: reduce inflammation 
  • Anti-oxidative: slow damage to cells caused by free radicals 

In theory, bee pollen contains the correct nutrients and micronutrients (like minerals, polyphenols, flavonoids, vitamins, etc.) to help improve our health. However, it's yet to be proven clinically, so it cannot be used or prescribed as a regulated, therapeutic medication (1).

Can it treat health conditions?

While bee pollen contains many nutrients and micronutrients known to aid in human health, bee pollen has not been shown in clinical studies to cure or significantly improve specific medical conditions. Therefore, it's not regulated as medication and should not be used to treat medical conditions (1).

You can buy and use bee pollen as a nutritional or dietary supplement.

If you have a medical condition that you think bee pollen may improve, it's best to work with your physician before starting any dietary supplements, including bee pollen.


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