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Bee Pollen for Children

By Julie Burns

Bee saliva mixed with plant pollens may not sound like much, but the benefits of taking this elixir—bee pollen—may tempt you to try these small dust pellets. Bee pollen is gaining attention as a natural health supplement, with a long list of supposed benefits. Parents may wonder if providing bee pollen to kids is advisable. It may be, although children allergic to bee pollen should not be exposed to it.

Basics

Bee pollen is one of several products produced by bees that can be taken as a health supplement. It is the mix of male worker bees’ saliva, pollen that they take from plants and plant nectar. It is harvested as small dust pellets, but artificial bee pollen can also be manufactured. Bee pollen can be found with other health supplements.

Benefits

Touted benefits of bee pollen range from helping with prostate enlargement in men to increasing the efficacy of chemotherapy in cancer treatment. Obviously, not all of these benefits are desired for children. For any use, the efficacy of bee pollen has not been verified in a medical setting, according to Drug Information Online. There are a few reasons bee pollen might be considered for administration to kids, primarily asthma and allergy relief.

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Potential Dangers

Although bee pollen has not been widely studied, it is not thought to be dangerous—except in allergic individuals, who could experience a severe reaction. In a study published in the September-October 2010 issue of the Spanish journal "Allergy and Immunology," researchers found that children that are allergic to bee pollen had a reaction when exposed and thus should not use it. When a person is severely allergic, desensitizing to the pollen is not possible and can be life-threatening, according to C. Leigh Broadbent, Ph.D.

Dosage for Children

Broadbent recommends that adults should take 1 to 3 tbsp. of bee pollen daily to ease allergies and asthma symptoms. Children ages 2 to 6 should take 1/3 an adult dose; children 6 to 12 should take 1/2 an adult dose. Children 12 and over can take the low end of an adult dose.

Recommendations

If you are administering bee pollen, Broadbent recommends starting with a granule or two at first to ensure the person is not allergic. Those allergic to honey, stings or other bee interactions should be especially careful and aware of any signs of reaction. If there are none, you can slowly increase the dosage to a tablespoon. If your child shows any signs of a reaction, you should stop giving the pollen immediately.

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