Bee pollen an excellent source for vitamins, minerals, proteins

Published 10:59 pm Thursday, March 19, 2015

When doing nutritional counseling, or seminars, I’m often asked which diet supplements I take as well as recommend. I get a few raised eyebrows when I tell folks that if I could take only one nutritional supplement, I would choose bee pollen. 
That’s right, bee pollen. That might seem strange, but did you know bee pollen is actually a unique, and powerful super food? Honeybees eat pollen, because they need incredible amounts of energy to fly on average, 15 miles per hour, and visit as many as 1,200 flowers in a single flight.

Also, bee pollen has been used for centuries by cultures all over the world for its energy producing and healing effects. In fact Hippocrates wrote on the healthful benefits of bee pollen.

First, let’s look at what bee pollen is. Pollen comes from the male stamen of flowers. Bee pollen is created when worker honeybees transport pollen granules to their nests with specially arranged hairs on their hind legs. When honeybees arrive back to the hive, they have to crawl up through a series of ¼ inch wiring to enter. This process harmlessly scrapes the pollen from the bee’s legs and body, and drops it down into a collection tray. After the pollen has been collected, it’s sifted and then frozen.

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Now we know what bee pollen is, but what makes it such a super food? First, bee pollen contains over 5,000 enzymes and co-enzymes, which is more than any other food. Enzymes are specific proteins that catalyze chemical reactions in the body. Catalyze is just a fancy term for speed up.

These enzymatic reactions are necessary for everything from muscle contraction, to using the nutrients in our food, to even breathing. In fact, without enzymes, life couldn’t exist. Bee pollen is 40 percent pure protein, which makes it denser in protein than any source of protein from animals. It’s also a safer source of protein, when compared with animal proteins, because it doesn’t contain saturated (bad) fats.

Also, bee pollen contains 18 vitamins, 25 minerals, 59 trace elements, 14 fatty acids and is extremely rich in carotenes, which are precursors of vitamin A. It’s also rich in B complex, vitamins C, D, E and Lecithin, which is a lipid that helps keep cell membranes healthy.

Bee pollen is not only the richest source of vitamins found in nature, it’s also the richest source of rutin. Rutin is in a class of flavinoids that also contain querctin, hesperidin, eriodicyl and citron. These flavinoids are essential for the absorption of vitamin C. Rutin is an important nutritional supplement because of its ability to strengthen capillaries. This action helps people with arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high blood pressure, or venous insufficiency.

There are also trace elements found in bee pollen that modern science can’t even identify. That is believed to be another reason bee pollen packs such a nutritional punch.

By the way, bee pollen is good for dogs, cats, and even horses. Bee pollen is available in health food stores in many varieties such as whole granules, wafers, powders, and capsules. I get most of my bee pollen from Nature’s Storehouse in Tryon. They carry bee pollen from a company called Y.S. Organics. Y.S. Organics is one of only three companies nationwide to carry strictly organic bee pollen.

To start, I recommend taking bee pollen slowly — any bee product could cause allergic reactions in some people — by placing a couple of granules under your tongue to test for sensitivity, like sneezing, itching, swelling, rash or flushing. If you experience any allergic reaction, seek medical help.

If no allergic reaction occurs, gradually increase to one to two teaspoons a day, or more. Pollen granules do have cell walls so chew for better nutrient absorption. Just because you have pollen allergies doesn’t mean you can’t take bee pollen. Pollens responsible for allergies are airborne or anemphilous. The type of pollen collected by bees is called entomophilous. Pregnant women and nursing mothers, however, should not take bee pollen.

Diet or exercise question? Email me at or visit David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 28 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the USC-Spartanburg baseball team, S.C. state champion girls gymnastic team, and the Converse College equestrian team. He served as a water safety consultant to the United States Marine Corps, lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency, and taught four semesters at USC-Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.