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Bee pollen consists of bee saliva and enzymes, mixed with pollen that the bees have brought back to the hive on their bodies. The bees pack the pollen into granules; honey and nectar are sometimes added to the granules. Bee pollen contains small amounts of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Bee pollen will vary from batch to batch and by location, because the pollen component will be unique to the plants the bees have visited. If pollen is collected from residential or farming areas where pesticides and other chemicals are used, these will remain in the final product.
Bee pollen may be confused with honey, honeycomb, propolis, royal jelly, and bee venom, though none of these products contain bee pollen. Propolis is a resinous mixture of tree sap, leaves, and botanical matter that bees use to seal small cracks in the hive; royal jelly is secreted by worker bees and fed to bee larva and the queen bee.
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This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
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One small study found that 2 tablets twice daily of a dietary supplement containing bee pollen extract and royal jelly may decrease PMS symptoms including water retention, weight gain, and irritability.
One small study conducted over two menstrual cycles found that 2 tablets twice daily of a dietary supplement containing 36 mg of bee pollen extract, 120 mg of bee pollen plus pistil extract, and 6 mg of royal jelly may decrease PMS symptoms including edema (water retention), weight gain, and irritability.
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In prostatitis patients, preliminary research has found that bee pollen may improve symptoms in some men.
One open label study of 82 prostatitis patients without complicating anatomical issues-urethral stricture, bladder neck stenosis, or prostatic mineral deposits (calculi)-found that 3 daily doses of Cernilton, a proprietary bee pollen blend, completely resolved or significantly improved symptoms in 78% of the men. In the 18 participants with complicating anatomical issues, only 1 reported improvement, suggesting the treatment is most effective for men with simple, uncomplicated prostatitis. A blind, controlled trial of 58 men found that a proprietary bee pollen blend called Prostat/Poltit led to improvement or cure of prostatitis in 73% of those receiving the supplement, compared with 36% of men receiving a placebo.
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1. 1. Chantarudee A, Phuwapraisirisan P, Kimura K, Okuyama M, Mori H, Kimura A, Chanchao C. Chemical constituents and free radical scavenging activity of corn pollen collected from Apis mellifera hives compared to floral corn pollen at Nan, Thailand. BMC Complement Altern Med 2012;12:45.
2. Koç AN, Silici S, Kasap F, Hörmet-Oz HT, Mavus-Buldu H, Ercal BD. Antifungal activity of the honeybee products against Candida spp. and Trichosporon spp. J Med Food 2011;14:128-34.
3. Nakajima Y, Tsuruma K, Shimazawa M, Mishima S, Hara H. Comparison of bee products based on assays of antioxidant capacities. BMC Complement Altern Med 2009;9:4.
4. Sarić A, Balog T, Sobocanec S, Kusić B, Sverko V, Rusak G, Likić S, Bubalo D, Pinto B, Reali D, Marotti T. Antioxidant effects of flavonoid from Croatian Cystus incanus L. rich bee pollen. Food Chem Toxicol 2009;47:547-54.
5. Tichy J, Novak J. Detection of antimicrobials in bee products with activity against viridans streptococci. J Altern Complement Med 2000;6:383-9.
Last Review: 06-08-2015
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2017.
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