What are its benefits?
Bee pollen has been shown to stimulate the growth of important probiotic bacteria in our gut:
- Bee pollen was able to dramatically enhance the growth of beneficial bacteria (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium animalis, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidobacterium animalis spp. lactis).
- Additional research has shown that bee pollen is antibacterial against the pathogen Staphylococcus aureus.
- One study looking for possible ways to address the toxin-producing bacteria in the gut that cause bowel problems in autistic patients studied bee pollen and propolis as prebiotics. It concluded that these prebiotic treatments showed ameliorative effects, and together with probiotic supplements, may be effective to revive healthy digestive system function in these patients.
Furthermore, bee pollen has been used in traditional medicine for hundreds of years. Many modern studies point to its antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiatherosclerotic, antidiabetic, and immune-boosting activities, in addition to its nutritional benefits. For example:
- Antioxidative effects (inactivation of oxygen radicals) of bee pollen may be due to the activity of its enzymes as well as its secondary plant metabolites, such as phenolic substances, carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin E, and glutathione. It has been shown that flavonoids (phenols) present in bee pollen can scavenge free radicals, thereby preventing them from becoming mutagens.
- Evidence suggests that pollen compounds (e.g., polyphenols or flavonoids) may exert beneficial effects on the body’s “defense” cells (such as macrophages and T cells), which play an important role in inflammatory processes and against invading pathogens. This anti-inflammatory action may result from the activity of quercetin, which indirectly reduces the level of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and provides an anti-inflammatory effect.
What is it?
Bees collect pollen – the male reproductive cells of flowers – while they’re searching for nectar and then moisten the pollen with their secretions, so pollen gathered from bees contains digestive enzymes from the bee’s saliva.
Pollen is rich in vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes, carbohydrates, and amino acids. In addition to the micronutrients, bee pollen contains plant phenolics, unsaturated fatty acids, and lipids. Its exact makeup varies, due to the flowers from which it was collected, the season, and the habitat.
- Why Bee Products Are Great for the Gut Microbiome
- Therapeutic Properties of Bioactive Compounds from Different Honeybee Products – Effects of Royal Jelly and Bee Pollen on the Growth of Selected Probiotic Bacteria
- Biological and therapeutic properties of bee pollen: a review
- Simulated Digestion and Fermentation in Vitro by Human Gut Microbiota of Polysaccharides from Bee Collected Pollen of Chinese Wolfberry
- Ameliorative effect of probiotics (including Lactobacillus paracaseii) and prebiotics (including bee pollen) on oxidative stress and altered gut microbiota in a rodent model of autism