Sunday, 18 January 2015

Bee Pollen: A Whole Food Supplement


So last week I put down artificial supplements... so I thought I better be more positive this week! I recently bought some local bee pollen from the nearby health food store. This is why:

**First of all, I want to mention that all of the information summarized below is from peer reviewed published articles. I found the articles on Science Direct or PubMed, which both search for academic papers from many different journals. However, some inferences are mine (marked as *), based on University of Alberta nutrition & science courses.**

Bee pollen has:
  • antimicrobial activity
  • antimutagenicity properties
  • antioxidant activity
  • carotenoids (up to 243ug/g of dry bee pollen)
  • protein (~20%)
  • B vitamins, including vitamin thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and vitamin B6
However, due to different flowers, soil types, weather and handling methods, there is high variability between different bee pollen samples.


So, what is bee pollen good for then?
  • Killing (or stopping the growth of) bugs, especially Gram-positive bacteria
  • Possibly prevent DNA mutations or unwanted changes 
    • may help prevent cancer*
  • May help prevent chronic diseases related to oxidative stress (resulting from too little antioxidants) such as:
    • cancer
    • autoimmune disorders
    • cataracts
    • rheumatoid arthritis
    • cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases
  • Antioxidants found in bee pollen can also help slow down the aging process
  • Carotenoids reduce risk of diseases, especially certain cancers and eye diseases
  • Protein is a required "macronutrient" for energy, strong hair, supple skin, muscle building, and a strong immune system (among many other functions).*
  • B vitamins are highly involved in body metabolism, and should be consumed on a daily basis for good health*
(* = personal inferences based on knowledge from science and nutrition university courses.)


You can probably find bee pollen in your local health food store. However, if you are having trouble finding it, keep in mind that raw honey also contains the pollen! 

Important note: Keep in mind that bee pollen comes from flowers! If you have any allergy to pollen or other environmental allergens, please do not eat this product... Search up nutritional yeast instead for a whole food supplement. :)


References:
Almeida-Muradian, L., Pamplona, L., Coimbra, S., & Barth, O. (n.d.). Chemical composition and botanical evaluation of dried bee pollen pellets. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 105-111.

Arruda, V., Pereira, A., Estevinho, L., & Almeida-Muradian, L. (n.d.). Presence and stability of B complex vitamins in bee pollen using different storage conditions.Food and Chemical Toxicology, 143-148.

Arruda, V., Pereira, A., Freitas, A., Barth, O., & Almeida-Muradian, L. (n.d.). Dried bee pollen: B complex vitamins, physicochemical and botanical composition.Journal of Food Composition and Analysis,100-105.

Johnson, E. (2002). The Role of Carotenoids in Human Health. Nutrition in Clinical Care, 56-65.

Pascoal, A., Rodrigues, S., Teixeira, A., Fe├ís, X., & Estevinho, L. (n.d.). Biological activities of commercial bee pollens: Antimicrobial, antimutagenic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 233-239.

Pham-Huy, L., He, H., & Pham-Huy, C. (2008). Free Radicals, Antioxidants in Disease and Health. Int J Biomed Sci.,4(2), 89-96. Retrieved January 18, 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614697/

<3 Jessica

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