J Sci Food Agric. 2016 Mar 25
Natural goods, including bee products, are particularly appreciated by consumers and are used for therapeutic purposes as alternative drugs. However, it is not known whether treatments with bee products are safe and how to minimize the health risks of such products.
Among others, bee pollen is a natural honeybee product promoted as a valuable source of nourishing substances and energy. Health-enhancing value of bee pollen is expected due to the wide range of secondary plant metabolites (tocopherol, niacin, thiamine, biotin and folic acid, polyphenols, carotenoid pigments, phytosterols), besides enzymes and coenzymes, contained in bee pollen. The promising reports on the anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cariogenic anti-bacterial, anti-fungicidal, hepatoprotective, anti-atherosclerotic, immune enhancing potential require long-term and large cohort clinical studies.
The main difficulty in application of bee pollen in modern phytomedicine is related to the wide species-specific variation in its composition. Therefore, the variations may differently contribute to bee-pollen properties and biological activity and thus in therapeutic effects.
In principle, we can unequivocally recommend bee pollen as a valuable dietary supplement. Although the bee-pollen components have potential bioactive and therapeutic properties, extensive research is required before bee pollen can be used in therapy.