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Increase Your Energy with Bee Pollen!

bee pollen

Want a little more energy?  Try adding some bee pollen to your smoothie.  The next time you order a  smoothie from some smoothie joint or juice bar ask them to add bee pollen.   It may be an additional charge and I suggest you pay the .50 cents to $1.00 extra if you’re looking to increase your energy in a healthy way.  Better yet, you can buy a container of bee pollen from the health food store if you’re serious about adding it to your diet.  Look for it in the refrigerated section.  Bee pollen is perishable and has a very natural, fresh yogurt-like smell.  Always store it in an air-tight container or glass jar, and keep it refrigerated otherwise it could get moldy.

I make my own delicious smoothies at home using my Vita-Mix (a blender works, too).  I’ll typically add 1 tablespoon of bee pollen granules to my smoothie mix.  Bee pollen has a sort of sweet, chalky taste and can be somewhat pungent if eaten alone although some describe the taste to be bland or innocuous.  I guess it depends on your taste buds, however, fresh bee pollen should not have a bitter taste.  I suggest adding it to a smoothie or sprinkling it onto salads (it goes well with heartier salads that have couscous, quinoa, or tabbouleh in them).  Bee pollen contains a lot of enzymes, so it should not be heated.

Bee pollen can help increase your energy and your libido.  Keep reading to discover all of bee pollen’s functions, proper dosage and delivery, and safety concerns.  Even if you are allergic to bee stings, you may still be able to take bee pollen.  Refer to the section entitled “Dosage and Delivery.”  Anyone with a suspected sensitivity to bee pollen should consult a nutritionist before taking.

bee pollen2

Functions

  • Accelerates return to normal heart rate after exercise
  • Beneficial for growing children, seniors, rehabilitation after surgery, for those in an emaciated, thin and weakened state
  • Beneficial part of a libido enhancing program for men or women
  • Contains antioxidants
  • Counteracts a number of environmental toxins (two amino acids, L-Cysteine and L-Methionine, that are in bee pollen, contain sulphur.  This stimulates glutathione synthesis, which is our internally produced antioxidant)
  • Decreases catabolic (tearing down) phase during and after physical effort; can work longer without losing lean muscle mass (would also help with fasting or low calorie diets to protect against loss of muscle)
  • Decreases lipid peroxidation.  Cell walls are mainly fat; free radicals can oxidize holes in the cell membranes.
  • Decreases oxidation of LDL – When LDL oxidizes, it forms plaques in blood vessels
  • Decreases the usual side effects of radiotherapy (a dose of 20 grams or about 7/8 oz, 3 times a day was given).  It corrects radiation sickness after massive abdominal x-rays.  Bee pollen prevents the breakdown of body proteins (which then results in increased production of histamines) when x-rays are taken
  • Enhances and strengthens immunity
  • Exposure to radiation therapy is the greatest physical and emotional stressor to the immune system.  Bee pollen has antioxidants that scavenge free radicals caused by radiation treatment
  • Good for low blood sugar or hypoglycemia (with licorice)
  • Good source of easily absorbed protein
  • Has a bio-stimulating effect, especially endocrine glands, liver, kidneys and adrenals; with the endocrine glands functioning better, then you also see better libido and enhanced immunity
  • Has a slight metabolism enhancing effect (when you build lean muscle, metabolism increases)
  • Has anti-inflammatory activity (from quercitin)
  • Helps normalize hematocrit, which is important during pregnancy and for anemia
  • Helps return breathing to normal after exercise
  • Helps stop metastasis of cancer and growth of tumors
  • Helps with inflamed and/or infected prostate, benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH); it is not as good as Saw Palmetto, but can be part of protocol for BPH (in one study, 55% had significant improvement with bee pollen)
  • If you want to diminish your sensitivity to airborne pollens, you must begin using bee pollen 2-3 months before allergy season begins
  • Improves the ascorbate system which is the ability of the adrenals to store Vitamin C and make it available during times of stress
  • In one study, improved kidney/renal panel
  • Increases energy, vitality and endurance
  • Increases red blood cell production
  • Increases white blood cells
  • Moderate liver protection against ethionine, carbon tetrachloride (strongest carcinogen known) and chemical solvents (other substances, like milk thistle, are better)
  • Physical Performance:  Increases rate of recovery.  Improves second and subsequent performances (2 yr study done with hurdlers at Stanford by Dr. Jackson; Bee Pollen was given before and between events)
  • Pollen has a weak anabolic effect – Helps build new tissue; but it does not build muscle mass like creatinine; supports tissue growth and body weight (1-3 lbs); puts on a little bit of lean mass
  • Produces a moderate immuno-regulatory effect
  • Regulates blood proteins which helps with immune response
  • Regulates production of antibodies or immunoglobulins, IgG and IgM; gammaglobulin shots given when someone is exposed to hepatitis – Bee pollen is a weak immunoglobulin enhancer
  • Stimulates interferon production
  • Stimulates the endocrine system
  • Strengthens and protects epithelial tissue in the body
  • Studies were done on hens:  Showed an increase in reproductive ability; increased egg-laying.  It increased levels of hormones.  It can have a positive effect on LH (lutenizing hormone) and estriol estrogen (safest estrogen); also, on various adrenal sterols
  • Tends to regulate blood pressure:  In high amounts, it decreases blood pressure
  • Two studies were done at Stanford University using oral administration of bee pollen.  The results showed a very significant improvement in people with hayfever and asthma.  Why exactly, we are not sure – It could be because it is nutrient dense and energetic.  It is also rich in quercetin, which inhibits the release of histamine and helps to decrease allergic response.  It is the strongest anti-inflammatory and allergy reducing bioflavonoid
    • Hayfever:  There was a 100% improvement in 17.8% of the participants; 75% improvement in 34.25%; and, 50% improvement in 20.5%.  Overall, 73% of the patients averaged 75% improvement
    • Asthma:  Study showed 100% improvement in 1/3 people, 75% improvement in 1/3 of the people and 50% improvement in 11% of the people.  Overall, 78% of the asthma patients averaged 75% improvement
  • Very effective for UTI
  • When taken with meals, it enhances the absorption of other nutrients
  • With radiation treatment, levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, RBC’s, WBC’s, and albumin (blood protein) are decreased.  When someone takes bee pollen when undergoing radiation, there is much less depletion of these substances

Sources of Bee Pollen

Imported bee pollen may have more herbicides; may have been grown in industrial areas and must be fumigated before coming into the United States.  Some people react to this fumigation and they would want to use domestic pollen.

Pollen starts with 13% moisture content.  If it is not dried enough and contains too much moisture, you could get mold growth that is not visible.  Larger, commercial companies have equipment that dries the pollen sufficiently.  These companies also have filters that are used to get out the legs of the bees which are sometimes knocked off in the traps.

If you buy fresh pollen from a local source it is probable that the person would not have efficient drying equipment or filters.  This may result in an inferior quality because of the moisture problem.

Some Reputable Companies:  Montana Naturals or Montana Big Sky; Premier One (Neutraceutical); Beehive Botanicals (Linda Graham)

Dosage and Delivery

It is important to only use good quality bee pollen.  Most effective form is granules.

Bee pollen contains a lot of enzymes, so it should not be heated.

It is generally dried before being marketed.

Bee pollen should be stored in a glass container and kept in the refrigerator most of the time.  It can be kept at room temperature for 4-5 days.  The shelf life for pollen that has been dried is 2-3 years.  The shelf life for fresh pollen is questionable depending on how well it was dried and how it is stored.  Fresh pollen should not taste bitter.

Can be taken on a long-term, on-going basis.  You can take bee pollen on an empty stomach or with meals.

(If allergic to bee stings)  Start with 1-3 granules under the tongue 1-3 times a day.  Increase dosage every 3-4 days.  First to 1/32 tsp (about 4 granules), then to 1/16 tsp, then to 1/8 tsp, then to ¼ tsp.  By the time you get to ¼ tsp, you should be taking this dosage 3 times per day.  After getting to ¼ tsp for dosage, then every 3-4 days increase the dosage by ¼ tsp until you are taking 1 TB, 3 times a day.  Most people start noticing an effect when they get to a dose of 1 tsp, 3 times per day.  It will take about 3 months to build up to 1 TB, 2 times per day.

(If not allergic to bee stings) For prevention, start with ¼ tsp of granules 1-3 times a day with food for enhanced absorption or on an empty stomach.  Every 3 to 4 days increase dosage by 1/4 tsp. until you are taking 1 TB, 3 times a day.  Therapeutic amount is 1 heaping tsp or 1 tablespoon 3 times a day.  Gelatin caps are also available and for preventative purposes, the suggested amount is two capsules 3-4 times daily of 450 mg to 580 mg capsules.  A short-term, therapeutic amount of bee pollen is about 3 times the preventative amount.

When you have built up your dosage to 1 TB, most people experience the effect of feeling energized 45 minutes to 1 and ½ hours after taking the bee pollen.

Don’t take at night before bed.  It might keep you awake because of its energizing effect.

Children:  Take the weight of the child and divide it by the normal weight of the same sex parent.  This will give you the percent of the adult dose that the child can take.  For example, a child that weighed 50 lbs with a 150 lbs same sex parent would take 1/3 of the adult dose.

Safety

You need to gradually increase your dosage of bee pollen.  If a person takes too much for them, it may cause nausea and diarrhea.  This is because the RNA in bee pollen can be irritating to the stomach and colon.  G.I. problems would usually be the result of taking an excessive amount of bee pollen.

Breathing problems after taking bee pollen is usually because it is of very poor quality.

For people that have difficulty with concentrated protein including gout and kidney problems (high purines, creatinine, ammonia), you need to cut back on the dosage or take for a shorter period of time.

For older people, start with a smaller dosage.

Even if you are allergic to bee stings, you can still take bee pollen.

If pregnant or lactating, start with very small dose and work up to 1 to 2 tsp, 3 times per day.  Both bee pollen and royal jelly are great for pregnancy if taken in the appropriate dose.  You don’t want to take too much because it could produce a laxative effect and result in diarrhea.

Miscellaneous Notes

There are over 200 active constituents in bee pollen.  It is 20-25% protein and contains all essential amino acids.  It is 8-15% lecithin.  It contains 56 nutrients including quercitin (a bioflavonoid), “B” vitamins, Vitamin E, carotenoids, calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, phosphorus and iron.  It is also very rich in RNA.

While bee pollen contains 56 nutrients considered necessary for health, it has been inaccurately marketed as the most complete and perfect food.  It does not contain chlorophyll and some other nutrients.

There are two kinds of pollen.  Airborne pollen is the kind people react to (called anemophile).  The second kind, called entimophile (“friend of the insect”), relates to insects and bees.  It is heavier and stickier than airborne pollen.  Bee pollen is the pollen that bees gather from stamens of flowers.  This is the most “energetic” part of the plant.

Even with a large therapeutic dose, you are not getting that much of each individual nutrient like protein or calcium.  You are taking less quantity of nutrients, but they may be better absorbed because it is a food source substance.  The effect of bee pollen may be from the “symphony” of all nutrients – Or it may be the “energy” and “magic” of this substance that cannot be measured.

Bee pollen is rapidly and easily absorbed from the stomach directly into the bloodstream.  This is called persorption – Absorption through the esophagus and upper G.I. tract before it hits the small intestine.  In one study, dogs were fed milk cream, which they normally digest very slowly.  Bee pollen was added to the milk cream.  They found that the pollen was in the blood stream, cerebrospinal fluid and urine within two hours (4 hr normal for bloodstream; 6-8 hr normal for CS fluid).

Bee pollen was promoted in the 70’s and 80’s for athletes to increase their endurance and performance.

IV administration is even more effective.

It has a bland, innocuous and slightly sweet taste.

Herb Review: Bee Propolis

Are you interested in taking Bee Propolis?  It’s available in multiple delivery forms and can be found at your local health food store.  What is it good for?  How much of it should I take?  Are there any safety concerns with taking Bee Propolis?  Keep reading to find out..

Bee Propolis

Functions:

  • 50% inhibition of superoxide (least prevalent free radical in the body, but the most dangerous)
  • Accelerates rate of healing of burns (stronger antimicrobial than aloe or aloe with lavender)
  • Analgesic, mild anesthetic
  • Anti-allergy
  • Antibacterial (flavonoids inhibit the growth of bacteria including staph. aureaus, which is the most pernicious bacteria that is resistant to tetracycline and erythromycin, but not to propolis).  Bacteria do NOT become resistant to propolis.
  • Antibiotic that helps fight disease reactions within the body
  • Anti-cancer (caffeic acid esters, phenols)
  • Antifungal
  • Anti-inflammatory, both internally and externally (from Quercetin)
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antiseptic, disinfectant
  • Anti-tumor effect (caffeic acid esters)
  • Antiviral
  • Astringent, moderately strong styptic
  • Benefits cracked nipples
  • Benefits malignant skin tumors
  • Benefits subcutaneous cysts
  • Can be part of a natural mouthwash because of its antibacterial qualities
  • Can be used after tooth extraction to help healing
  • Causes slight decrease in blood pressure (not that effective for HBP or heart disease)
  • Causes slight increase in blood protein from which antibodies are made
  • Cytotoxic – Kills cancer cells directly
  • Effective with Trichomonas vaginalis
  • Endocrine enhancing or stimulating for the liver, kidney, and spleen
  • Enhances effect of other drugs used in treating pharyngitis
  • Has a synergistic and enhancing effect when combined with common antibiotics like streptomycin and tetracycline (it does not enhance the effects of chemotherapy agents)
  • Has been used for the thyroid gland (Siberian ginseng is better)
  • Helps alleviate side effects of various vaccines
  • Helps control runaway cell breakdown, a condition symptomatic of cancer
  • Helps fight tuberculosis
  • Helps prevent metastases
  • Helps stop bleeding
  • Helps with fungal sinusitis caused by candida
  • Increases various components of white blood cells – phagocytes, leukocytes
  • Indicated for hayfever – Need a large dose of 7-8 times per day (bee pollen is better)
  • Indicated for joint disorders (can combine with other anti-inflammatories), candida albicans (not solely, but most important – use with oregano), vaginal inflammation (use tampons containing propolis; raw propolis can also be shaped into a cone), colds, flu (use propolis at first sign of infection), skin ulcers, psoriasis (study: 1/3 patients benefited from bee propolis), Herpes I (cold sores), UTI, thrush, oral candida, yeast infections (inhibited 60 strains of yeast that were tested)
  • Inhibits growth of resistant gram positive and gram negative bacteria
  • Kills gingival bacteria – Helps to prevent gingivitis and plaque
  • Not subject of research yet, but probably effective for anthrax
  • Nutritive – Contains minerals and trace elements
  • Over 75% inhibition of OH (a very prevalent free radical in the body, but much less dangerous that SO)
  • Pretty good for hemorrhoids (use a salve form of propolis; horse chestnut seed extract is better)
  • Raises body’s resistance to infections; stimulates immune factors
  • Reduces itching and pain
  • Slightly aids cell regeneration over wounds
  • Stimulates interferon production (natural protein substance that combats many diseases)
  • Strengthens the thymus gland (makes white blood cells called T4 cells) because of the phenol esters
  • Strong scavenging action against oxygen radicals generated by exposure to chemicals
  • Strongest remedy for radioepithelitis
  • Superstar for throat infections:  Pharyngitis, tonsillitis, laryngitis
  • Therapeutic for chronic exacerbated pharyngitis; acute, exacerbated glotitis (study: benefited 90% of 260 patients with various types of pharyngitis)
  • Tones, heals, and strengthens epithelial tissue
  • Use externally for cuts
  • Use for fungal infections, including Athlete’s foot – Taken both internally and externally; bee propolis is more effective for Athlete’s foot than goldenseal at a fraction of the cost
  • Use for infections throughout the body, including all skin infections
  • Use for radiation burns (applied externally and taken internally; especially good when combined with aloe vera)
  • Use for salmonellosis:  Inhibits free radical oxidation of lipids due to salmonella (dosage of 1 ½ dropperfuls initially; then, 1 dropperful every 3 hours)
  • Use for ulcers – 1 of 4 favorites for both gastric and duodenal ulcers (use aloe vera, slippery elm, and licorice, 90% of 108 patients healed with bee propolis)
  • Very good antioxidant because of phenol compounds – Protects against toxins

Dosage and Delivery:

Bee Propolis is available in different forms including lozenges, tinctures, gel caps, and oral sprays; also may be added to an herbal salve.

Use propolis as a whole substance, not as a fraction, i.e. one active ingredient.  Maximize benefits by taking on an empty stomach.

Propolis tinctures are 60-80% alcohol in order to extract the active ingredients (because it is very resinous).

Tincture:  For acute problems, use 1 ½ dropperfuls initially, diluted in room temperature or slightly warm water; then 1 dropperful every 4 hours for a total of 4 (up to 5 maximum) doses per day.  The tincture in water will turn cloudy, then yellow to brown.  Can also apply the tincture externally.  Bee propolis will stain the skin yellow-brown but this will gradually wash off.

Gelatin Capsules:  500 mg – Take 3 caps, 3 times per day or 4 caps, 2 times per day

Lozenge:  Chewable lozenge often combined with zinc gluconate (can take too much zinc if taken long term).  Sugar-free is best, but clients may complain of taste.

Throat Spray:  Use 2-3 times more what the manufacturer suggests.  Most throat sprays are fairly weak.  Not the best delivery form.

For an acute problem, take 1-2 days beyond absence of symptoms.  For a chronic problem, take 1 week beyond absence of symptoms.

Safety:

Low toxicity

Occasional contact dermatitis or oral inflammation

Use propolis from United States (propolis from Europe may contain lead)

When using for a sore, irritated, inflamed or strep throat, do not use a tincture without diluting (alcohol will irritate).  It would be better to use capsules (break apart so that the powder contacts throat area) or chew on raw bee propolis.

When using a tincture for burns, evaporate the alcohol before applying.

When using a tincture when candida is present, the alcohol must be evaporated because people with candida do not tolerate alcohol very well.

May also kill healthy yeast (Saccharomyces).  Take a good probiotic to protect good intestinal bacteria while taking bee propolis and for 7 days after its use.

Bee propolis is not beneficial to use during chemotherapy.  It can inhibit or decrease efficacy of chemotherapy/cancer killing therapies, because propolis is such a strong antioxidant, which aims to preserve the integrity of tissues.

When there is a long history of allergies or skin rashes, use with caution.

Stains the teeth (use chamomile to lighten color of teeth) and skin (like iodine) temporarily.

There is some concern with long term use because of the effect of resins on the kidneys – Be sure to use high quality bee propolis.

Miscellaneous Notes:

Primary Constituents

Rich concentration of bioflavonoids, including quercetin.

Contains calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, cobalt, and silica.

Phenols, waxes, resins

Caffeic acid esters, which are very volatile compounds that are absorbed very easily and tend to be water-soluble (anti-cancer, anti-tumor, slows or stops growth of cancer cells; anti-viral, anti-allergy; kidney, liver, and spleen stimulating)

Tones, heals, and strengthens epithelial tissue, which lines ducts, cavities, organs, and glands.  It is one of the two strongest substances for inflammation or irritation of epithelial tissue (the other is carotene).  This tissue is your first line of inner defense.  Epithelial tissue is involved in all infections, inflammations and immunological problems due to internal and external harmful agents.

All bee products can be taken together or in any combination (bee pollen, royal jelly, propolis).

Probiotics:  Always use refrigerated product.  It should have at least 1 million CFU’s (colony forming units).  Take probiotic with 1 to 2 oz. of milk or yogurt.  The lactose found in dairy is food for the bacteria.