Best Bee Pollen
Some bee pollen products are processed with natural enzymes from pineapples and chickpeas. I think that this treatment step makes the bee pollen product a lot more useful, and here are the reasons why. But in case the topic of bee pollen is new to you, I'll start with a brief explanation of what the product is.
What is Bee Pollen?
Bee pollen is a food for bees. Bee doesn't pollinate. Flowers do that. Bees just collect the pollen. But the pollen they carry back to the hive in special "sacks" on their legs helps feed the hive. Nectar and honey provide the sugars bees need for survival, and pollen provides protein and antioxidants. Depending on the species of plant the bees visit, pollen may be as much as 61% pure protein. Pollen-collecting bees (not the same as the nectar-collecting bees) go back to the same plants over and over again to get the right pollen with the right amount of protein for their hive's diet.
Bee hives usually can't use all the bee pollen the worker bees collect, so beekeepers devise special screens that scrape off just a little of the pollen the bee brings back every time the bee enters the hive. The beekeeper collects the excess pollen every few months. The antioxidants in the pollen keep it fresh.
I'll skip over the benefits of bee pollen in this post, because you can find a lot more about that elsewhere on this site. But let me tell you why it's useful to treat bee pollen with enzymes before bottling it as a nutritional supplement.
The Benefits of Enzyme-Treated Bee Pollen
Treating bee pollen with enzymes derived from pineapple (the source of bromelain) and cabbage and chickpeas (the source of aminopeptidases) help break down the protein into its constituent amino acids. The protein has to be digested into its constituent amino acids before your body can use it. These enzymes just save your stomach the work.
When the proteins are digested, the antioxidants are released. Treating bee pollen with enzymes releases about 50% per more antioxidant phenols than your own digestive processes would liberate from the same amount of bee pollen. Bee pollen treated with enzymes give your body an extra boost.
There is one more advantage to treating bee pollen with enzymes that really isn't relevant to the products from New Zealand, Australia, and New Zealand. Treating pollen with enzymes breaks down any proteins that come from genetically modified plants. That's not a problem for beekeepers in these Southern Hemisphere countries, but you really should look for enzyme treatment in any product bottled in North America.
- Marinova MD, Tchorbanov BP. Marinova MD, Tchorbanov BP. Preparation of antioxidant enzymatic hydrolysates from honeybee-collected pollen using plant enzymes. Enzyme Res. 2011 Jan 9;2010:415949.
- Reynaldi FJ, Lacunza J, Alippi AM, Rule R. Unión de los antibióticos tilosina, tilmicosina y oxitetraciclina a proteínas presentes en abejas, larvas y productos de la colmena de Apis mellifera L. Rev Argent Microbiol. 2010 Oct-Dec;42(4):279-83.