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From the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients
May 2003
In the News
Bee Pollen and Antioxidant Activity

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Beehive products have been used since ancient times as dietary supplements because of their perceived health-promoting effects in the human body. In modern times, this perception — that beehive products promote health due to nutritionally beneficial compounds — has increasingly come under attack. The skepticism has been partially due to the lack of scientific studies examining the issue. Recently, new laboratory techniques have been developed that make it easier to study the beneficial effects and the nutritional make-up of natural substances. CC Pollen Co. has enthusiastically engaged in this process.

ORAC Tests
The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) test is an emerging standard by which science measures antioxidant activity in foods and natural supplements. Antioxidants are important to protect the body's cells from damage caused by free radicals (reactive oxygen species). Cell membranes are susceptible to free radicals because they are largely composed of fatty acids (lipid bi-layer). Poly-unsaturated fatty acids are particularly susceptible to free-radical-mediated oxidation because of their unique structure. Cell membrane damage due to oxidation of fatty acid membrane components (lipid peroxidation) can lead to the disruption of the function and structure of whole cells. Furthermore, for normal health it is important to maintain normal levels of lipid peroxidation of lipoproteins.

Dietary antioxidants, or free radical-scavengers, may play a preventive role in protecting a person's health. High levels of antioxidant activity, as determined by ORAC, have been found to be present in blueberries and black raspberries. When the ORAC scores of these berries became known, annual consumption of those fruits increased dramatically. Berries became famous as the foods possessing the most antioxidant activity of all the whole foods. The highest ORAC scores for wild blueberries is listed at 61 ORAC units (umole TE/g). Black raspberries scored higher at 164 ORAC units. (Download a print-quality .pdf of the ORAC Comparison Chart.)

ORAC Comparison Chart

Recently, CC Pollen Co. had its High Desert¨ Bee Pollen tested for ORAC antioxidant activity. The result was 247 ORAC units, the highest score ever recorded for any whole food. Thus, Bee Pollen has been shown to be at the top of the list of foods exhibiting antioxidant activity.

Polyphenol Quantification Tests
Certain laboratories are now also measuring the polyphenol content of foods and supplements. Polyphenols are called aromatic compounds, and they are biochemically characterized by the presence of six-carbon rings with an attached hydroxy (OH) group, called phenols. A molecule that contains more than one phenolic ring is called a polyphenol. Polyphenols, as a class of nutrients, include bioflavonoids, organic acids, and phenolic acids. Most of the antioxidant activity of a food is created by polyphenols. Polyphenols have been extensively studied in regard to their antioxidant activity and health-promoting biological activities. Generally, total polyphenol content is regarded as a measure of the health-promoting qualities of a whole food.

Once again, CC Pollen Co. had its High Desert¨ Bee Pollen tested for total polyphenol content, and the results were the highest polyphenol content of any food yet tested, at 15.05 mg/g. The next highest reading was cranberries at 5.575 mg/g. (Download a print-quality .pdf of the Total Phenolic Comparison Chart.)

Total Phenolic Comparison Chart

CC Pollen Co.
3627 E. Indian School Rd., Suite 209
Phoenix, Arizona 85018 USA
Fax 602-381-3130




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