Bee pollen supplements are believed to help relieve asthma, allergies, stomach issues, and rashes, among other health problems, although there isn't much clinical data at the present time to substantiate these benefits. However, there are numerous examples of people without insect allergies who've suffered from an allergic reaction after taking bee pollen supplements.

People with seasonal allergies, especially to pollen, can be at particularly high risk for experiencing a reaction to these nutritional supplements. While exposure to outdoor allergens typically triggers mild symptoms like congestion, itching, coughing, and sneezing, ingesting bee pollen supplements can cause more serious problems such as hives, swelling of the lips and throat, shortness of breath, and anaphylaxis.

Research on Bee Pollen Allergies

Despite the danger of an allergic reaction to supplements containing bee pollen, not many people know that the risk even exists. That's why a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, CMAJ, in May 2012 attempts to raise awareness about the prevalence of the problem. Researchers cite the results of a Greek research effort that conducted skin tests using bee pollen extracts on 145 participants with seasonal allergies. A full 73 percent of the patients had a positive reading to the test, indicating that they were at risk for experiencing a reaction to bee pollen supplements.

Protect Yourself

If you have seasonal allergies and are considering bee pollen supplements, talk to your doctor first and consider undergoing skin testing to make sure you won't be at risk for having a serious reaction. Also, be aware that bee pollen extract isn't only in supplements but can be contained in other products, including some lotions and cosmetics.

Other Dangers

Of course bee pollen isn't the only nutritional supplement that can cause a dangerous allergic reaction. For instance, taking fish oil supplements can also be risky for some allergy sufferers and in some cases, can be life threatening. Therefore, it's essential that before you try any nutritional supplements or alternative treatments, make it a point to read the ingredient labels and talk to your doctor to make sure it's safe for you.




Halevi, Shmuel. "Severe Allergic Reaction to Omega3 Fatty Acid Fish Oil Supplements: A Case Study." The Journal of Chinese Medicine." N.d. Web. 6 June 2012. "Ask The Experts." N.d. Web. 5 June 2012.

Jagdis, Amanda and Sussman, Gordon. "Anaphylaxis from bee pollen supplement." CMAJ. (Published online 22 May, 2012.) Web. 6 June 2012.