Top 8 Bee Pollen Benefits from Dr. Axe

Did you know that bee pollen contains almost all of the nutrients required by the human body to thrive? That’s why the German Federal Board of Health has officially recognized it as a medicine.
Bee pollen is wonderful for natural allergy relief and is responsible for the many health benefits of raw honey. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, lipids and fatty acids, enzymes, carotenoids and bioflavonoids — making it an antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral agent that strengthens the capillaries, reduces inflammation, stimulates the immune system and lowers cholesterol levels naturally.

In fact, bee pollen contains more protein than any animal source and more amino acids than equal weight of eggs or beef … and those are just some of the top bee pollen benefits.

Top 8 Bee Pollen Benefits 

1. Reduces Inflammation
The anti-inflammatory activity of bee pollen has been compared to drugs, such as naproxen, analgin, phenylbutazone and indomethacin. Researchers suggest that it can be used in acute and chronic inflammatory conditions, initial degenerative conditions, and liver disease or toxicity. A 2010 study published in Pharmaceutical Biology found that honeybee pollen displayed significant anti-inflammatory activities when given to mice with acetaminophen-induced liver necrosis. (2)

Another study conducted in 2010 investigated the anti-inflammatory effect of bee pollen bulk, its water extract and its ethanol extract by a method of carrageenan-induced paw edema in rats. The results indicate the bulk mildly suppressed the paw edema while the water extract showed almost no inhibitory activity. The ethanol extract showed potent anti-inflammatory activity, and researchers suggest that it can used as a dietary supplement and as a functional food. (3)

2. Acts as an Antioxidant
Recent studies have revealed that enzymatic hydrolysates from bee pollen are beneficial for patients undergoing various diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and hypertension. The antioxidant properties were measured in a 2005 study, and researchers found that it has remarkable antioxidant activity. They witnessed high scavenging activities against active oxidative stress. Researchers even suggested that the inhibitory activities of bee pollen were similar to those found in fermented foods, such as natto, miso, cheese and vinegar. (4)

3. Protects Against Liver Toxicity
One 2013 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that chestnut bee pollen protects hepatocytes from the oxidative stress and promotes the healing of liver damage caused by toxicity. Rats with carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage were separated into two groups — one group took two different concentrations of chestnut bee pollen orally (200–400 milligrams per kilogram a day), and one group was given silibinin, a medication that contains flavonoids.
The researchers detected that both treatments reversed the liver damage, but silibinin caused significant weight loss and death due to severe diarrhea when given to rats. These findings suggest that bee pollen is a safe alternative to the silibinin in the treatment of liver injuries and can be part of a liver cleanse. (5)

4. Boosts the Immune System
Bee pollen has antimicrobial and antiviral properties. A 2014 study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology evaluated the biological actives of eight commercial bee pollen purchased from the market. All of the samples exhibited antimicrobial activity. Staphylococcus aureus was the most sensitive to bee pollen, and candida glabrata was the most resistant. (6)

Bee pollen may also be a natural allergy fighter. A 2008 study conducted in Japan investigated the effect of bee pollen on mast cell activation, which plays a central role in various allergic diseases. The researchers performed in vivo and in vitro experiments and found that bee pollen does have anti-allergic action because of its ability to inhibit the activation of mast cells, which plays an important role in the early and late phases of allergic reactions. (7)

5. Serves as a Dietary Supplement

Animal studies suggest that bee pollen can be used as a valuable dietary supplement. Studies have proved that mice and rats fed with pollen showed a higher vitamin C and magnesium content in the thymus, heart muscle and skeletal muscles. They also had a higher hemoglobin content and greater number of red blood cells after pollen consumption. Bee pollen has actually lengthened the life span of experimental animals.

An interesting study published in the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition evaluated the effects of bee pollen on 40 New Zealand white rabbits. The rabbits were equally divided among four groups that received the same commercial diet. Each group was given a water solution containing no bee pollen or 100, 200 or 300 milligrams of bee pollen per kilogram of body weight. The female rabbits were mated with non-treated male rabbits from October to February and May to September.

For each season, 80 weaned rabbits originated from the females of the control group, and they were divided into the same four groups to begin treatment. Bee pollen treatment for the female rabbits at 200 milligrams significantly increased body weight, conception rate, milk yield and litter size. It also improved biochemical profiles of blood. The same dose of bee pollen also significantly increased the growth of baby rabbits and their survival rate until weaning. Similar bee pollen benefits were displayed in a 1994 study that involved pregnant rats and fetal growth. (89)

These animal studies suggest that bee pollen has a high nutritional value and works as a supplement for animals with nutritional deficiencies. Researchers suggest that it can be helpful when given to children who have a lack of appetite or experience a developmental delay. It may also help malnourished children and adults, especially before and after surgery, when recovering from an addiction to alcohol, or when they’re under physical or mental stress.

6. Relieves Menopausal Symptoms

A 2015 study conducted in Germany found that both honey and bee pollen honey improved menopausal complaints in breast cancer patients on antihormonal treatment. Over two-thirds of the patients who completed the study reported an improvement in their symptoms.

Researchers suggest that bee pollen and honey may be offered to women who have failed to respond to other alternatives to cope with postmenopausal symptoms. They also note that the flavonoids found in honey and pollen have been found to prevent breast cancer, supporting the use of these products in women with menopause symptoms and problems with or without a history of breast cancer. (10)

7. Helps Relieve Stress 

Because of bee pollen’s nutritional and tonic properties, it improves blood supply to nervous tissue, boosting mental capacity and strengthening the nervous system that may be weakened by stress. That makes it one of the most effective natural stress relievers. It may be particularly useful for people with a lack of energy, especially the elderly. Even small doses of bee pollen over an extended period of time can improve mood and physical endurance, thereby strengthening one’s desire to live.

It also serves as a local analgesic, giving it the ability to relieve pain that can be brought on by stress or injury. (11)

8. Promotes Healing

Bee pollen can be used as a topical ointment to speed up the healing process, especially useful as a home remedy for burn relief. The pollen includes kaempferol, which inhibits the activity of enzymes after a burn and decreases inflammatory reactions and swelling.

Pollen helps improve blood circulation in the vessels, and it moistens the skin. The anti-inflammatory and analgesic action of flavonoids in bee pollen helps relieve pain and prevent platelet aggregation. Pollen also helps prevent infection because of its antimicrobial activity, allowing a wound or burn to heal quickly. (1213)

Because bee pollen is a great source of many vitamins and minerals, it can also help keep your skin looking younger and glowing. It stimulates blood supply to all skin cells, helps detoxify the body, reduces the appearance of wrinkles and speeds up the healing process.

Bee Pollen for Weight Loss?

Studies have shown that pollen helps in the recovery of muscle protein and energy metabolism in old rats exposed to severe food restriction, proving that it’s useful in the prevention or recovery of malnutrition. (14) But what about weight loss? Is bee pollen a metabolism booster?

Bee pollen helps regulate hormones, and it possesses metabolic activity — containing amino acids that help increase your metabolism by dissolving fat cells in the body. We also know thatpollen contains an enormous amount of essential vitamins and minerals, helping nourish the body of people with poor eating habits. It only takes a small amount to receive these nutrients, and an ounce of bee pollen is only about 90 calories.

Many manufacturers make bee pollen pills or supplements that claim to help you lose weight fast, but there is little scientific evidence proving this to be true. In fact, the FDA had to recall Zi Xiu Tang bee pollen capsules because they found it contained undeclared sibutramine and phenolphthalein, weight-loss drugs that are no longer used in the U.S. because they may increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. The FDA reported that it received more than 50 adverse event reports associated with the use of tainted bee pollen weight loss products from customers and health care providers. (15)

Without scientific evidence, it’s hard to label bee pollen as the “miracle weight-loss product.” But we do know that it can reduce inflammation, boost energy, and provide a range of important vitamins and minerals. It also has the power to support skin health and speed up the healing process, and for these reasons pollen is a useful supplement.

How to Find & Use Bee Pollen

Buy bee pollen from a reputable company or local beekeeper that you trust. Make sure that the pollen is free from pesticides and that the bee colonies are not treated with chemicals. You can find pollen in most health food stores and farmers’ markets, especially since it’s becoming more popular.

The most common way to use bee pollen is when it’s ground and mixed with foods. Ground pollen can be mixed with honey, cottage cheese or yogurt in a 1:1 to 1:4 ratio — this creates a mixed pollen solution that can be ingested throughout the day. If you’re trying to combat a nutrient deficiency, allergies, inflammation, stress or illness, take one teaspoon of mixed pollen three times a day.

Bee pollen granules are also available. They can be added to yogurt, cereal and baked goods. Granules can be blended to create ground pollen, which can be added to smoothies or sprinkled over salad. Because of bee pollen’s detoxifying properties, it makes a great addition to this Secret Detox Drink.

Pollen grains or granules can be added to warm water for two to three hours. They then crack and release their nutritional value. This can also be done with milk, fruit and vegetable juices. You then can drink the liquid or add it to a smoothie to get these awesome bee pollen benefits

Potential Side Effects of Bee Pollen

It’s safe for most people to take bee pollen by mouth for a 30- to 60-day period, depending on the dose. A lower dose can be consumed with a bee pollen mixture and is deemed safer.

The biggest safety concerns are allergic reactions, which may be an issue for people who are allergic to pollen. If you notice itching, swelling, shortness of breath or light-headedness after consuming bee pollen supplements, discontinue use until you’ve spoken to your health care provider.

There is some concern that bee pollen may stimulate the uterus and threaten pregnancy, which is why women who are pregnant should avoid using pollen or use it with the guidance of a health care provider.

Bee Pollen Takeaways

  • Bee pollen is rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, lipids and fatty acids, enzymes, carotenoids and bioflavonoids.
  • It has powerful antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties that strengthen the capillaries, reduce inflammation, stimulate the immune system and lower cholesterol levels naturally.
  • Use bee pollen to boost your nutrient intake naturally. Studies have shown that it’s effective in preventing and reversing malnourishment and poor nutrition.
  • You can buy already ground bee pollen or granules. Add it is smoothies, yogurt, cottage cheese, cereal, baked goods and salads. Or let the nutrients infuse in warm water and drink it for a boost of vitamins and minerals. 
    To learn more and to see the full article, visit the following link to Dr. Axe's study here.

An Excerpt from The Mountains of California by John Muir c. 1894

"[...] The Great Central Plain of California, during the months of March, April, and May, was one smooth, continuous bed of honey-bloom, so marvelously rich that, in walking from one end of it to the other, a distance of more than 400 miles, your foot would press about a hundred flowers at every step. Mints, gilias, nemophilas, castilleias, and innumerable compositæ were so crowded together that, had ninety-nine per cent. of them been taken away, the plain would still have seemed to any but Californians extravagantly flowery. The radiant, honey-jul corollas, touching and overlapping, and rising above one another, glowed in the living light like a sunset sky--one sheet of purple and gold, with the bright Sacramento pouring through the midst of it from the north, the San Joaquin from the south, and their many tributaries sweeping in at right angles from the mountains, dividing the plain into sections fringed with trees."

[...]  In short, notwithstanding the wide-spread deterioration and destruction of every kind already effected, California, with her incomparable climate and flora, is still, as far as I know, the best of all the bee-lands of the world."

http://vault.sierraclub.org/john_muir_exhibit/writings/the_mountains_of_california/chapter_16.aspx

The beautiful trick of flowers

In this visually dazzling talk, Jonathan Drori shows the extraordinary ways flowering plants — over a quarter million species — have evolved to attract insects to spread their pollen: growing 'landing-strips' to guide the insects in, shining in ultraviolet, building elaborate traps, and even mimicking other insects in heat.

CATCH THE BUZZ – HONEY – GOOD TO EAT, GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN…JUST PLAIN GOOD FOR YOU

article from Bee Culture Magazine Jan 17,2017

People do not need to shell out big bucks for beauty products, especially since some of the best beauty
products can already be found on kitchen shelves.

For facial wash, honey is actually a surprising alternative. “Honey is the oldest skin-care ingredient and has been used extensively for both medical and skin-care purposes,” Neil Sadick, MD, the founder of Sadick Dermatology in New York.

People who have skin issues will definitely benefit from a honey facial wash because it can help soothe skin ailments. “It has antibacterial properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and it nurtures the skin. Honey’s particularly suitable for sensitive skin,” said Sadick.

Some people might harbor doubts on honey’s effectiveness as a skin cleaner. But Carla Marina Marchese, the founder and beekeeper of Red Bee Honey, and co-author of The Honey Connoisseur, said the thick, sweet product is a good salve for breakouts. It even has strong antibacterial properties that fight acne.

“Honey has a very low pH, so a lot of bacterias cannot survive in honey,” she said. “It’s about a 3.5 on average on the pH scale, and most bacteria need to thrive in closer to a 7 on the scale.”

But that’s not all honey does for the skin. It’s quite moisturising as well, and can be used by people with chapped noses or super red and dry flaky patches.

“Honey is moisture-grabbing because it’s a super-saturated solution, meaning the bees keep a lot of sugar in a little bit of water,” said Marchese. “So it’s always trying to grab water from the air to balance out the sugar. This is why people use it for baked goods — it keeps them moist for longer.”

However, Marchese warned that people shouldn’t just rush out to the grocery store and purchase whatever honey bottle they can lay their hands on. People should stick to raw honey that can be bought from the local farmer’s market, or even manuka honey, which costs more than the regular honey.

“You need to use the best quality honey that you can get,” Marchese said.

HEALTHY HONEY TAKES ON NEW ROLE

CHICAGO — An intense focus on added sugars consumption and links to obesity, diabetes and heart disease is motivating consumers to not only reduce total sweetener consumption, but to switch to sweeteners perceived as more healthful, such as honey, according to market research firm Packaged Facts, Rockville, Md. The current high level of consumer interest in honey makes it a great time to offer innovative products that piggyback on the latest and emerging trends for this sweetener, said David Sprinkle, the firm’s research director.

Keith Seiz, spokesperson for the National Honey Board, said honey is a timeless and relevant sweetener.

“Honey’s advantage as a sweetener is its marketability, its story that has always started with the honey bee,” he said. “Honey complements today’s clean label formulating trend. Marketers are bringing honey to the front of the package to clearly communicate to consumers its inclusion in a packaged food.”

The National Honey Board partnered with Chicago-based market research firm Technomic to better understand how honey is used in the United States. Using primary research, industry sources and U.S. Department of Agriculture data, Technomic estimated that of the 576 million lbs of honey sold in the United States in 2015, 40% was sold at retail as packaged honey. Food processors used 30% of the honey in prepared and packaged foods, while chefs and food service operators used 21%. The remaining 9% went into such industrial non-food applications as personal and beauty products, candles and medicine.

“We were surprised to learn that beverage was the leading food processing application, with packaged cold beverages being No. 1 followed by beer being No. 2,” Mr. Seiz said. “Cereal, both hot and ready-to-eat, came in third, followed by bread and doughs. Granola, snack and nutrition bars were fifth.”

To meet demand, the U.S. imports about two-thirds of the honey required, with the majority of suppliers based in Argentina, Brazil, India, Ukraine and Vietnam. The leading honey-producing U.S. states are California, Florida, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.

“Across the country there’s a growing trend in urban beekeeping,” Mr. Seiz said. “Chefs who want to market the use of local ingredients are driving this growth. Local beekeepers also sell product at farmers’ markets.”

Mr. Seiz emphasized that honey is honey regardless of where the raw material is sourced.

“Honey is a pure product that does not allow for the addition of any other substance,” he said. “Codex Alimentarius is very explicit and states ‘honey sold as such shall not have added to it any food ingredient, including food additives, nor shall any other additions be made other than honey.’”

This is not to say that all honey is created equal. Honey varies in color, flavor and even consistency, based on the flowers worker bees extract nectar that eventually becomes honey. The colors of honey form a continuous range from water white to dark amber. Light-colored honey typically has a mild flavor, while a darker color is more intense.

There are three types of honey, with liquid honey being the most common. It is extracted from the honeycomb by centrifugal force, gravity or straining and is typically free of visible crystals.

“Dried honey is derived from pure liquid honey and will include processing aids and other ingredients,” Mr. Seiz said. “The honey is dried to a low-moisture content. This gets converted to free-flowing powders, flakes or granules with a minimum 50% pure honey content.”

Both liquid and dried products are used as sweeteners in food formulations, with the former having additional functions, such as ingredient binder and humectant. The third type of honey is known as whipped or creamed honey. It is sold in a crystallized state and at room temperature used as a spread much like butter or jelly.

Recent retail packaged food innovations shows honey being used in almost every conceivable product category, with inclusion recognized on front labels or product names.  Formulators are embracing the natural sweetness of honey, along with the color, flavor and viscosity it contributes. In some instances, honey is being promoted as a source of natural, sustainable energy.

In such grain-based foods applications as hearty bread made with ancient, sprouted and whole grains, honey is recognized for its ability to round out bitter notes and robust textures. It also will function as a natural shelf life extender, as it inhibits mold growth in baked foods by binding moisture. The same property makes it a useful humectant in gluten-free baked foods, which tend to dry and stale easily.

With spicy foods, honey adds just enough sweetness to mellow the initial heat, while with some fruit flavors, honey balances floral notes. In high-protein foods, especially when the protein comes from plants, honey may mask undesirable green, beany off flavors.

There are important considerations when working with honey and in product reformulations, as there is no direct one-to-one substitution. This is because honey may be as much as 1.5 times sweeter than sugar, on a dry basis. Honey also contains enzymes that may break down other ingredients in a formulation, impacting the finished product.

“Amino acids in honey can elevate the flavor intensity of spices and herbs, which is why honey is often used in dressings and sauces,” Mr. Seiz said. “Honey will also speed up the Maillard reaction in baked goods, so time and temperature often needs to be adjusted.
“In brewing, the point of honey addition is important, as honey is fermentable.”

For the most part, honey works well with other sweeteners and is almost always used with one or more in packaged prepared foods. This is because too much honey flavor may be overwhelming in some applications, for example, yogurt and ice cream.

Source: October 11, 2016: Bee Culture

 

What Is It About Bees And Hexagons?

Solved! A bee-buzzing, honey-licking 2,000-year-old mystery that begins here, with this beehive. Look at the honeycomb in the photo and ask yourself: (I know you've been wondering this all your life, but have been too shy to ask out loud ... ) Why is every cell in this honeycomb a hexagon?

Well, this is a very old question. More than 2,000 years ago, in 36 B.C., a Roman soldier/scholar/writer, Marcus Terentius Varro, proposed an answer, which ever since has been called "The Honeybee Conjecture." Varro thought there might be a deep reason for this bee behavior. Maybe a honeycomb built of hexagons can hold more honey. Maybe hexagons require less building wax. Maybe there's a hidden logic here. I like this idea — that below the flux, the chaos of everyday life there might be elegant reasons for what we see. "The Honeybee Conjecture" is an example of mathematics unlocking a mystery of nature, so here, with help from physicist/writer Alan Lightman, (who recently wrote about this in Orion Magazine) is Varro's hunch.

The Essential Honeycomb

Honeycombs, we all know, store honey. Honey is obviously valuable to bees. It feeds their young. It sustains the hive. It makes the wax that holds the honeycomb together. It takes thousands and thousands of bee hours, tens of thousands of flights across the meadow, to gather nectar from flower after flower after flower, so it's reasonable to suppose that back at the hive, bees want a tight, secure storage structure that is as simple to build as possible.

So how to build it? Well, suppose you start your honeycomb with a cell like this ... a totally random shape, no equal sides, just a squiggle ...

To read more click here.

Source: May 14, 2013: Robert Krulwich/NPR

CATCH THE BUZZ – LAND USE CHANGES THREATEN 40% OF U.S. COMMERCIAL BEES

The heart of the American commercial honey bee industry is under threat from land use changes.

A U.S. Geological Survey study says the Northern Great Plains of North and South Dakota – which support more than 40% of U.S. commercial honey bee colonies, are quickly becoming less conducive to commercial beekeeping as a result of land-use changes.

The researchers say that conversion of pasture, conservation grasslands and bee-friendly cultivated crops to biofuel crops likely impact both managed and wild pollinators because it reduces forage availability and increases the use of chemicals that negatively affect pollinators and their ecosystem services.

Most of the commercial honey bee colonies that spend the summer in the Dakotas provide pollination services for crops such as almonds, melons, apples and cherries elsewhere in the U.S.

The USGS study says the Northern Great Plains have served as an unofficial refuge for commercial beekeepers because of their abundance of uncultivated pasture and rangelands, and cultivated agricultural crops such as alfalfa, sunflower and canola that provided forage for bees.

To read more click here.

Source: Bee Culture Magazine, September 4, 2016

CATCH THE BUZZ – BIG AGRICULTURE HAS THE CHANCE TO HELP OR HINDER OUR MOST IMPORTANT POLLINATORS, RESEARCH ARGUES

New research published today in PeerJ has identified the most serious future threats to, but also opportunities for pollinating species, which provide essential agricultural and ecological services across the globe.

  • New research identifies future threats to, and opportunities for insects, birds, mammals, and reptiles that pollinate wild flowers and crops
  • 35% of global crop production, and 85% of wild flowering plants rely on hard-working pollinators to thrive
  • Researchers calling for proactive prevention not reactive mitigation, and continuation of positive steps to reduce chemical use across landscapes

From the expansion of corporate agriculture, new classes of insecticides and emerging viruses, pollinators are facing changing and increasingly challenging risks. In response, researchers are calling for global policies of proactive prevention, rather than reactive mitigation to ensure the future of these vital species.

The study was conducted by an international group of scientists, government researchers, and NGOs led by Professor Mark Brown from Royal Holloway University of London, supported by the EU-funded network SuperB.

PREVENTION, NOT PANIC

They used a method of horizon scanning to identify future threats that require preventative action, and opportunities to be taken advantage of, in order to protect the insects, birds, mammals, and reptiles that pollinate wild flowers and crops.

“35% of global crop production, and 85% of wild flowering plants rely on hard-working pollinators to thrive. We are increasingly adopting practices that damage these species. Then, we rather absurdly look to mitigate their loss, rather than prevent it in the first place,” explained Professor Brown.

“This is an expensive and back-to-front solution for a problem that has very real consequences for our well-being,” Brown continued, “Most research focuses on the battles already being fought, not on the war to come.”

PRIORITY POLLINATOR CHALLENGES

Out of a long-list of sixty risks to, and opportunities for pollinators the team identified 6 high priority issues, including:

1)     Corporate control of agriculture at the global scale

2)     Sulfoximine, a novel systemic class of insecticides

3)     New emerging viruses

4)     Increased diversity of managed pollinator species

5)     Effects of extreme weather under climate change

6)     Reductions in chemical use in non-agricultural settings

The research highlights consolidation of the agri-food industries as a major potential threat to pollinators, with a small numbers of companies now having unprecedented control of land.

The rise in transnational land deals for crop production, for example the use of large areas of Brazil for soybean export to China, now occupies over 40 million hectares.

“The homogenization of agriculture effectively means that corporations are applying blanket production systems to landscapes that are vastly different, significantly reducing the diversity and number of native pollinators,” explained Sarina Jepsen, Director of Endangered Species and Aquatic Programs, The Xerces Society and Deputy Chair, IUCN Bumblebee Specialist Group.

POSITIVES ON THE HORIZON

Professor Brown continued, “However, it is not all doom and gloom. For example, such global domination provides an opportunity to influence land-management to make it favourable for pollinators at huge scales, but this would require the agri-food industry to work closely together with NGOs and researchers.”

Speaking about the influence of new insecticides, co-author, Lynn Dicks from the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge said, “Identifying environmental issues in advance, before they become large scale, allows society to plan responses and reduce environmental risks before they are upon us. It is a routine part of strategic planning in financial management, and it should also be routine in environmental planning and policymaking. Many of the pollinator issues we identified on the horizon can be responded to right now, for example by working with corporations already controlling large areas of agricultural land to develop pollinator management strategies, or by planning research on the sub-lethal effects of sulfoxaflor before it is widely used.”

However the study also found more explicitly positive opportunities for pollinators. For example, the current and future reduction of chemical use in non-agricultural land, gardens and parks, could be fruitful for pollinating populations.

“We must continue to encourage these practices across industry, government, and the public, so that we give our important pollinating species the support they need to do their vital work,” concluded Professor Brown.

Source: Bee Culture Magazine, Aug 16, 2016