Around the holidays many people start planning on losing weight at the beginning of the New Year. There are many advertisements trying to persuade you to buy their product. One you might see is for bee pollen. Bee pollen has been touted by some as a natural weight loss supplement. Companies such as Zi Xiu Tang claim that bee pollen “eradicates fat” and “can change the figure of an overweight person.” With claims such as these it can be tempting to purchase these supplements, especially when they seem like a natural way to lose weight. But like most things, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
When bees return to the hive after a busy of work their body and legs carry pollen from flowers, which is called bee pollen and often includes nectar and bee saliva. This bee pollen is then collected and sold as a natural supplement. Bee pollen is considered a superfood by many because it contains natural sugars, vitamin C, fat, protein and carotenoids. Proponents claim the natural enzymes in bee pollen provide therapeutic benefits such as weight loss. Unfortunately, according the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, research does not support the bee pollen and weight loss theory. Most likely the enzymes are digested in our gastrointestinal tract before they have any beneficial effect.
In addition, bee pollen sold as a weight loss supplement may pose some health concerns. Producers of bee pollen such as Zi Xiu Tang and Ultimate Formula Bee Pollen have been contaminated with an appetite suppressor drug called sibutramine (Meridia). Sibutramine is no longer available in the U.S due to health concerns such as heart attack and stroke. Bee pollen can also pose health risks for pregnant women because it has uterine stimulant effects.
Many of us turn to supplements because they seem natural and a healthy alternative to medicine. But natural does not always mean safe. If you are considering taking a supplement talk to a medical professional. Remember a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains gives your body the necessary nutrients to perform at its peak and helps you achieve a healthy weight.