Fast Facts: Bee Pollen

bee pollen

What’s the buzz (get it?) about bee pollen?

WHAT is it?

  • Bee pollen is the yellow stuff that bee bodies pick up when buzzing from flower to flower (sorry for my unscientific terminology)
  • It contains vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids (wow!) but can also contain bee saliva or body parts (gross! see below on the collection process to better understand)

HOW do you get it?

  • Bee pollen is available at most health food stores. Remember to ALWAYS purchase your supplements from a reputable source – if contaminated, it can definitely be harmful.
  • One tablespoon contains 16 calories. Bee pollen powder can be used in smoothies, yogurt or granola.

DO you need it?

  • Herbalists, especially, have been raving about bee pollen for quite some time now. Is it safe? Can it really help with weight loss while also reducing the risk for certain diseases? That sounds pretty magical, but please read on
  • Research does not fully support added health benefits to bee pollen. I am a woman of science and I like facts. The fact is that the word is still out on bee pollen to promote weight loss and increase your overall health. This is supported by a review in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture from 2016 Click here for abstract
  • Clinical trials (on humans) are everything, and none of the acclaimed benefits of bee pollen have passed in a clinical setting. That includes weight loss, athletic performance, chemotherapy comfort, and treatment for asthma or addiction.
  • There have been studies done on rats for anti-inflammatory benefits, on rabbits for looking at overall health, and rats again for metabolism effects. While these studies are on animals, they do show promise.

NEED to know more?

  • It is important to note that in the bee pollen collection process, little combs are set up in front of the bee’s hive. As the bee crosses through these combs, the pollen is collected and dropped into a bucket below. This means that the bee has to go back out and collect more for the hive. It does make these little hard-workers work even harder and the bees can sustain injuries the process (getting through those combs can be tough).
  • If you have allergies to pollen, steer clear! Consuming bee pollen as a supplement can exacerbate your allergies or cause hives, swelling or anaphylaxis.
  • The FDA warns you to definitely not use certain bee pollen supplements due to a drug found in the pollen Read more here. This drug is probably the reason for the weight loss theory behind bee pollen.
  • If you are pregnant or nursing, steer clear from consuming bee pollen.