Bee Pollen for Kids
Bee pollen is often said to be a superfood. The claim is a little exaggerated. Sure, bee pollen contains every vitamin known to nutritional science, but it's really not a good source of vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) and vitamin D (cholecalciferol).
Bee pollen contains all the mineral elements needed for healthy kids, but no child (and no adult, for that matter) will ever eat enough bee pollen to equal the calcium in a glass of milk or even in a nice spinach salad. Bee pollen contains all the essential amino acids, although it's not the only source of protein anyone would ever need.
Bee pollen is best considered as a nutritional insurance policy. It contains everything the body needs in at least tiny amounts. Taking bee pollen will provide the nutrients needed on those days fast food replaces home cooked food or parents or kids forget their supplements. Nutritionally, bee pollen is the icing on the sugar-free cake. But bee pollen contains one other ingredient that helps fight allergies in children, teens, and adults alike.
Bee Pollen for Allergies in Children
Bee pollen is a great source of the plant chemical quercetin. Bee pollen, it is easy to forget, is actually a plant food itself. Bee pollen is the pollen bees gather from the flowers they visit. Bees are not capable of creating pollen themselves!
Plants pack their pollen with the antioxidant compound quercetin to keep it viable until it falls into the pistil of a flower to make a seed. Since only one grain of pollen is needed to pollinate each pistil (in most cases), the vast majority of pollen grains simply float off into the air unless they are gathered by bees. Millions of grains of pollen filled with quercetin are available to bees, animals, and people to support immune nutrition.
Quercetin works against allergies as an antihistamine. Histamine triggers allergic reactions. The linings of the respiratory passages have mast cells that contain tiny sacs of pre-formed histamine that break open when they come in contact with an allergy-provoking agent.
Quercetin keeps the packets of histamine from breaking open. Most antihistamine medications do the same thing by dulling the nerves to the cells that contain the histamine. This stops allergies, but at the expense of slowing down the whole nervous system.
Quercetin only acts on the mast cells. It stops allergies without stopping activity and attention. And there is no better source of quercetin than pollen itself.
But Is Bee Pollen Safe for Children?
Is it safe to use pollen to fight pollen allergies?
The benefit of bee pollen in fighting allergies is that the pollen bees collect is not the same pollen to which you or your child is allergic. If you are buying New Zealand Bee Pollen. gathered from manuka bushes, for example, and you or your child is allergic to ragweed in Nebraska, the bee pollen product won't cause an allergy because it does not contain the specific pollens to which you or your child is allergic. Locally gathered honey, ironically, sometimes does cause allergic reactions because it is gathered from plants which are the most likely to cause you or your child's personal allergy symptoms. A commercial bee pollen product from the other side of the world will not cause you allergies. It just provides anti-allergenic quercetin.(Read more about bee pollen for allergies.)
There are foods, of course, that are rich in quercetin. Raw onions, especially the peels, are very high in this plant compound. Apple peels (where the pesticides collect) are high in quercetin, too. And don't forget the white in grapefruit and lemon zest!
But you really can't eat enough of these vegetable peelings to make a difference, nor should you try. The simplest supplement for fighting allergies in children and adults is natural bee pollen, preferably from a country other than the one in which you live.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is there any value to eating locally produced honey to fight allergies?
A. Yes, but it's due to the quercetin content, not to the pollen in the honey. All kinds of honey are more or less equally effective for fighting allergies, but bee pollen is much more effective.
Q. Can bee pollen ever cause allergies itself?
A. There are a very few cases of bee pollen allergies reported in the medical literature. All of them have involved a child being fed bee pollen collected from local plants to which the child is allergic. Ragweed and related plants are the major problems. New Zealand bee pollen and Brazilian bee pollen will not contain pollens to which users in North America and Europe are allergic.
Q. How can I get my child interested in taking bee pollen?
A. Make smoothies! Simply add a spoon of bee pollen to a fruit juice smoothie. Just add the bee pollen after you pour the drink from the blender. Any bitterness in the pollen will stay in the pollen if it is added after the smoothie is blended. Bee pollen can also be added to peanut butter or chocolate for children who are not sensitive to these foods.
Q. Can bee pollen cause kidney problems?
A. There has been one case report of a 49-year-old man who developed kidney issues after using a Chinese brand of bee pollen that is frequently contaminated with prescription drugs. All of the products recommended from this site of free of pharmaceuticals.