What's in Bee Pollen - Essential Amino Acids for Better Health?
Pollen collected from honeybees turns into a tremendously nutritionally-complete food containing large amounts of protein by weight, as well as many important vitamins and minerals. This substance, which provides all the protein in a bee's diet, also contains all the essential and some of the non-essential amino acids necessary for human life. Let's take a look at these bee pollen essential amino acids and their role in our health.
What Are Amino Acids?
Amino acids act as the building blocks from which the body creates proteins. There are 20 amino acids that are naturally incorporated into proteins, called the standard amino acids. Nine of these are considered to be essential, since the human body can't create them from any other substance. Without these essential amino acids, it's not possible to build all the proteins that humans need.
Bee Pollen Essential Amino Acids
The nine essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. Bee pollen contains all of these substances, making it a complete source of the necessary protein building blocks for good health, though normal doses may not be large enough to provide for full amino acid requirements.
These substances are responsible for a large number of essential bodily processes. For instance, histadine is responsible for encouraging proper digestion, tissue repair, red and white blood cell production, and keeping the body safe from heavy metal poisoning. It also is released shortly before histamine when an allergic reaction is occurring. Leucine regulates growth of skin, muscle and bone. It's also involved in HGH production and helps regulate energy levels and heal wounds.
Nonessential Amino Acids in Bee Pollen
In addition to the nine essential amino acids, bee pollen also contains nonessential ones. These include arginine, which works as an immune stimulant and helps in the production of both insulin and human growth hormone, making it vital for muscle growth. Bee pollen is also fairly high in aspartic acid, glutamic acid and proline. It can contain up to 19 total amino acids, which vary according to the plants from which the pollen was taken.
Recommended Daily Intake
The World Health Organization recommends that humans get 4 milligrams of tryptophan per kilogram of body weight. The recommended intake for histidine and methionine is about 10 mg/kg. You should also get about 15 mg/kg of threonine per day, 20 of isoleucine, about 25 of phenylalanine and valine, and 20 of lysine. The body requires more leucine than any other essential amino acid, at about 39 mg/kg daily. Infants need up to 150 percent of this level, while children three and up need at least 10 to 20 percent more than adults.
Bee pollen contains varying levels of these amino acids, depending on where it was harvested and to which plants the bees had access. On average, however, bee pollen contains between 1.6 percent and 7.5 percent of these important protein building blocks when measured by dry weight. That translates to between 4 and 25 milligrams per gram of dry pollen.
For a 150 pound, or 68 kilogram, person to get enough histidine from bee pollen alone, he or she would have to consume about 132 grams of pollen, or a little more than four and a half ounces. Since the usual dose of pollen is a bit more than 800 mg, it's hard to get a full day's amino acids from this natural supplement alone.
Of course, that doesn't mean that bee pollen can't help. Adding a little bit of this unique substance to your diet could help boost your amino acid intake, especially if you don't get all the important ones via food. That makes bee pollen supplements a possibility worth investigating.