Pollen is a natural substance with recognized properties just like honey. It is indicated for its anti-inflammatory action on the digestive system and the nervous system because it increases intellectual capacities, and on the metabolism in general through its energizing, rebalancing and detoxifying action. Considered by Anglo-Saxon countries as “super-food”, its richness in vitamins, minerals and micro-nutrients gives pollen a significant place in nutrition.
Pollen is the male reproductive organ of plants and trees with spermaphytic flowers. The grains of pollen being inert, to reach the stigmas of new plants, they need external factors such as wind, insects, birds, bats. It is at this stage that the bee plays a primordial role. Even if they prefer to forage on the nectar of a flower and forgot its pollen, their role as pollinator will be fulfilled thanks to the grains of pollen accidentally transported in their hairs. Sometimes, too, the pollen supplied by a flower is not rich or nourishing enough and is therefore abandoned by the bees in favor of other pollinators that are less demanding. As with pollen, bees prefer to forage on flowers that deliver small volumes of nectar but high in sucrose, rather than flowers that provide large amounts of nectar but low in sugar.
Some flowers provide bees exclusively with pollen (hazelnut, poppy, black elderberry...), others with both pollen and nectar (evodia, bramble, chestnut, phacelia, dandelion...), still others especially nectar (lavender, linden, wild mallow...). In fact, the choice of flowers foraged by bees depends mainly on the needs of the colony and of course, on the choice offered by the environment. The best weather conditions for an optimal collection of pollen and nectar are: temperatures between 21 and 26 ° C, high atmospheric humidity, sun and no wind.
Sometimes it is very difficult to recognize the origin of the multicolored balls brought back by the bees, because the same color can come from different plants or flowering trees. Climatic conditions and the age of the flower visited can also change the color of the pollen. Thus, a white pollen can be cream or light yellow when it is wet. Hazelnut, for example, depending on the age of the flower and the type of hazelnut tree, may produce pollen ranging from cream in color to brownish yellow, passing through a yellowish gray.
The properties of pollen
The antioxidant activity of pollen lies in its power to scavenge free radicals and inhibit lipid peroxidation. This antioxidant activity has a major role in the health of cells. Patrice Percie du Sert, agricultural engineer and professional beekeeper, and his team evaluated the antioxidant capacity of 5 of their fresh monofloral pollens through the ORAC test (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity). They also rated 7 common fruits and vegetables in our diet. It turns out that the antioxidant power of different fresh pollens whatever they are and is clearly superior to fruits and vegetables: "15 or 20 grams of pollen in the morning are the equivalent of 900 grams of broccoli" for example [Percie du Sert , 2009].
Pollen has an angiostatic action; it could constitute an interesting therapeutic agent in the treatment and prevention of proangiogenic diseases [Izuta et al. , 2009].
3. Organoprotective and anti-carcinogenic
Pollen, according to several studies, is endowed with an organoprotective power directly linked to its antioxidant properties. For example, mice fed pollen expressed less tumor factors and necrotizing proteins in the liver compared to mice on a normal diet. The anti-carcinogenic effect is due to the phenolic compounds present in the pollen. Indeed, their antioxidant property gives pollen cytotoxic properties against many tumors [Morais et al., 2011].
In addition to their antioxidant properties, flavonoids and carotenoids give pollen a notable anti-inflammatory activity. These anti-inflammatory effects have been confirmed in clinical tests in benign prostatic hypertrophy. They consisted of polyfloral pollen supplementation for 12 weeks against a placebo. Symptoms due to inflammation of the prostate significantly regressed in the group that received pollen [Rzepecka-Stojko et al., 2015].
5. Antimicrobial and antifungal
Some lactobacilli possessing antagonistic activity against pathogenic bacteria and fungi have been identified in fresh pollen: Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactococcus lactis, Pediococcus acidilactici, Pediococcus pentosaceus. It should be kept in mind that these lactobacilli are not naturally present in the pollen but the result of the work of the bee which brings them via their saliva. Hence the interest of pollen in restoring the intestinal flora [Belhadj et al., 2014].
Several studies have demonstrated its stimulating action of bone anabolism. It has been demonstrated in vitro that when bone tissues are cultured for 48 hours in a medium containing pollen (pollen from Cistus ladaniferus), the calcium content of the tissues of the femoral shaft and metaphysis increase significantly. These results are reinforced by an in vivo study which consisted in supplementing the rats with aqueous extracts of pollen at several concentrations for 7 days. The calcium concentration was once again significantly increased in the femur of these rats [Masayoschi Yamaguchi, 2006].
It was in 1965 that the term "probiotic" was born and designates "substances produced by microorganisms which promote the growth of other microorganisms". Probiotics are living microorganisms, which when consumed in sufficient quantities, improve the health of the host by having a balancing action on the intestinal flora. Fresh pollen, rich in lactic ferments helps rebuild the microbiota in certain pathologies and prevents the effects of antibiotic therapy [Belhadj et al., 2014].
The immunostimulatory activity of pollen is due to several factors. First of all, it has been shown that the polysaccharide fractions originating from pollen are capable of stimulating immunological activity by increasing the activity of macrophages [Morais et al., 2011]. Its immunostimulating role derives from its probiotic properties. The majority of immune cells located in the intestines, by maintaining the intestinal flora it improves immunity. Contrary to what one might think, pollen has antiallergic activity. It is important to remember that there is a difference between pollen in the air and that brought to the hive by bees. In fact, anemophilic pollens, carried by the wind, are allergenic. Entomophilic pollens are collected and processed by the bee and do not have allergenic power. They are the result of evolution: plants have developed attractive pollens to attract pollinating insects. These pollens are food-safe and present few risks for a person who is allergic to wind pollen [Percie du Sert, 2009].
The composition of coenzyme Q10 (coQ10) would give the pollen anti-aging properties. This enzyme, also called ubiquinone, is present mainly in the mitochondria and participates in the respiratory chain. According to some studies, it has an antioxidant role and protects against cellular aging. This suppressive action of oxidative stress would contribute to the prevention of inflammatory reactions linked to age. By extrapolation, its presence in pollen would provide an anti-aging action on cells [T. Yoneda et al., 2013].
10. Anti-asthenic, fortifying
Pollen is an excellent food supplement to fight against iron deficiency anemia, growth retardation or in a state of sarcopenia. It will improve on the one hand the absorption of minerals, reduce inflammatory phenomena and on the other hand stimulate protein synthesis leading to a resumption of beneficial cellular activities explaining the role of strengthening by promoting weight gain [Di Pasquale et al., 2013; Villanueva et al., 2002].
11. Anti-atherogenic and cardiovascular protector
Pollen lowers cholesterol thanks to its richness in phytosterols. According to Liusov et al. in 1992, a pollen-based diet would fight against cardiovascular risks by normalizing cholesterol and triglycerides. Indeed, pollen being a high-calorie and high-protein food, its satietogenic effect is able to fight against obesity, the main marker of cardiovascular risk.
The antidepressant effect of pollen is partly based on its composition in tryptophan (precursor of serotonin) as well as its antioxidant capacities. Tryptophan is one of the 8 essential amino acids and is the precursor to serotonin and melatonin. Its increase in concentration in the brain increases the release of serotonin which has an essential role in the regulation of anxiety, appetite, sleep and mood in general. This increase in cerebral serotonin therefore results in a decrease in arousal and anxiety.
It is obvious that pollen cannot be the treatment of depression, however, as a dietary supplement, it can play a role in the regulation of mild depressive states and mild and transient anxiety but also as an adjunct to antidepressant treatment.
Fresh Chestnut Pollen and its main benefits
Chestnut pollen is one of the most antioxidants. According to the ORAC test [Percie du Sert, 2009], it should be noted that 15g of this pollen is equivalent to 6 bags of green tea.
Chestnut pollen lowers bad cholesterol (LDL), thereby reducing the risk of atheromatous plaque formation. Its richness in antioxidant polyphenols but especially in phytosterols, helps to reduce the accumulation of fats and also reduces lipid oxidation. One of the main cardiovascular risk factors is excess weight. Some studies show that pollen can actively participate in weight regulation. It is high protein and high in calories, which gives it a satietogenic power that allows the reduction of snacking cravings, and its moderate Glycemic Index makes it an ally in the context of the diet. It is a source of energy, protein, fiber, probiotics, vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants while being low in fat and sodium. In addition to its interest in the undernourished person, its usefulness in the diet of an obese individual to reduce cardiovascular risk factors is just as much.
Menopause and antidepressant
Supplementation with chestnut pollen could alleviate the undesirable effects of the onset of menopause such as hot flashes by the presence of phytoestrogens and in particular thanks to genistein, a major phytoestrogen [ITAL, 2016; Percie du Sert, 2009]. The action of Chestnut Pollen, the most antioxidant, is even more remarkable with regard to the protection of long-term post-menopausal effects (in the vast majority of cases of osteoporosis). This pollen is therefore the best way to supplement postmenopausal women to provide them with a large daily dose of protective antioxidants.
With a cure of Chestnut Pollen we can also alleviate stress and mood disorders, in particular irritability and mild depression, very often associated with menopause symptoms. In addition to postmenopausal women, this effect can be extrapolated to any patient suffering from mild depression or on antidepressant treatment in order to enhance the effects [Percie du Sert, 2009]. However, we should avoid advising this pollen to women who have suffered from cancer or hormonal dependent pathologies because of the very controversial effects of phytoestrogens.
Prevention of certain cancers and hepatoprotection
Chestnut pollen has a definite effect in the protection against cancer, in particular breast cancer. Indeed, it is known that diet and lifestyle play an essential role in the development of cancer. The richness of chestnut pollen in antioxidants helps to reduce oxidative phenomena, a key factor in carcinogenesis and in cell death [Rundstedt et al., 2015]. This antioxidant power makes Chestnut pollen a very special ally for liver protection. Complementation will promote the regeneration of liver cells and their detoxification [Bee-hexagon, 2011; Yildiz et al., 2013].
Discover our fresh chestnut pollen, collected in Ardèche in July 2020: