Bee Pollen Vitamins - Vitamin Content of Bee Pollen
Bee pollen is the natural nutritional booster for honey. Bee pollen protein and bee pollen vitamins give honeybees the raw materials their bodies need to feed on the nectar in plants and to share the surplus with the hive to make honey.
Bee pollen vitamins contain every known vitamin as well as some useful plant chemicals that are not technically "vitamins." Bee pollen is especially rich in three B vitamins:
- Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin,
- Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, and
- Vitamin B5, also known as panthothenic acid.
Bee pollen contains vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E (various tocopherols and tocotrienols), and vitamin K (phylloquinone) in amounts large enough to make a difference in human nutrition. It also contains vitamin D and vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) in traces that really are not enough for dietary supplementation. Although bee pollen is a plant food, not an animal-derived food, and acceptable in many vegan diets, it really does not contain enough vitamin B12 to be used as a B12 supplement by vegans and vegetarians. More about bee pollen and vitamin B12
Pollen is especially important to bee when they in the larval stage, just hatched from the egg. The protein and vitamins provided by bee pollen at this time are "brain food." Hives that are especially rich in pollen stores raise bees that have exceptional ability to locate flowering plants with the highest nutritional value.
Beekeepers know that bees need pollen, too, and make sure to leave enough for healthy hives. The best bee pollen is quickly processed, preferably within just a few hours under cool to cold conditions, to preserve vitamin and antioxidant content.
Bee pollen is also a good source of antioxidants. The most powerful antioxidants in bee pollen are plant compounds that are not found in other foods. The human body digests these antioxidants to release cinnamic, cafeic, and quinic acids that are potent free radical fighters both inside and outside cells in the human body. Japanese researchers studying Brazilian bee products have found that:
- Propolis contains about 10 times the antioxidant power of bee pollen.
- Bee pollen contains about 10 times the antioxidant power of royal jelly by providing many antioxidants in addition to vitamins C and E.
- Royal jelly contains about the same antioxidant power as vitamins C and E.
This means that if you are looking for antioxidant power, rather than vitamins, you would choose a propolis. If you are looking for both antioxidants and vitamins, then you would choose bee pollen. Bee pollen contains many more antioxidants than just vitamins C and E, but it also contains the vitamins in useful doses. Royal jelly is used for enzymes and natural immune globulins that reduce inflammation and fight infection but not for its contributions to nutrition.
Which Bee Pollen is Best?
If it were possible to process bee products gathered in the Amazon rain forest as soon as they were harvested, I'd actually recommend a Brazilian bee pollen product. Tropical honeybees as well as the tropical flowers on which they feed create massive amounts of antioxidants and vitamins to fight aggressive tropical bacteria.
The problem is that the bee pollen collected in Brazil has to be stored under conditions of high heat and humidity before it is used to make supplements, and part of the antioxidants and vitamins in the product is used to stop decay.
Instead, I recommend New Zealand and American bee pollen products that are collected and used the same day under stringent sanitary conditions.
- Paulino N, Teixeira C, Martins R, Scremin A, Dirsch VM, Vollmar AM, Abreu SR, de Castro SL, Marcucci MC. Evaluation of the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of a Brazilian green propolis. Planta Med. 2006;72:899-906. doi: 10.1055/s-2006-947185.
- Souza RM, de Souza MC, Patitucci ML, Silva JF. Evaluation of antioxidant and antimicrobial activities and characterization of bioactive components of two Brazilian propolis samples using a pKa-guided fractionation. Z Naturforsch [C] 2007;62:801-807.