Written by Ryan Raman, MS, RD on August 13, 2018
Bee pollen is a mixture of flower pollen, nectar, enzymes, honey, wax and bee secretions.
Foraging honey bees collect pollen from plants and transport it to the beehive, where it’s stored and used as food for the colony (1).
Bee pollen shouldn’t be confused with other bee products such as honey, royal jelly or honeycomb. These products may not contain pollen or may contain other substances.
Recently, bee pollen has gained traction in the health community because it’s loaded with nutrients, amino acids, vitamins, lipids and over 250 active substances (2).
In fact, the Federal Ministry of Health in Germany recognizes bee pollen as a medicine (3Trusted Source).
Many studies have examined the health effects of bee pollen and found promising results.
Here are 11 health benefits of bee pollen, backed by science.
Bee pollen boasts an impressive nutritional profile.
It contains over 250 biologically active substances, including proteins, carbs, lipids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants (2).
Bee pollen granules consist of approximately (4):
- Carbs: 40%
- Protein: 35%
- Water: 4–10%
- Fats: 5%
- Other substances: 5–15%
The latter category includes vitamins, minerals, antibiotics and antioxidants.
However, the pollen’s nutritional content depends on the plant source and season collected.
For instance, studies have shown that bee pollen collected from pine plants has approximately 7% protein, while pollen collected from date palm packs closer to 35% protein (2).
Summary Bee pollen contains over 250 biological substances, including protein, carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. The exact nutrient composition depends on the plant source and season collected.
Antioxidants protect your body against potentially harmful molecules called free radicals. Damage by free radicals is linked to chronic diseases such as cancer and type 2 diabetes (6Trusted Source).
Test-tube, animal and some human studies have shown that bee pollen antioxidants can reduce chronic inflammation, eliminate harmful bacteria, fight infections and combat the growth and spread of tumors (7Trusted Source).
However, bee pollen’s antioxidant content also depends on its plant source (8).
Unless a plant source is specifically stated on the label, it can be difficult to determine where your bee pollen came from.
Summary Bee pollen contains a wide variety of antioxidants, which may protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals that are linked to chronic diseases, including cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide (9Trusted Source).
Both high blood lipids and high blood cholesterol are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Interestingly, bee pollen may lower these risk factors.
In people with nearsightedness caused by clogged arteries, bee pollen supplements lowered blood cholesterol levels, which increased their field of vision (7Trusted Source).
Additionally, antioxidants in bee pollen may protect lipids from oxidizing. When lipids oxidize they can clump together, restricting blood vessels and raising your heart disease risk (11Trusted Source).
Summary Bee pollen may help lower heart disease risk factors such as “bad” LDL cholesterol and lipid oxidation.