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HomeExclusiveDoes Eating Local Pollen Help Allergies

Does Eating Local Pollen Help Allergies

Could Eating Honey For Allergies Be Dangerous

Does Eating Local Pollen Help Hay Fever? | This Morning

It could be argued based on these studies and mechanism that it couldnt hurt to try honey, but its important to note that honey can, though rare, cause severe allergic reactions in people who tend to have allergies. So while consuming local honey for your allergies may sound like a good idea, it could be argued as well that consuming honey could increase your risk of a serious allergic reaction. Going with this train of thought, those who are living with allergies may be just those people who are most sensitive to life-threatening reactions from eating locally produced honey, due to the pollen.

Does Taking Bee Pollen Help Allergies

While we know about some of the benefits of bee pollen, theres a lot we still dont know. The fact is, despite the many online claims that bee pollen can eliminate allergies altogether, there is still no firm scientific evidence to support that.

Those who write about the allergy-curing properties of bee pollen often maintain that you must use pollen from local bees.

The thinking goes that since it comes from local plant species youre allergic to, locally sourced pollen will protect your immune system from reacting to airborne allergen exposure from those same plants, perhaps by desensitizing you to it.

This theory is unproven. But it might not hurt either.

Treating Your Seasonal Allergies At Allergy & Ent Associates In Houston

For some people, no amount of honey or over-the-counter allergy medicine will work. If youre struggling with your symptoms, come in to see the specialists at Allergy & ENT Associates. We provide allergy testing, allergy shots, rush immunotherapy and allergy drops to bring our patients relief. Call us at MY-SINUS to schedule your appointment today.

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Does Eating Local Honey Help Control Pollen Symptoms

Q:I suffer with tree pollen allergies in the spring and am often told by people to eat local honey to control my symptoms. Does that actually work?

Dr. Bassett: The thought process goes like this: since honey may contain small amounts of pollen from various flowers, consuming locally produced honey will, over time, therefore provide protection from unpleasant symptoms for those who suffer from seasonal allergies.

The problem is that while a natural approach to managing seasonal symptoms always sounds tempting, it may not provide reliable relief, particularly for those with significant and truly bothersome allergy symptoms.

One study performed at the University of Connecticut, and published in the Annals of Allergy Asthma & Immunology did not find any benefit by taking a daily dose, of either commercial or local honey, for seasonal nasal and eye symptoms.

In fact, participants consuming honey for symptoms fared no better than those taking a placebo. Remember also, that pediatricians advise against feeding honey of any variety to very young children, especially those under 1 years of age.

Dr. Clifford Bassett, allergist and asthma specialist, is the Medical Director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York . He is on the faculty of NYU School of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City and is also the author of The New Food Allergy Solution: Supercharge Resistance, Slash Medication, Stop Suffering.

How Is Bee Pollen Used

Does Eating Local Honey Help Treat Allergies?

Bee pollen is available at many health food stores. You may find bee pollen in other natural dietary supplements, as well as in skin softening products used for baby’s diaper rash or eczema.

You may also hear recommendations for using bee pollen for alcoholism, asthma, allergies, health maintenance, or stomach problems, but there is no proof that it helps with these conditions. Before you take any natural product for a health condition, check with your doctor.

Bee pollen is also recommended by some herbalists to enhance athletic performance, reduce side effects of chemotherapy, and improve allergies and asthma.

At this point, medical research has not shown that bee pollen is effective for any of these health concerns.

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Studies On Honey And Allergies

In order to determine if a therapy works, it must be compared to placebo. There are two small placebo-controlled studies looking specifically at the role of honey in allergic rhinitis .

A 2002 study compared two different types of honey against placebo in people with pollen allergy. Unfortunately, there was no difference in allergy symptoms among the three groups of study participants. It was interesting, however, that nearly one in three of the volunteers dropped out of the study because they couldnt tolerate eating one tablespoon of honey every day due to the overly sweet taste.

A 2013 study from Malaysia noted a possible benefit related to the consumption of honey. Those who ate honey had improved symptoms of allergic rhinitis. It is notable that those consuming corn syrup also had a more modest improvement of reported symptoms.

The consensus at this time is that more studies are needed to further investigate the possible benefits of honey for the treatment of allergies.

Is Local Honey A Cure For Hayfever

Asked by: Richard ONeill, Glasgow

No. The myth is that local pollen in honey can desensitise the allergic reaction, but theres no evidence to support it. A 2002 study at the University of Connecticut compared locally-produced, unfiltered honey, with nationally-produced, filtered honey and honey-flavoured corn syrup.

In double-blind trials, there was no difference between the three in reducing hay fever symptoms. The pollen in honey is nearly all the heavy, flower pollen that doesnt cause hay fever. The pollen that sets your nose running is much lighter and comes from grasses and trees that bees dont visit.

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Are There Risks To Taking Bee Pollen And Honey For Allergies

There are some risks to taking both bee pollen and honey.

Some people are allergic to the honey itself and shouldnât consume or use honey topically under any circumstance. Honey also contains sugar, which can lead to complications for people with conditions such as diabetes.

Bee pollen may cause side effects, such as gastrointestinal issues, shortness of breath and rashes. Itâs important to talk to your doctor before starting any at-home or natural treatments.

Doctors also do not recommend feeding honey or pollen to children under the age of one. Doing so may cause botulism. Talk to your pediatrician before giving bee pollen to children under the age of 12.

How Could Bee Pollen Help With Allergies

Local Honey Might Be Sweet Solution To Seasonal Allergies

Since allergies or at least the type of allergies were focusing on here are caused by pollen, it may seem illogical to think that taking bee pollen for allergies could be helpful.

But the idea is that by consuming small quantities of the type of pollen that causes your allergic reaction, your body develops a tolerance to the pollen and stops responding to it with allergy symptoms. Kind of like getting a vaccine.

And in fact, there is an allergy treatment that works much like taking bee pollen might work. Its called Sublingual Immunotherapy , and it involves the patient taking an allergen extract orally.

SLIT has been a popular alternative to allergy shots in Europe for many years. And studies have shown that SLIT can be at least somewhat effective as an allergy treatment.

So there is some evidence that consuming an allergen orally can help to reduce allergy symptoms.

But there have been no studies that have shown bee pollen to be either effective or ineffective in the same way as SLIT.

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Bee Pollen As A Superfood

Nope. More marketing hype for superprofits for the sellers. According to the National Honey Board::

The amount of pollen in honey is minuscule and not enough to impact the nutrient value.

Vanderbilt University says:

Hypothetically, bee pollen is an excellent source of nutrition. With its abundance of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes, it is hard not to believe the many claims made about the positive effects of bee pollen. Although a very limited amount of recent information can be found proving positive nutritional effects, in reality, studies have consistently proven that bee pollen has no ergogenic effects. Furthermore, no legitimate information can be found proving positive effects on weight loss. In fact, one study shows that pollen can actually induce weight gain

Fox News:

Bee pollen is used to enhance energy, vitality, memory and performance, and sometimes even to reduce allergies, though theres little evidence to support any of these uses. Its considered a super food because it contains proteins and is rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. It comes from the pollen that collects on the bodies of bees.

How The Theory About Eating Local Honey Got Started

“The theory got started because local, unprocessed honey was known to contain local pollens,” says Lakiea Wright, MD, an allergist at Women’s Hospital in Boston and medical director at Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Raw honey is more likely to contain local pollen because it isn’t processed. During processing , pollen is removed from honey.”

When it comes to eating local honey for allergies, the idea is that you ingest local pollen and eventually become less affected by it. This allergy treatment method is called allergen desensitization.

“The concept of allergen desensitization is based on exposing your body to small, escalating doses of allergen to desensitize your allergy cells,” says Dr. Wright. In the case of local honey, you would theoretically be ingesting pollen-containing honey in small amounts regularly to minimize seasonal allergy symptoms.

“With regular exposure to an allergen, your allergy cells become desensitized and are less likely to fire off and cause symptoms. Allergen immunotherapy is based on this concept of desensitization,” explains Dr. Wright.

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Why Eating Raw Local Honey May Make Symptoms Worse

You may still be inclined to give local honey a shot, especially if your allergy symptoms are particularly irritating. However, raw local honey is not filtered and processed the same way as the honey on grocery store shelves. This means it could be full of impurities, like:

  • Pollen
  • Bacteria
  • Other contaminants

Ingesting any of these substances could potentially make you sick. There is also a chance of developing an allergic reaction to either the pollen or the other impurities. You could even go into anaphylactic shock if the honey contains bee venom and you are deathly allergic to bee stings.

The Evidence Against Raw Local Honey

Does Eating Local Honey Help Control Pollen Symptoms?

Sadly, its highly unlikely that eating raw local honey will cure your seasonal allergies. There is very little scientific evidence to suggest any sort of healing effect. Of the studies that do exist, the sample sizes are too small to generalize to the U.S. population, and the results are conflicting at best.2

The honey cure is supported primarily by anecdotal evidence. While anecdotes can be helpful, they are also subjective and frequently riddled with errors and disproportionality overrepresent positive outcomes. For example, if a persons allergy symptoms stop after two months of eating honey, they may assume the honey cured their allergies. However, it is also possible and much more likely that trees in their area stopped releasing pollen because of seasonal changes.

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How To Take Bee Pollen

Bee pollen is sold as natural granules you can measure out and take by the spoonful. You can also mix it into other foods like granola or yogurt or make smoothies with it. It generally has a bitter taste, although people who take it regularly seem to get used to it.

Its also available in capsules, and you may find it in a tablet form combined with other things like royal jelly and flower pistil extract .

Some people prefer to soak the granules in water for several hours before using them. They claim this makes bee pollen easier to digest.

You may experience an allergic reaction to bee pollen, however, so its best to start with a very small amount to make sure its safe for you. Some recommend testing it by placing a single granule under your tongue the first time you try it and then building up from there, one granule at a time.

If you experience any allergy symptoms, discontinue using it right away! If you have capsules or tablets, open the capsule and take a very small amount or use a knife to cut off a bit of the tablet to test.

Do not give honey to infants under 1 year. It is best to consult your doctor about giving bee pollen to children under 12.

If you use granules, youll want to refrigerate or freeze the container. Raw bee pollen can get moldy if not properly stored.

If you get capsules and granules, these are usually fine to store at room temperature. Check the label for the preferred storage method and expiration date.

Why Would It Work

It is a popular notion that eating honeyespecially locally grown honeyis a natural remedy for allergies and asthma. Bee pollen, propoliis, and royal jelly are bee products that some people use as a supplement. They are not proven to improve any medical condition.” The theory behind the use of honey is that honey carries various ingredients, including pollen allergens and components of honeybees.

This is an important question considering 7.8% of Americans cope with seasonal allergies to pollen of some form. Yet does it work?

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Dont Fall For The Raw Honey Trend

Some people swear by raw honey improving seasonal allergies, but Dr. Elliott warns against it. The theory is that bees carry pollen with them, and raw honey contains trace amounts of the pollen. When exposed to it over time, helps the immune system become tolerant to the pollen, similar to the way allergy shots work, she explains. The catch: the plants that bees pollinate typically are not the allergy-causing ones. Her advice is to stick to what your doctor recommends instead of trying the latest and greatest.

Honey Has Health Risks

Does eating local honey help prevent allergies?

When people talk about eating honey to prevent allergies, they donât mean the kind at the supermarket that comes in a plastic bear. Itâs often local, unprocessed honey. And it can have some pretty nasty stuff in it, from bee parts to mold spores and bacteria. These things are usually removed during commercial processing.

Itâs rare, but eating unprocessed honey can cause a serious allergic reaction. You might have itching, hives, or swelling of your mouth, throat, or skin. The culprit: pollen or bee parts in the unprocessed honey.

âOne of the reasons I never recommend unprocessed honey for allergies is because someone may be allergic to it and not even know,â Ogden says. âI worry about local honey that hasnât been processed or tested.â

And if youâre allergic to bees, itâs possible unprocessed honey could contain some bee venom and cause a severe reaction, Ogden says.

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Here Are Some Ideas For Minimizing Your Exposure To Pollen According To Dr Wright:

  • Keep your windows closed
  • Remove clothing after coming in from outdoors
  • Wear sunglasses outdoors
  • Try to minimize outdoor activities at dawn and dusk, when pollen counts are the highest
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about taking an over the counter medication, including antihistamines and/or a nasal steroid

If your symptoms are not well controlled despite the above strategies, discuss with your healthcare provider if you are a candidate for allergen immunotherapy .

So Does Eating Local Honey Work As A Treatment For Your Allergies

“Unfortunately, does not help with allergies because the pollens that bees collect are usually from flowers, which are not as potent and don’t provoke your immune system like other pollens which cause ‘classic’ seasonal allergy symptoms,” says Dr. Wright.

Not only are flower pollens less potent than other pollens, but the amount of pollen present in local honey also isn’t enough to play a role in allergen desensitization. “Eating honey is ineffective because it only contains small amounts of pollen,” adds Dr. Wright.

What’s worse is that eating local honey isn’t just ineffective as an allergy remedy, but it could actually worsen your symptoms.

“In some cases, eating local raw honey may contribute to allergic symptoms because if you are highly sensitized, ingesting pollens in small amounts can cause local symptoms like an itchy mouth,” says Dr. Wright. “In rare cases, you can potentially have a more severe reaction like anaphylaxis because raw honey may contain bee parts, and if you have a bee allergy, you could have a reaction.”

Local honey isn’t the only food that can worsen seasonal allergy symptoms. Due to a condition called oral allergy syndrome , also known as pollen fruit syndrome , certain foods can cause an allergic reaction or worsen existing symptoms in those with pollen allergies. We put together a list of oral allergy syndrome foods to help you identify what foods besides honey might be worsening your allergy symptoms.

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Is There Any Harm In Taking Bee Pollen Supplements

Most people can eat bee pollen with no ill effects, But for those with allergies, bee pollen can cause shortness of breath, hives, swelling, and anaphylaxis – a typical allergic reaction.

TheNY Times cites this case:

The first couple of times he took bee pollen as an energy supplement, according to Pat Cummings, nothing much happened. What happened when he took it Monday, however, is more than the Dallas Mavericks’ center had bargained for. He suffered an allergic reaction that, he was told, could have been fatal if the team’s trainer, Doug Atkinson, hadn’t rushed him to a hospital for an antidote.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal reports:

A 30-year-old woman with seasonal allergies but no history of allergies to food, drugs, insects or latex had an anaphylactic reaction after taking bee pollen. She had swelling of the eyelids, lips and throat, difficulty swallowing, hives and other life-threatening symptoms. After emergency treatment and discontinuation of the bee pollen supplements, there were no further reactions.

Experts are warning that taking natural bee pollen supplements may come with the risk of suffering a serious allergic reaction, including life-threatening anaphylactic shock.


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