Beneficial effect of pollen and/or propolis on the metabolism of iron, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium in rats with nutritional ferropenic anemia

J Agric Food Chem. 2000 Nov;48(11):5715-22. doi: 10.1021/jf000635h.


There has been considerable debate regarding the nutritional benefits of pollen and the propolis produced by bees, although most contributions have lacked scientific soundness. This paper describes the possible beneficial effect of their use in pharmacological products in cases of anemic syndrome. We studied the effect of these two natural products on the digestive utilization of iron, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, using control rats and rats with nutritional ferropenic anemia. The addition of these products to the diet produced a positive effect on weight gain; this fact could constitute a scientific basis for the application of pollen and propolis as fortifiers. They improve the digestive utilization of iron and the regeneration efficiency of hemoglobin, especially during recovery from an anemic syndrome. They also have a positive effect on phosphocalcic metabolism and maintain an appropiate level of magnesium metabolism. Furthermore, in iron-deficient rats, these natural products palliate, to a large extent, the adverse effects of iron deficiency on calcium and magnesium metabolism as a result of the improvement in the digestive utilization of these minerals.

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / metabolism*
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / therapy*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Magnesium / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Phosphates / metabolism*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Pollen / therapeutic use*
  • Propolis / administration & dosage
  • Propolis / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Phosphates
  • Propolis
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium