Bee pollen may be consumed by eating the granules or in capsule form. Bee pollen has been claimed to enhance energy, health, and immune system function. One particular study examined the effects of a bee pollen supplement on swimmers.
20 adolescent swimmers participated in the study, all of which engaged in daily swimming training. The participants used either the bee pollen supplement or a placebo supplement for 6 weeks while continuing to engage in their regular training. Both the placebo group and the group consuming bee pollen increased their VO2 max, likely just as a result of training. The bee pollen group increased their vital capacity, or the amount of air that can be breathed out after inhaling as deeply as possible, while the placebo group showed no difference in this area. The group using bee pollen also experienced much less upper respiratory infections than the placebo group only experiencing 4 days of missed training due to an upper respiratory tract infection versus 27 missed days in the placebo group.
Bee pollen may be beneficial for athletes, and in this case the swimmers would also benefit because of missing less days of training due to infection. Anecdotally, there is also many reports of increased subjective energy due to consuming bee pollen, which could also potentially increase performance during athletic activities. This is just a bit of information supporting the use of bee pollen as a sports supplement, but it does not cover all of the areas in which bee pollen could potentially aid performance.
Maughan RJ, & Evans SP. (1982). Effects of pollen extract upon adolescent swimmers. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 16(3), 142-5.
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