Bee pollen is a mixture of flower pollen, nectar, enzymes, honey, wax and bee secretions.
Foraging honey bees collect pollen from plants and transport it to the beehive, where it’s stored and used as food for the colony.
Bee pollen shouldn’t be confused with other bee products such as honey, royal jelly or honeycomb. These products may not contain pollen or may contain other substances.
In fact, the Federal Ministry of Health in Germany recognizes bee pollen as a medicine (3Trusted Source).
Bee pollen contains over 250 biological substances, including protein, carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. The exact nutrient composition depends on the plant source and season collected.
Many studies have examined the health effects of bee pollen and found promising results.
Bee pollen granules consist of approximately (4):
Other substances: 5–15%
The latter category includes vitamins, minerals, antibiotics and antioxidants.
However, the pollen’s nutritional content depends on the plant source and season collected.
For instance, studies have shown that bee pollen collected from pine plants has approximately 7% protein, while pollen collected from date palm packs closer to 35% protein (2).
In addition, bee pollen harvested during springtime has a significantly different amino acid composition than pollen collected during the summer (2).
Bee pollen contains a wide variety of antioxidants, which may protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals that are linked to chronic diseases, including cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Bee pollen may help lower heart disease risk factors such as “bad” LDL cholesterol and lipid oxidation.
Studies have shown that bee pollen may alleviate several menopausal discomforts, including hot flashes. It may also improve cholesterol levels.
Bee pollen supplements are generally safe to consume. However, people with pollen or bee sting allergies, pregnant or lactating women and people taking blood thinners, such as warfarin, should avoid it.