About a year ago, I was at home (my parents’ house) for the weekend when my mom asked me if I knew anything about bee pollen. Besides the fact that it was made by bees, I didn’t. She gave me a small container of it and told me I should add it to my morning smoothies as a natural supplement of protein and vitamins. I did this a few times and then kind of forgot about it. There’s no flavour or notable difference to the smoothie and I didn’t know or care much about it at the time. It wasn’t until last week that I began to take interest in it again – thanks to my mom, who suggested I do some research on it.
The first site I came across was ‘WebMD’ (http://www.webmd.com/balance/bee-pollen-benefits-and-side-effects) which I honestly thought would be much more informative than it was. It claims to address the benefits and side effects of the human consumption of bee pollen. Even without any prior knowledge on the subject, the website seemed useless, uninformative and biased. It gives off the vibe that one should be careful when using a ‘natural’ product such as this, and consult a doctor. WebMD claims that it is dangerous to consume bee pollen for long periods of time and that it can stimulate allergies and other health problems. Clearly this website is geared towards medicalization, and claims that this product has no health benefits and could in fact be harmful… especially to pregnant or breastfeeding women. It gives no explanation for why it might be dangerous or cause health problems and makes no mention of the nutrients the pollen contains.
The next site I found was much better (http://www.mercola.com/article/diet/bee_pollen.htm) and has a highlight sections which outlines the articles main points. It explains that bee pollen is what bees make, collect and eat. It takes them an incredibly long time to make enough for humans to harvest. However it is considered a superfood, containing nearly all nutrients required by humans (proteins, free amino acids, and vitamins, including B-complex and folic acid). In addition, it claims that bee pollen has incredible health benefits such as increasing fertility, treating allergies (in opposition to WebMD), and stabilising metabolism. I would definitely recommend checking out this site and exploring the subject in more depth. I have also found additional sites that confirm these health benefits and propose additional ones (https://draxe.com/bee-pollen/ | http://www.beepollenhub.com/bee-pollen-benefits/ | http://www.secrets-of-longevity-in-humans.com/bee-pollen-benefits.html). Basically every site that a google search brings up confirms health benefits… except for WebMD which appears first, is the least informative and is quite obviously biased (and funded).
Now that I know a bit about it, I am definitely going to start putting bee pollen in my smoothies again (mainly for the protein benefits). Which means I need to find a place to get it. There are plenty of online stores from which it is available, but I am going to check my local health food store first (Goji Berry Health Foods in Westdale). I’m not certain about prices, but one site shows that a regular 1 pound bag of pollen is about $20. However, half a pound of organic pollen is also $20. It seems safe to assume that the price ranges by brand and quality. In addition, there are a ton of products made with bee pollen (such as soap) that are great for your body as well (which can be found here https://shop.bee-pollen-buzz.com/collections/bee-pollen).
**If you are going to purchase bee pollen, please make sure you are buying it from a cruelty free producer. WeSaveBees.org sells a large variety a bee related products including pollen and skin care products. This page – https://www.wesavebees.com/buying-bee-pollen/ – explains the importance of protecting the bees and harvesting the pollen in a safe way.