What does bee pollen do for allergies

In honeybees (Apis species) pollen is stored in the chambers of the hives.

What does bee pollen do for allergies

It differs from field gathered pollen as honey bee secretions induce a fermentation process, where biochemical transformations break below the walls of flower pollen grains and render the nutrients more readily available.[3]

Forager bees that collect pollen do not eat it themselves, since they stop producing the proteolytic enzymes necessary to digest it when they transition to foraging. The foragers unload the pollen they collect directly into open cells located at the interface between the brood and stored honey, creating a typical band of what is called bee bread – the substance which is the main food source for honey bee larvae and workers.

Foraging bees bring pollen back to the hive, where they pass it off to other worker bees, who pack the pollen into cells with their heads. During collection and possibly packing, the pollen is mixed with nectar and bee salivary secretions.[4] Bee pollen is the primary source of protein for the hive.[5]

Bees other than Apis typically form pollen into balls; these are primarily ground-nesting bees or twig-nesting bees, most of which are solitary, such as leafcutter bees.[6] With the leafcutter bee, as in most such bees, when the pollen ball is finish, the female lays an egg on top of the pollen ball, and seals the brood cell.

The egg hatches and the larva consumes the pollen directly; the pollen is not stored separately from the brood.[7] This method of pollen usage can also be seen in the wood-nesting bee species Xylocopa sulcatipes[8] and Xylocopa varipuncta.

Health Benefits

To date, scientific support for the health effects of bee pollen is fairly limited. However, there's some evidence that bee pollen may offer certain benefits. Here's a glance at several key findings from the available studies:


One of the most common uses for bee pollen is the management of seasonal allergies, such as hay fever.

It's thought that ingesting pollens will assist the body to build resistance to these potential allergens and, in turn, reduce allergy symptoms.

Although extremely few studies own tested the use of bee pollen as a remedy for seasonal allergies, some animal-based research indicates that bee pollen may provide anti-allergy effects.

A mice study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food showed bee pollen may inhibit activity in mast cells, a class of cells involved in releasing histamine in response to allergens and, as a result, triggering the symptoms associated with allergies.

While bee pollen shows promise for treating seasonal allergies, there is a lack of human studies to confirm its use as an allergy treatment.

Liver Health

Several animal studies show bee pollen hay assist protect the liver against damage and may even assist repair liver damage from alcoholism and drug use.


However, research in humans is needed to confirm these results before bee pollen can be recommended for lowering cholesterol.


In tests on rats, the study's authors sure that bee pollen may assist boost bone levels of calcium and phosphate and protect against osteoporosis-related bone loss.

Dosage and Preparation

Alternative health proponents recommend starting with 1/4 teaspoon dose gradually increasing up to 2 tablespoons a day, and watch for symptoms of an adverse reaction including itching, swelling, shortness of breath, light-headedness, and severe whole-body reactions.

Children should start with just a few granules.

Bee pollen can be sprinkled over cereals, yogurt, or oatmeal, added to homemade granola, or mixed into smoothies.

Bee pollen should be stored in a cool, dark put, love a pantry, refrigerator, or freezer, and kept out of direct sunlight.

What to Glance For

Widely available for purchase online, supplements containing bee pollen are sold in numerous natural-foods stores, drugstores, and stores specializing in dietary supplements.

Look for products that are every natural with no additives that own not been heated or dried, which can destroy its enzymes.

Other Questions

I'm allergic to bees.

Is it safe to use bee pollen?

It is not recommended that people with bee allergies take bee pollen as it may cause serious side effects, including anaphylaxis.

What does bee pollen taste like?

While individual tastes vary, bee pollen has a generally sweet and flowery taste but can be slightly bitter. Its texture is powdery.

A Expression From Verywell

If you're considering the use of bee pollen for a health condition, make certain to consult your physician first.

Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may own serious consequences.

Thanks for your feedback!

Despite claims about the allergy benefits of bee pollen, there are no studies supporting its efficacy. For some individuals it could create an allergic reaction with dangerous side-effects.

Have you seen this headline Bee Pollen Can Significantly Reduce or Eliminate Your Allergies? If so, you own probably also read the statements about a study reported in the Journal of Allergy that found 73% of patients with hay fever averaged a 75% improvement in their symptoms when given bee pollen.

What does bee pollen do for allergies

78% of patients with asthma averaged a 75% improvement after taking bee pollen. % of hay fever sufferers and % of asthmatics experienced a finish improvement on oral bee pollen supplements.

These are extremely impressive findings by anyones measure. There is only one problem. They are not true. There is no article in the Journal of Allergy that makes these statements. In fact, there is no study that shows the effectiveness of bee pollen on allergies.

On the contrary, there are numerous well documented cases of severe allergic reactions to bee pollen. Some own resulted in cases of life threatening analphylactic shock.

The theory behind the use of bee pollen to reduce allergic reactions is that they desensitize the immune system to the problem allergens much love allergy shots do. Unlike allergy shots, bee pollen taken by mouth delivers unpredicatable amounts of allergens that get digested. In addition, the thought of allergy shots is that they target the specific allergens to which the patient has been tested to be allergic.

Bee pollen is an unpredictable mixture of diverse pollens most of which are not the offending allergens. Basically, an allergic individual becomes allergic to the allergens they encounter in their daily life. Most of these allergens come from plants that use the wind to pollenate other plants.

What does bee pollen do for allergies

These allergens are characterized by high numbers and being light enough to stay in the air for an extended period of time. Excellent examples are ragweed and mountain cedar. Bees cross pollenate flowers and other plants that do not pollenate through the wind. Since most atopic individuals own extremely little exposure to the pollen from flowers or other bee pollenated plants, they do not own allergies to them.

Thus exposure to bee pollen is extremely unlikely to produce the correct allergens for desensitization.

It is also possible that the bee pollen mixture contains either cross allergens or the incorrect allergens in sufficient quantities to cause an adverse reaction. So unlike a controlled physician supervised program love in allergy shots, the use of bee pollen can result in an undesirable outcome.

There are several lessons to be learned from this situation.

First, it is extremely significant to double check every internet references. If you read it on the internet, there is probably a better chance that it will be untrue than true. The use of sites love , the site for National Jewish Hospital or the site from the Mayo Clinic is highly recommended. Generally, the information on these sites is peer reviewed and accurate.

Secondly, consider the source. A quick review of sites citing this bogus research on allergies and bee pollen indicates that most of them are selling or promoting bee pollen.

This is just a wild guess, but they may own a vested interest in providing a favorable opinion of their product.

In most cases the erroneous advice provided on the internet is relatively harmless. One might lose some money but that is about it.

What does bee pollen do for allergies

In this case, the adverse reactions for the allergic or asthmatic individual could own serious consequences.

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There is a widespread belief that eating local, unprocessed or "raw" honey can assist allergy symptoms by regularly exposing you to pollen — not unlike the concept of how allergy shots work. Allergy injections assist desensitize pollen-allergic people by exposing them to a specific pollen or pollen mixture injected at regular intervals. An significant difference here is that the pollen amounts in allergy injections are known, and progressively increasing to a certain level, for best results.

Studies own shown allergy shots are extremely effective for decreasing seasonal allergy symptoms. Local, unprocessed honey does contain little amounts of pollen from the environment.

What does bee pollen do for allergies

The pollen in honey is mostly from the flowers where bees are found (with flowering plant pollen less likely to cause allergy symptoms) and allergenic, airborne pollen from trees, grasses and weeds (not pollinated by bees!) in lesser amounts. Thus, the quantity of allergenic pollen in the honey is typically extremely little, as bees don’t intentionally incorporate this pollen into the honey. This is considered a contaminant, love the bee parts, mold spores, bacteria and other environmental particles that can be found in honey.

(Commercial processing seems to remove most pollen and contaminants.) There is no scientific proof that eating local honey will improve seasonal allergies.

What does bee pollen do for allergies

One study, published in in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, showed no difference among allergy sufferers who ate local honey, commercially processed honey, or a honey-flavored placebo. And in rare cases there might actually be a risk. In extremely sensitive individuals, the ingestion of unprocessed honey can result in an immediate allergic reaction involving the mouth, throat, or skin — such as itching, hives or swelling — or even anaphylaxis.

Such reactions may be related to either pollen or bee part contaminants.

Fermented pollen

Bee pollen is a ball or pellet of field-gathered flower pollen packed by worker honeybees, and used as the primary food source for the hive. It consists of simple sugars, protein, minerals and vitamins, fatty acids, and a little percentage of other components. Also called bee bread,[1] or ambrosia, it is stored in brood cells, mixed with saliva, and sealed with a drop of honey.[2] Bee pollen is harvested as food for humans, with various health claims, one of them being that the fermentation process makes it much more potent than simple flower pollen.[3]

Possible Side Effects

Serious allergic reactions to bee pollen own been reported, including potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis.

Symptoms can include itching, swelling, shortness of breath, light-headedness, and severe whole-body reactions.

These reactions occurred with little amounts of bee pollen (i.e., less than one teaspoon). Most of these case reports involved people with known allergies to pollen. If you own a pollen allergy, it's crucial to take caution and consult your physician prior to consuming bee pollen.


Taking bee pollen with warfarin (Coumadin) might result in an increased chance of bruising or bleeding.


What does bee pollen do for allergies