I am thinking about getting pregnant in the near future, and I heard I should not take bee pollen unless my doctor says to. Is it wrong to take it? What are the facts?
If you don’t have allergies and you’re a diligent consumer who does her homework on the products she buys, it may very well be safe to take bee pollen while you’re pregnant. It might be safe and beneficial, or it might not. We have no hard evidence of health benefits and no assurance that it won’t harm you and the fetus. “Probably not” is miles away from “definitely not” when it comes to pregnancy.
Bee pollen is categorized as a food supplement, and as such, is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Essentially, that means manufacturers can sell it without scientifically proving its touted benefits. They can’t make specific medicinal claims or promises — for example, “bee pollen fights cancer.” But they can make general claims and leave the consumer to infer the rest.
Over the years, many health benefits have been ascribed to bee pollen, including that it boosts energy and stamina, fights infection, aids weight loss, prevents premature aging and many more. It’s also said to be rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and other nutrients.
The fact is that none of the medicinal claims has been scientifically validated and the composition of bee pollen products is extremely variable. That doesn’t necessarily mean the claims of its therapeutic value are untrue, just that they haven’t been proven. Some experts argue that the lack of evidence demonstrates that there isn’t any therapeutic value.
The quality of different products may also vary. If you want to take bee pollen, your best bet is to contact several companies that sell it and ask what measures they take to ensure that the product is not contaminated. Also ask for detailed descriptions of how it’s produced and what kinds of plant pollen may be included. Because it contains plant pollens and nectars, there is a risk of allergic reaction.
Consider that you can get bee pollen’s alleged nutritional benefits from other food sources, and weigh what we know against what we don’t know about the supplement. I suggest erring on the side of caution. Pass on the pollen while you’re pregnant and breast-feeding. But, the choice is yours.