Bee Pollen Research Studies: What can we Learn From Them?

There really haven’t been very many bee pollen research studies conducted. Certainly not enough to absolutely prove that bee pollen is as beneficial as many claim.

But have these studies removed the aura of intrigue surrounding the use of bee pollen?

Not really…

Bee Pollen Antioxidants

Pharmaceutical University in Gifu, Japan, found bee pollen to exhibit “strong antioxidant effects.”

Interestingly, though, this study found another product of the hive, propolis, to be an even stronger antioxidant.

study: PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine

Pollen Extract as Treatment for Enlarged Prostate

Researchers in the Department of Urology at the University Hospital of Wales performed a double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 60 men.

The goal of the study was to find a medical treatment for BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia) that would not incur the side effects of current treatments.

The study involved treating the patients with a pollen extract.

The results were promising.

69% of the patients treated with the pollen extract showed significant improvement, compared to just 30% of the group receiving placebos.

Additionally, residual urine in the patients receiving the pollen extract was significantly decreased, as was the antero-posterior diameter of the prostate as shown by ultrasound scans. 

study: PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine

Can Bee Pollen Help With Allergies?

Bee pollen research performed at the Juntendo University School of Medicine in Tokyo administered daily doses of bee pollen to mice in an effort to isolate anti-allergic compounds in bee pollen.

The study was successful in isolating a compound called genistien, but found that genistien alone was not as effective as whole bee pollen.

Perhaps most significantly, this study indicated that bee pollen can exert an anti-allergic action at a cellular level. 

study: PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine

Can Bee Pollen Help to Improve Athletic Performance?

Nope. At least not according to a study reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

In this study, a group of 20 adolescent swimmers was administered pollen extract over a six-week period. The study indicated no difference in the amount of maximum oxygen intake between the placebo group and the group receiving the bee pollen extract.

Interestingly, though, the group receiving the pollen extract missed fewer training days (4 days missed) due to problems with upper respiratory tract infections than the placebo group (27 days missed). 

study: PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine

Could Bee Pollen be a Tool in the Fight Against Cancer?

Bee pollen is very popular in China, both as an herbal medicine and as a natural food supplement.

Bee pollen research conducted by the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China set out to explore whether bee pollen’s reputation as a natural cancer-fighting medicine might be based in fact.

This particular study focused on bee pollen from the Brassica Campestris L. plant (Chinese Cabbage), and specifically, an extract from the bee pollen.

After observing the effect of the extract upon cancer cells, the study concluded that this bee pollen extract might indeed be a “promising candidate for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer.” 

study: PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine

More Bee Pollen Research is Needed

For the most part, the bee pollen studies presented on this page are small studies which do not conclusively prove that bee pollen lives up to the benefits that are often attributed to it.

More studies are needed, and hopefully will be forthcoming in future years.

But we do know that bee pollen is among the most nutritious of foods.

Considering that, it's safe to say that the bee pollen facts that have been documented by the small-scale bee pollen studies conducted so far – while not absolutely proving that bee pollen is beneficial – are, at least, intriguing.

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