Best Organic Bee Pollen, What is Pollen Grain & Recommended Pollen Tablets

Last updated on May 9th, 2020 at 11:16 am

A few years back, when I first started thinking I should take care of my body (after having taken care of the ‘spiritual side of things’ first), I contemplated the idea of taking bee pollen. I didn’t know anything about it – just that whatever bees make is probably VERY good for you. I think I went to a Health Food store and bought bee pollen granules decided to take it on a daily basis. And I did, for a long time. Recently I found the jar and decided to start taking it again!

What is Pollen Grain

Bee pollen is the food bees use to feed their young, the chemical composition comprising around 250 substances. It is packed with bioflavonoids, carotenoids, fatty acids, lipids, proteins, minerals, vitamins (including B-complex), folic acid and enzymes (more detail below) containing approximately 40% protein (in fact, “richer in proteins than any animal source” also containing “more amino acids than beef, eggs, or cheese of equal weight” according to Mercola).

[Bee pollen] is considered one of nature’s most completely nourishing foods. It contains nearly all nutrients required by humans. [Mercola]

While doing my research I saw that many online articles claim that there’s no magical attributes that can be added to bee pollen; but according to The National Center for Biotechnology Information (website) “the German Federal Board of Health has officially recognized bee pollen as a medicine” wha(article here).

Dermatologist Dr. Lars-Erik Essen says it smoothes away wrinkles, being an important skin rejuvenator while Dr. M. Esperrois of the French Institute of Chemistry says it can act to reverse the effects normal ageing, “correcting darkening, wrinkles, and blemishes”. Finally, Russian professors N. Mankovsky and D. G. Chebotarev  say about bee pollen properties “vital to a form of internal and external rejuvenation at the cellular level.” All of this can be read in Mercola’s article on bee pollen.

Golden Grains of Goodness

Have you seen how the bees carry the pollen around? I recently saw one and wondered. As bees go from flower to flower bees mix the pollen they collect with some nectar secretion and then place the mix inside ‘baskets’ they have on their legs, known as pollen loads (source). They then take this mix back to the colony and after a delicate process they use it to feed their young.

Bees usually take pollen to the hive in the morning, between 9 and 11. Each pollen ball they carry weighs between 4 and 10mg. It is important to understand that the bee takes around 15 minutes to fill up the leg pockets with pollen. I need to keep this in mind when I eat my bee pollen, there’s been a meticulous process the bee has gone through that takes time and incredible technique. In fact:

A one teaspoon dose of pollen takes one bee working eight hours a day for one month to gather. [Mercola]

And, what’s more:

Each bee pollen pellet contains over two million flower pollen grains and one teaspoonful contains over 2.5 billion grains of flower pollen. [Mercola]

No too samples of pollen is identical, so chemical and nutritional values will vary from ball to ball. More info on Wikipedia:

Although there is no specific chemical composition, the average composition is said to be 40–60% simple sugars (fructose and glucose), 20–60% proteins, 3% minerals and vitamins, 1–32% fatty acids, and 5% diverse other components.

More background story can be found here on what do honey bees collect and The Cut has an interesting entry on bee pollen.

The Bee Pollen I Take: Toca’s Organic Chestnut Bee Pollen

I like Toca’s organic chestnut bee pollen because it’s the first one I bought and I liked the look of the brand. On researching this article I found that it was an excellent choice! For starters, I’m Spanish, and the pollen has been collected from the mountains of Galicia, in Ancares O Courel.

This is a monofloral bee pollen variety (meaning it comes from only one flower), from the chestnut tree, which for example contains 95%, of the antioxidants found in the green tea leaf. The chestnut pollen is especially recommended for regulating bowel movements. Here’s a bit more on the Toca bee pollen.

Best Organic Bee Pollen: Check Out these Brands

I couldn’t find a lot of brands I liked when it came to organic bee pollen (there are plenty of other pollens, aff link, but I think it’s always better to go organic). Organic pollen brands include Toca’s organic chestnut bee pollen (this is the one I take as mentioned above and also the first one to be listed below), Greenbowus organic bee pollen and YS organic bee pollen.

[amazon box=B01HY7DPVM]
[amazon box=B019HI4CRC]
[amazon box=B003O1UD0O]
[amazon box=B078RC2ZPC]

Eating Pollen: What it Contains, Benefits, Types and How to Take

What’s in Bee Pollen?

Doctor Health Press says bee pollen contains:

  • 23% protein, including 10% essential amino acids
  • 30% digestible carbohydrates
  • 26% sugars like glucose and fructose
  • 5 percent lipids like essential fatty acids
  • 2 percent phenolic compounds like flavonoids
  • Other antioxidant flavonoids include bioflavonoids, carotenoids, quercetin, rutin, myricetin and trans-cinnamic acid
  • Vitamins: A, C, E, D and B vitamins like folate, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and vitamin B6
  • Minerals: Contains magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, selenium, copper, iron, silicon, sulfur, and manganese

Here’s what researchers at the Institute of Apiculture, Taranov, Russia, have claimed:

Honeybee pollen is the richest source of vitamins found in Nature in a single food. Even if bee pollen had none of its other vital ingredients, its content of rutin alone would justify taking at least a teaspoon daily […] (Source)

The National Center for Biotechnology Information  have also produced this table with the composition and antioxidant value of fresh bee pollen formula (link):

Fresh Bee Pollen Formula
Proteins (g/100 g) 16.2
 EAA (g/100 g) 4.8
 BCAA (g/100 g) 2.3
 SAA (g/100 g) 0.6
Carbohydrates (g/100 g) 57.7
 Lipids (g/100 g) 7.3
 Saturated FA (% of total FA) 43.1
 Monounsaturated FA (% of total FA) 16.1
 Polyunsaturated FA (% of total FA) 40.8
Fiber (g/100 g) 11.4
Vitamin B1 (mg/100 g) 0.65
Vitamin B2 (mg/100 g) 0.76
Vitamin PP(mg/100 g) 7.05
Vitamin B5 (mg/100 g) 0.77
Vitamin B6 (mg/100 g) 2.38
Vitamin B9 (mg/100 g) 0.81
Vitamin C (mg/100 g) 42.7
Vitamin E (mg/10 0g) 12.9
Calories (kcal/100 g) 315.8
Antioxidant value
 FRAP (mmol/kg eq ascorbic acid) 25.8
 ORAC (mmol/100 g eq trolox) 5.6

**EAA: essential amino acids; BCAA: branched chain amino acids; SAA: sulfur amino acids; FA: fatty acids; FRAP: ferric reducing ability of plasma; ORAC: oxygen radical absorbance capacity value.

Benefits of Bee Pollen Granules

According to NCBI, there is evidence that bee pollen can help with health problems. Here’s what The National Center for Biotechnology Information claims:

  • Evidence that it can improve microcirculation and dyslipidemia
  • It can prevent and control coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction
  • Bee pollen is cytotoxic against tumor cells
  • Bee pollen regulates immune activity
  • Bee pollen is recommended to enhance athletic performance
  • Bee pollen reduce the side effects of chemotherapy
  • Bee pollen improves allergies and asthma

According to Mercola:

  • Improves endurance and vitality
  • Extends longevity
  • Aids recovery from chronic illness
  • Adds weight during convalescence
  • Reduces cravings and addictions
  • Regulates the intestines
  • Builds new blood
  • Prevents infectious diseases such as the cold and flu (because of it antibiotic type properties)
  • Thought to protect against radiation and to have anti-cancer qualities

And, according to Dr. Axe:

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Acts as antioxidant
  • Protects against liver toxicity
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Serves as a dietary supplement
  • Relieves menopausal symptoms (check our article on sage for the menopause)
  • Helps relieve stress
  • Promotes healing

I suggest you read on each of the points above here so you understand how Dr. Axe developed each of the points.

As we can see, bee pollen granules benefits are quite incredible.

Bee Pollen Granules VS Bee Pollen Powder VS Bee Pollen Capsules

Granules can be taken directly with a spoon or added to cereal, smoothies, etc. The granules can be ground into a powder and added to drinks. Capsules are an easy option if you prefer to take tablets, for example.

How to Take Bee Pollen Granules

This article from NCBI is very clear regarding bee pollen dosage:

Adults: 3 times a day before meals, treatments should last 1 to 3 months, and to be repeated 2 to 4 times a year. Appropriate period for treatment is between winter and spring and between summer and autumn
Children: consult a doctor or herbalist.

Recommended bee pollen granules dosage if you’re fighting allergies, stress, illness, inflammation, or nutritional deficiencies, the bee pollen dosage is about one teaspoon of mixed pollen for three times daily. (Source)

Because the granule is a little crunchy you can either add it to your yogurt or porridge (or any other oat mix), cottage cheese, cereal, etc. I like to just take a teaspoon every day. I love the crunch and sweetness.

You can add the bee pollen granules to warm water for 2 or 3 hours as they will release their nutritional value “In the water environment, pollen grains become swollen and, after 2-3 hours, crack and, consequently, release their values.” (source). You can then drink the water or add to smoothies, milk and juices. You can also grind it and add it to liquids.

Personally I think if you buy 1 jar twice a year is probably good enough. That’s what I’m planning to do. My current jar is half way through as we speak, I only take 1 tsp a day so I might increase it to 2 tsps a day.

Bee Pollen Tablets/Capsules

If all of the above feels like too much and you just want an easy way to make the most of the bee pollen benefits without the hassle of having to mix the granules or chew them you can take the pollen in tablet form.

I haven’t done the research because I’m well happy with the taste of the granules myself, but here’s a link to Amazon’s bee pollen tablets for you to have a look at what’s available (affiliate link). Also, below I added the link to Y.S. ECO Bee Farms 100% Pure Bee Pollen if you’re interested in having a look.

[amazon box=B00014EDMQ]

Bee Pollen Side Effects: Who Needs to Stay Away from It?

Not everyone will be suitable to take bee pollen. I found this article which goes through the possible side effects.

  • If you are allergic to pollen
  • Pregnant women
  • Women who are breast feeding
  • May cause increased bleeding if taken with certain blood thinners
  • Check with your doctor before taking bee pollen if you are on medication (including over the counter) or herbal remedies

Another article mentioned to stay away from it if you are allergic to bees (and if you’re not sure get tested with your doctor) and also if you want to stay away from bee products (i.e. vegans).

Final Thoughts

An incredible superfood, bee pollen seems to provide everything we need encapsulated in a tiny ball. It has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, hepatoprotective, anticancer immunostimulating and local analgesic (source). Besides boosting immunity and reducing  inflammation it also helps with stress and it is packed with vitamins and minerals as well as tasting delicious.

I am very aware of the fact that each little ball has taken the bee time and care to make. Laboratories can’t replicate the goodness of these balls, so let’s make sure we appreciate them as we reap their full benefits by thanking the bees in any way we can, from prayer to active involvement.

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