Bee Pollen and Multiple Sclerosis: The Possible Benefits
Many cultures have used bee pollen as a traditional medicine in the past, and still do so today. The pollen contains minerals and vitamins, trace elements, protein and amino acids. The supplement is claimed to help the speeding up of wound healing and boosting of the immune system, and to ease constipation and improve athletic performance. It also contains antioxidant properties.
A Russian journal called Vrach Delo published a study that was done in 1990 in connection with bee pollen and multiple sclerosis. It found that the bee pollen helped in strengthening the immune systems of people suffering with MS while taking it together with two other medications, namely Proper-Myl and Prednisolone.
There are not enough information and research studies that have been done though, to properly see what the effects are in connection with bee pollen and multiple sclerosis. More research must be done so as to definitely recommend using bee pollen for this disease.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is also known as MS. It is a disease of a person's central nervous system, and affects their optic nerves, spinal cord and brain. Nerves have a protective cover called the myelin, and MS occurs when the immune system of a person starts to destroy this protective cover.
When this myelin sheath becomes damaged, the nerve impulses then become impaired. This will subsequently cause MS symptoms. These symptoms could include problems with balance and walking, bowel and bladder dysfunction, cognitive disturbances, pain and fatigue. No-one knows exactly what causes MS, but it may have genetic, environmental and immunologic components.
Multiple sclerosis has no cure, but it can certainly be helped with medications, cognitive rehabilitation and occupational therapy. Depending on a person's symptoms and severity of their MS, their treatments can differ at various stages in their life.
The actual meaning of multiple sclerosis stems from the many areas of sclerosis (or scarring) that represent numerous patches of the demyelination within a person's nervous system.
Symptoms such as clumsiness, visual changes, fatigue, weakness and abnormal or reduced sensations could appear on their own or in whatever combination, be it severe or mild.
The symptoms will usually be experienced for an unpredictable period of time. Multiple sclerosis will often slowly worsen over time, but there will be periods of remission that will alternate with debilitating flare-ups.
Brain fog also occurs with problems in focusing and thinking. Fatigue is most often experienced. It has been found that the symptoms of MS are more common during the warmest and coldest months of the year.
What is Bee Pollen?
As bees fly from flowers to flowers to gather nectar for the honey, pollen from the plants will stick to their hairs of their bodies. The back legs of the bees also have a pollen sac which also collects the pollen.
A bit of this collected pollen will also be transferred while the bee moves from one flower to another. This is called cross-pollination, and thus the bees help with producing more fruits and flowers.
Once they are back in their hives, the bees eat the honey and pollen for food. Commercial pollen is got when the commercially raised bees return after their day's work and some pollen gets trapped in a specially designed screen. The beekeepers will then collect this pollen for commercial sale. Bee pollen can be bought as a source of minerals, vitamins, hormones, enzymes and dietary supplement and can be purchased in health-food stores and online.
Bee Venom and Multiple Sclerosis
Bee venom used as medicine has been used for thousands of years. The first civilization that tried bee venom was the Egyptians of old.
Today though, the medical use of the bee venom remains somewhat clouded, and the evidence is both for as well as against the medical benefits.
Apamin is a component that is found within the venom of bee and is thought to intensify nerve transmission.
Studies of bee venom and apamin have not been convincing with regards the efficacy of the bee venom to treat neurological disorders.
Twenty six patients with relapsing-secondary or relapsing-remitting progressive MS were put on a 24 week course. Half of the patients were given treatment with bee venom while the other half received no venom.
Live bees administered their bee sting therapy three times every week. No noteworthy reduction in the patients symptoms was evidenced during the study. There was no reduction in fatigue, disability, or activity and there was no improvement in the quality of the patients lives. However, bee venom is being used more and more to treat multiple sclerosis.
Multiple Sclerosis and Bee Stings
Bee venom therapy is considered an alternative treatment known as apitherapy. This refers to any treatment that uses not only bee stings and bee venom but other bee products as well such as royal jelly, propolis and bee pollen.
Apitherapy is not a recent type of treatment as ancient Egyptians used bee by products for treating arthritis and other health related conditions. Hopefully these past therapies will provide some insight into treating diseases such as MS.
In venom therapy, the sting of a live bee is used for injecting the venom into the patient who has MS in hopes of relieving muscle weakness and pain and improving body coordination.
Adolapin and melittin are two compounds found within bee venom that researchers believe could induce the body into naturally releasing healing compounds for reducing inflammation and pain. This is why bee venom treatment is being used in the hopes of it helping MS sufferers.
Bee pollen and multiple sclerosis: Speak to a doctor first
Consuming bee pollen has other benefits including treating high blood pressure, treating brain damage and cerebral hemorrhage, and memory loss improvement.
It also is thought to have antitoxin, anti-oxidant, antidepressant and anti-bacterial properties. These benefits though, remain unproven within the scientific community.
Bee pollen is meant to be taken only as a supplement and should not replace any treatments that have been prescribed by a doctor. Bee pollen might not be able to be taken by everyone, and before consuming it a doctor's advice should be sought.
A person could be at risk if they have allergic rhinitis or any allergy histories. To determine if bee pollen will be safe to take, a doctor must be told about allergies that a person has.