While honey has been known to be a healing superfood (just ask Queen Bey), another bee product—bee pollen—has recently created quite the buzz on social media for its supposed potential to impact hormone levels and…increase breast size? TikToker Taylor Reynold shared that she and multiple other women she knows noticed an increase in their breast size after adding bee pollen to their diets, and wellness influencer Kaylin Mally swore she had the same results. The superfood is known to contain antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties, but does it actually have the power to increase cup size or is it just another TikTok fluke? Of course, we had to investigate. I asked doctors and looked to whatever research I could find to confirm or deny once and for all: Is bee pollen a miraculous boob grower or just a regular superfood?
What Is Bee Pollen?
Despite its name, bee pollen isn’t derived from bees. Also referred to as bee-collected pollen, the natural ingredient is a mixture of flower pollen, nectar, enzymes, honey, wax, and bee secretions. After foraging and collecting pollen from various plants, bees return it to the hive to provide food for the colony.
As a health supplement, bee pollen comes in the form of yellowish-orange to dark brown granules, powder, or capsules and has a mildly sweet, floral taste. Chances are you’ve seen the superfood sold in clear jars in the supplements aisle, on menus as an add-on option for your smoothie, acai bowl, or salad, or listed as an ingredient in products from chocolate and functional drinks to lip balm and skin cream. After all, it’s gained popularity as a functional food due to its high concentration of bioactive compounds, such as proteins, dietary fibers, lipids, carbohydrates, and minerals. Moreover, bee pollen has been called “the perfectly complete food” because of its antioxidant-packed profile (think: polyphenols, flavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamins A, C, and E).
“Bee pollen is one of nature’s most completely nourishing foods, with nearly all the nutrients required by humans,” Susan Curtis, Natural Health Director at Neal’s Yard Remedies, told HuffPost. “A nutrient powerhouse of eighteen vitamins including a B complex, all essential amino acids, fatty acids, RNA/DNA nucleic acids, enzymes, and is at least 25% protein. [It stimulates] the growth and repair of the body including the blood and nervous and immune system.” As if you needed more proof of bee pollen’s efficacy, recent studies have even shown that bee pollen can help reduce the risk of disease, foster blood circulation, delay aging, enhance immunity, and increase physical and mental activities.
Can Bee Pollen Increase Breast Size?
I went into this search skeptical, but the expert responses I received were actually promising. “The effect [of bee pollen] really depends on the person, but, yes, it can increase breast size,” explained Dr. Lisa Jung, a licensed naturopathic doctor. “Breast tissues have estrogen receptors, and bee pollen’s phytoestrogen compounds bind to these receptors, which can stimulate breast tissue growth.”
Before you run out and grab all the bee pollen off of shelves, know that this doesn’t mean there’s a direct correlation between consuming bee pollen and breast growth because there are many determinants of breast size. “Breast size and development depend on multiple factors, including genetics, hormones, and fat distribution,” Dr. Sydne Ford, a board-certified family medicine physician at Spark Performance and Wellness, told HuffPost. “There are no guaranteed methods for increasing breast size naturally.” In any case, Jung recommended working with a medical provider before taking a bee pollen supplement and performing self-exams to familiarize yourself with your breast tissues. In conclusion, there’s not enough evidence to support that supplementing your diet with bee pollen will change your breast size, but it can impact hormones, which in turn may affect breast size for some people.
How Does Bee Pollen Affect Hormones?
Affect on breast size or not, bee pollen already has the wellness world buzzing, thanks to its makeup of protein and nutrients like B vitamins and folic acid, which has gotten its reputation as a supplement to support hormonal health. B vitamins work to support the adrenals’ ability to produce and release hormones while folic acid (also known as vitamin B9) has been shown to promote regular ovulation. In addition to the vitamins they contain that support hormones, bee pollen imitates estrogen, a hormone that’s necessary for maintaining your sexual and reproductive health.
“Bee pollen is what we call a ‘phytoestrogen,’ which is a plant compound that mimics estrogen,” Dr. Jung explained. “Phytoestrogens gently bind to the estrogen receptors, which leads to a very mild estrogen effect. Phytoestrogens can be helpful in various conditions related to hormones, from period-related issues to even menopausal issues.” According to Medical News Today, phytoestrogens may aid in regulating hormones in women–especially as they approach menopause–and one study found that phytoestrogens may ease perimenopausal symptoms. Furthermore, a 2002 study found that Femal (an herbal therapy that contains bee pollen, along with royal jelly and pistil) improved PMS symptoms like irritability and bloating.
Are There Any Risks of Taking Bee Pollen?
While there aren’t any major known downsides of taking bee pollen, you should always precede with caution when starting a new supplement and chat with your doctor first. With bee products, there’s a risk of allergic reactions (whether or not you have a bee allergy), including itching, redness, shortness of breath, hives, swelling, and anaphylaxis. Most experts recommend steering clear of bee pollen if you’re pregnant, and it may cause a reaction when taken with other medications or herbals, so again, always check with your doctor first.
While bee pollen doesn’t necessarily lead to breast growth, if you do want to try it, be warned that there could be unwanted side effects related to breast enhancement (even if the source is natural). “Too much growth is not a good thing either–if any growth goes out of control, it has a higher risk of it turning into a mass or lump,” Jung warned. Bottom line: If you decide to try bee pollen under the care of your healthcare team, it can be a powerful superfood with many benefits, including hormonal health. But it is not (and should not be used as) a miracle remedy to enhance breast size.
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Please consult a doctor or a mental health professional before beginning any treatments. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.