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Bee Pollen - Superfood or Poison?

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  • Bee Pollen - Superfood or Poison?

    I was gleefully offered Bee Pollen by a friend last week with the declaration of it's "Superfood" status,
    as the bowl was brought closer to me I could feel my gut slaming all the doors and ramping up the defenses.
    Out of politeness I nibbled a few grains, but the whole thing just doesn't sit right with me.

    From Wiki:
    Bee pollen (or bee bread or a pollen ball) is a mass of pollen that has been packed by worker honeybees into granules with added honey or nectar. Incomplete larval development of bees occurs on them.[1] They are found in brood cells. Brood cells are chambers of wood and mud, and are created by female ground-nesting bees.[2] When the pollen ball is complete, a single female lays an egg on top of the pollen ball, and seals the brood cell.[3] The balls are harvested as food for humans.

    [edit] Production

    Foraging bees bring pollen back to the hive and pass it off to another worker bee. This bee will pack the pollen into a cell with her head. During the packing, the pollen is mixed with nectar, enzymes, fungi, and bacteria, organisms that transform the pollen into bee pollen. The resulting material is higher in nutrition than the untreated pollen. Bee pollen is the primary source of protein for the hive.[4]

    Like royal jelly, honey, and propolis, other well-known honey bee products, the exact chemical composition of pollen gathered depends on which plants the worker bees are gathering the pollen from, and can vary from hour to hour, day to day, week to week, colony to colony, even in the same apiary, and no two samples of bee pollen will be exactly identical. Accordingly, chemical and nutritional analyses of bee pollen apply only to the specific samples being tested, and cannot be extrapolated to samples gathered in other places or other times. Although there is no specific chemical composition, the average composition has been said to be 55% carbohydrates, 35% proteins, 3% minerals and vitamins, 2% fatty acids, and 5% of diverse other components.[5]

    A recent study of samples of bee pollen showed they may contain 188 kinds of fungi and 29 kinds of bacteria.[6] Bee pollen is sometimes referred to as ambrosia.[7]

    Bee pollen is used in naturopathic medicine traditions and as a nutritional supplement, although exposure may trigger allergic or anaphylactic reactions in sensitive people.[8]
    All those complex proteins, fungi, bacteria, allergens just don't feel right.
    There aren't any real studies around, the internet is just littered with unsubstantiated claims by Bee Pollen Vendors.

    Anyone seen any real info on this product?
    "There are no short cuts to enlightenment, the journey is the destination, you have to walk this path alone"

  • #2
    I'm sure Mark has done an "Ask Mark" on bee pollen. I'm pretty sure he said it was primal but not a super food. Can't find the post though. I know he would say get local pollen if you do.
    Ancestral Health Info - My blog about Primal and the general ancestral health movement. Site just remodeled using HTML5/CSS3 instead of Wordpress.

    My MDA Friday success story - Stubborn Senior's Testimonial


    • #3
      I once read that pollen (especially pine pollen) has some properties that mimic testosterone... Can't remember the source of that fact though. =\

      You can't really have "bee pollen" in the way that all bee pollen = the same in nutritional qualities though. The qualities of the pollen will change based on the plant it is sourced from. That means there is conceivable potential that certain "bee pollens" collected from certain plants are outstandingly groom for us to consume while the "bee pollen" from other plant sources may not be so good for us to consume.

      It's similar to the difference in varietals of honey. Some are pure sugar while other types do have a few antioxidants and trace minerals because of the plant the pollen was gathered from.


      Mark says "royal jelly" (made from bee pollen) is primal but NOT a "superfood."
      Last edited by Drumroll; 04-09-2013, 11:33 PM.
      "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."


      • #4
        Every time I hear the key phrase "super food" I cringe a little. I don't think it'll kill you but nothing is a magic pill. I don't think there are any scientific studies showing any benefits to taking it, and Joseph Mercola supports it as a superfood, which is enough for me to run away screaming from the idea of eating bee pollen.
        F 28/5'4/100 lbs

        "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."


        • #5
          Robb Wolf answered a question on bee and pine pollen recently Low Hemoglobin - Paleo Solution Episode 165

          Damiana, whenever I hear the word 'superfood', I always think of the Karen Pendergrass quote 'Wheatgrass is only a superfood if you're a cow'.


          • #6
            I remember them selling this stuff in the backs of my Mom's crazy health food fanatic magazines when I was a kid. If it was a miracle food, we'd know by know.


            • #7
              All I can say is how my body reacts. Bee pollen gives me the most awful heartburn ever. I simply cannot eat it.
              High Weight: 225
              Weight at start of Primal: 189
              Current Weight: 174
              Goal Weight: 130

              Primal Start Date: 11/26/2012


              • #8
                I like it. I put it in my coconut milk yogurt and sometimes in tea. I get it from a beekeeper who sells raw, unfiltered honey and other bee products. Superfood or not, I think it's pretty tasty.


                • #9
                  I'm pretty sure he said it was primal but not a super food.