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Bee Bread: Superfood of the Gods

Are you aware that bees make bread?

Foraging bees primarily get pollen by chance as they fly around collecting nectar. When they briskly buzz from flower to flower, it clings to their statically charged hairs. As they clean themselves, pollen and nectar are mixed and pushed down their bodies and into their pollen baskets. 

For all their effort, forager bees never really eat pollen because by the time they reach adulthood, they lack the enzymes necessary to do so. The young, developing bees that will be the colony's future are fed on this pollen once it has been returned to the hive and transformed into bee bread.

Why Fresh Pollen Cannot Be Eaten by Honey Bees

She must grow weary and hungry as our foraging bee flies through the air carrying bright baskets of flower pollen. You might expect her to pause for a snack. Regrettably, even if she wanted to, she could not digest this uncooked pollen.

The grains have a very hard outer shell, which makes accessing the nutritional section too challenging. Older adult bees cannot consume the uncooked grains, either. They lack the proteolytic enzymes required for digestion.

Bees mostly gather nectar and pollen for their diets — nectar to produce honey, an enzymatically active, partially fermented food and pollen for the lacto-fermented, enzymatically-activated food known as bee bread.

Yeah, you read that right. Foods are deliberately fermented by creatures other than humans.

Bee bread is the primary protein source while honey is the main source of carbohydrates for bees. 

Bee pollen has a great deal of potential as a source of protein, but in its natural, raw form, the pollen is neither nutritious for our bee friends nor readily digestible. Honey bees cannot consume pollen that has not fully matured into bee bread. The pollen core is encased in a coating of cellulose, which neither bees nor humans can typically open up and digest very efficiently.  The other factor has to do with the protective, largely indigestible wax coating that many pollens have. Nature has her own defenses, as we are all too aware of.

Bee bread is formed from pollen, but it is so much more than that. In actuality, bee bread is composed of about 25% honey or nectar, 70% pollen, and bee saliva, 

Enzymes are abundant in honey bee saliva. The additional saliva and enzymes lead to probiotic bacteria and yeasts that transform the pollen protein into a form that can be digested.

The chemical composition of bee bread differs because each plant produces somewhat different pollen. Many macro and microelements are present in it, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, iron, and selenium.

Without this protein-rich material, these young adult bees would be unable to create food for their offspring. Healthy nursing is essential for effective brood care.

How Does Bee Pollen Stack Up Against Bee Bread Then?

The protein is most likely the modification that is most significant. Protein quality has improved, so that protein bioavailability has increased dramatically. Many proteins have also been predigested into their individual amino acids, making absorption more simpler. Bee bread is unbeatable in terms of protein quality (digestibility) compared to bee pollen.

Several vitamins have improved in value and are now present in bee bread for the first time, including Vitamin K. The amounts of enzymes and antioxidants are also markedly increased. Also, a lot of the powerful nutritional reserves that were previously in the pollen's "hibernation" are now widely accessible. This is particularly true for minerals like silica, magnesium, and zinc, which are frequently securely bonded inside the cellulose component of pollen.

Bee bread is a powerful, energizing food because of the predigestion process and the addition of honey. The lactic acid produced by the probiotic bacteria is turned into glucose. Bee bread also significantly extends the pollen's shelf life, which is another significant benefit. As you can see, fresh pollen has a very short shelf life and, if improperly stored, can shortly expire (e.g. freezing). Yet through the production of bee bread, the bees have discovered a way to significantly extend the pollen's shelf life to well over a year.

How Bee Bread is Made from Pollen

When the worker returns to the hive with full pollen baskets, she looks for a wax cell. Typically, a cell close to the brood nest is selected, though storage can also be done in other parts of the hive.

The honeycomb cell receives the unloaded pellets. The diligent forager goes back to the field to get another load.

House bees (adults - not yet foraging) occasionally visit the cell to inspect it. They pack the contents of the cage tightly using their heads. This removes any trapped air pockets.

The pollen inside the cell receives a little extra nectar and saliva containing enzymes. Returning foragers continue to fill the cell with pollen until it is full.

During this process, uncooked pollen that is difficult to digest is transformed into a protein powerhouse that is storable and suitable for use as food.

A thin layer of honey is then applied to the surface of the fermented pollen as a finishing touch. This is why pollen that has been preserved often has a glossy sheen.

How Is Bee Bread Harvested

Honey bee colonies occasionally create additional bee bread due to their legendary production abilities. In fact, it appears that moving between the supers and the brood box can be hampered by eating too much bee bread.

If this happens, the affected piece of comb can be cut off, packaged, and frozen for a future use by the bees. 

On the other hand, a substantial research report on the topic of harvesting bee bread for human consumption is accessible here.

Uses of Bee Bread

A healthy, robust new generation is essential to the colony's growth and well-being. The bees that rear the brood are middle-aged house bees that have not yet started foraging.

Nurse bees eat bee bread that has been kept in honeycomb cells. When combined with glandular secretions, this protein-rich material creates brood nourishment. Little pollen crumbs in the shape of bee bread may also be given to older larvae.

Is Bee Bread Healthy for Humans?

We are aware that the colony's health and well-being depend on bee bread. But what about the health of humans? Is bee bread safe to eat?

Many studies support this. With a combination of proteins, vital amino acids, omega fatty acids, and simple carbohydrates, it is said to have a high nutritional value.

Bee bread is referred to as "Ambrosia" (food of the Gods). As a result, some individuals include pollen and bee bread in their diet. They think it's a healthy natural product that supports wellbeing.

Benefits of Bee Bread
  • Impressive nutritional profile. More than 250 biological substances, such as protein, carbs, lipids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants are found in pollen.

  • Powerful antioxidant. A variety of antioxidants found in bee pollen may safeguard cells from harm caused by free radicals, which have been linked to chronic diseases like cancer and type 2 diabetes.

  • Boosts liver function. According to certain research, bee bread shields the liver from damaging chemicals. Nonetheless, more research is required.

  • Reduces cardiovascular disease risks. Pollen may lessen "bad" LDL cholesterol and lipid oxidation, two risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Science Facts On Bee Bread

Bee Bread for Muscles. During research refeeding aged, malnourished mice with meals containing fresh monofloral bee pollen increased their metabolism and muscular mass.

Bee Bread Bioactivity. Several pharmacological characteristics of bee bread have been demonstrated in vitro and in vivo. So, it can be said that there are many potential applications for bee bread in the culinary and medicinal industries.

Bee Bread Antimicrobial Effects. Bacillus-genus bacteria have been recognized as a crucial component of mature and preserved BB and dried BP. The results of the study also showed that BP and BB could be possible sources of bacteria-producing antimicrobial substances and/or enzymes of specific industrial value.

Bee Bread Antioxidant Effects. The results of the in vitro digestion demonstrated that, with some exceptions, the bioactive components in bee pollen and bee bread typically tended to decrease throughout digestion.

Bee Bread for Reproductive Health. Bee bread therapy raised proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) immunoexpression, decreased inflammation and apoptosis, improved lactate transport, and elevated testicular antioxidant enzymes.

Bee Bread and Hot Flashes. According to a study, bee pollen and honey may help breast cancer patients receiving antihormonal therapy with their menopausal symptoms.

L'arada's Bee Pearl is a concentrated form of bee bread in vegetarian capsules that don't have any gelatin. This one-of-a-kind product is ethically taken from the beehives and then concentrated using patent technology. Click here to check it out.