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A Comprehensive Nutritional Analysis of RAW Pine Pollen™

RAW Pine Pollen™ As The Foundational Superfood

Table Of Contents (Follow Links To Skip Ahead)


Overview and Introduction

While the vast majority of interest in Pine Pollen concerns its more medicinal and androgenic properties, Pine Pollen is nutritionally dense and extensive in its nutrient profile—an aspect of Pine Pollen that should not be overlooked. *

Pollen is similar to a seed in that it contains all of the nutrients and other factors needed to bring a new plant into life. In the case of Pine Pollen, contained within it are the necessary building blocks needed to bring a new pine tree. No small feat. To date, over 200 different compounds have been identified in Pine Pollen, including over 20 different amino acids (including all nine essential amino acids), 15 different vitamins, over 30 different micro and macro minerals, and over 100 other biologically active and important compounds, including many living enzymes and coenzymes, flavonoids, nucleic acids, saccharides, and unsaturated fatty acids.

Unlike isolated and/or synthesized supplements, the nutritional compounds found in Pine Pollen occur naturally in their complete and active state—complex, rich, and balanced.

Even when compared to the typical food that people eat, even whole and unprocessed foods, Pine Pollen still shines nutritionally. For instance, by weight, it contains between seven and 10 times the protein content of eggs or beef, the naturally occurring beta-carotene in Pine Pollen is 20-30 times higher than the beta-carotene found in carrots (with no toxicity concerns because it is naturally occurring beta-carotene and not synthesized Vitamin A), and the iron content is 20 times higher than in spinach, which is of particular interest to vegans and vegetarians.

When the nutritional profile of Pine Pollen is compared to bee pollen, a similar pattern emerges: the crude fatty acid content of Pine Pollen is three times higher than in bee pollen, and research has shown that both the nutrient profile and the bioavailability of the nutrients in Pine Pollen are greater than in bee pollen.

The Safety of Pine Pollen

Pine Pollen has been used consistently and continually in China throughout the past 1500 years, as documented in many Chinese herbalism texts. This long history of medicinal application highlights its safety, but the look into its safety does not stop there. Current modern research has also documented its safety. Acute and short-term toxicity tests have shown the safety of Pine Pollen and research has been done into the potential of carcinogenesis (cancer-causing), mutagenesis (changes to DNA), and teratogenesis (changes to an embryo or fetus), all of which have shown Pine Pollen to be safe for human consumption.

Visit our Allergies, Safety, Contraindications, and Pine Pollen for an additional discussion regarding the safety of Pine Pollen.

The Function of Proteins and Amino Acids

To understand the role of proteins in the body, it is important to understand that each type of protein is unique both in structure and function and that it is estimated that over 50,000 unique protein types exist in humans. Each protein type is a unique string of combined amino acids, and if one amino acid is missing, the body cannot make that protein.

Because amino acids are not stored in the body as some other nutrients are, a daily intake of a wide variety of amino acids is essential—which is why there is a class of amino acids called essential. An essential nutrient must be consumed, the body cannot make them and they are essential to life. As an example of the complexity of proteins, hemoglobin—the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen and carbon dioxide—is a string of 146 amino acids.

Not all are different or unique, but the amino acids must be present in an exact sequence, like a phone number. While a phone number only contains 10 digits (555) 555-5555, and there are only 10 possibilities for each digit (0-9), if you are missing one of the numbers from the phone number, or if the number eight on your keypad is broken, the rest of the numbers you have are meaningless.

If a cell is attempting to build a protein, like an immune system cell, and the amino acid methionine is missing, then that protein is not made. Except for water, almost everything in the body, including enzymes, are proteins.

People eat proteins—whether they be in a carrot, a hamburger, or a slab of tofu—but the body only does business with amino acids.

Proteins enter the digestive tract, but only amino acids are absorbed through the walls of the small intestine. That is because digestive enzymes present in the body break down whole proteins into their individual amino acid building blocks—it is these individual amino acids that make proteins the “building blocks of life.” By keeping a dietary intake of rich and varied proteins (and subsequently rich and varied amino acids and nucleic acids), proper protein synthesis and RNA and DNA synthesis can occur in the body.

The body is roughly 16% protein (remember that it is mostly water), and proteins are constantly produced, broken down, and recycled in the body.

The Amino Acid and Protein Content of Pine Pollen

Pine Pollen protein concentration differs from species to species, location to location, and harvest to harvest. The protein composition of Pine Pollen fluctuates between 6 percent and 28 percent, according to Stephen Buhner, author of "Pine Pollen: Ancient Medicine for a New Millennium."

According to a 1999 study analyzing the nutritional profile of Pine Pollen, Pine Pollen (collected from Pinus massoniana pine trees) contains 13% protein by weight (access the study here).

Because of the wide range of protein levels present in Pine Pollen, we believe it is more useful from nutritional standpoint to consider the amino acid profile rather than the overall protein content.

More than 20 different types of amino acids have been identified in Pine Pollen and Pine Pollen contains all nine essential amino acids. Essential amino acids must be consumed because the body cannot synthesize them on its own. The nine essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Additionally, there are six conditionally essential amino acids—those which the body may have difficulty in synthesizing and may thus become essential—including arginine, cysteine, glutamine, glycine, proline, and tyrosine—all of which are present in Pine Pollen. The amino acid profile of Pine Pollen is greater than that found in bee pollens and in many foods, including eggs and beef, and the composition of its essential amino acids fits well within the recommendations made by both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The following table lists the levels of 19 of the major amino acids as found in 65 grams of Pine Pollen (When this article was first published on our site, our RAW Pine Pollen was available in 65 gram pouches). The list is not complete and more than the listed 19 amino acids are present in Pine Pollen.

Average Major Amino Acid Content In Pine Pollen

Amino Acid Amount (mg/65g) Amino Acid; Amount (mg/65g) Amino Acid Amount (mg/65g) Amino Acid Amount (mg/65g)
Alanine 366.6 Glycine 453.7 Methionine 109.2 Tryptophan 96.85
Arginine 648.7 Histidine 122.85 Phenylalanine 371.8 Tyrosine 237.25
Aspartic acid 713.7 Isoleucine 350.35 Proline 572 Valine 419.9
Cystine 72.8 Leucine 549.9 Serine 339.3 - -
Glutamic acid 1026.35 Lysine 521.3 Threonine 319.8 - -

As stated above, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) provides guidelines for the preferred ratio of essential amino acids in a food compared with the levels of non-essential amino acids. This is to help guide the consumption of foods rich in the essential, vital to life amino acids and to limit foods that are incomplete in their essential amino acid profile.

The following table shows the percentage of essential amino acids found in Pine Pollen as compared to the recommendations put forth by the FAO.

Essential Amino Acids in Pine Pollen and FAO Protein Standards

Amino Acid

Content (mg/65g)

Pine Pollen

FAO

Isoleucine

350

4.8%

4%

Leucine

550

7.6%

7%

Lysine

521

7.1%

5.5%

Methionine

108

1.5%

3.5%

Phenylalanine

372

5.1%

6%

Threonine

320

4.4%

4%

Tryptophan

97

1.3%

1%

Valine

420

5.8%

5%

As a reference point for the levels of amino acids present in Pine Pollen, the following table lists amino acid levels in Pine Pollen in comparison to RAW Brassica Pollen and to eggs.

Amino Acids Content of Pine Pollen, Brassica Pollen, and Eggs

Amino Acid

Pine Pollen (65 gm)

Brassica Pollen (65 gm)

Eggs (65 gm)

Alanine

366.6

44.72

478.4

Arginine

648.7

23.4

533.65

Aspartic acid

713.7

7.15

864.5

Glutamic acid

1026.35

9.23

1089.4

Glycine

453.7

9.555

280.8

Histidine

122.85

10.075

200.85

Isoleucine

350.35

12.675

436.8

Leucine

549.9

12.935

707.2

Lysine

521.3

16.965

594.1

Methionine

107.9

3.185

247

Phenylalanine

371.8

6.955

442.65

Proline

572

519.35

333.45

Serine

339.3

26.585

632.45

Each amino acid will assist in a wide variety of roles and functions in the body.

In the following table, a few of the select major roles of each essential amino acid is listed—but the table is in no way intended to be comprehensive or all-inclusive.

Major Physiological Role of the Nine Essential Amino Acids

Amino Acid

Major Physiological Roles

Histidine

Regulate several minerals, including iron, copper, molybdenum, zinc, and manganese. Histidine is also essential in the formation of several enzymes and compounds, including the important anti-aging antioxidant SOD (superoxide dismutase). *

Isoleucine

Increases athletic endurance and assists in muscle repair. *

Leucine

Promotes the regulation of blood glucose, promotes repair and growth of muscle and bone, and promotes the production of GH (growth hormone). *

Lysine

Of vital importance for proper growth, absorption of calcium, building muscle and carnitine synthesis, recovery from trauma, and assists in the production of antibodies, enzymes, and hormones. *

Methionine

Promotes normal metabolism and growth, including liver detoxification. Methionine is a sulfur donor and as such assists anti-oxidant activity. *

Phenylalanine

Precursor of the amino acid tyrosine, required for adrenalin, noradrenaline, and dopamine. *

Threonine

Thought to assist in fighting/preventing depression, a major component of elastin, collagen, and enamel. Helps promotes liver metabolism and generally assists metabolism and absorption of nutrients in the GI tract. *

Tryptophan

An essential element of many enzymes, proteins, serotonin, melatonin, and neurotransmitters. *

Valine

Help prevent the breakdown of muscle, aids the nervous system, and promote cognitive health. *

Methionine: Pine Pollen And The Anti-Aging Amino Acid *

The amino acid methionine (L-Methionine) is present in a natural raw form in Pine Pollen. In terms of providing real anti-aging benefits (those that reverse markers of aging, not just leaving you "feeling" younger), methionine directly improves the tone and pliability of skin, nails, and hair. It also promotes healthy hair growth, when hair has become thin or absent altogether. *

Methionine chelates heavy metals from the body (including mercury) allowing them to be safely eliminated from your body. * Furthermore, this amino acid which is so hard to find in our diets increases levels of SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine), which may help prevent premature ejaculation and improve chronic depression. *

If you are interested in using a natural, non-synthetic form of MSM and L-Methionine, RAW Pine Pollen may be an excellent choice. In all of our experience and research, there is no other food, supplement, or source with as rich a source of MSM and L-Methionine as RAW Pine Pollen (choose the raw form when targeting amino acids). *

Vitamins And Pine Pollen

The majority of vitamins cannot be synthesized by the body, and thus they are essential, just as some amino acids are essential. Unlike amino acids, which the body does not store, many vitamins are stored in the body. Vitamins help orchestrate the symphony of the human body, and without healthy levels, the body will start to shut down certain functions depending on the missing vitamin.

For instance, it is well-known that a lack of Vitamin D results in rickets: a lack of Vitamin B12 results in pernicious anemia, and a lack of Vitamin C results in scurvy. Vitamins are neither components of tissue in the body nor do they supply energy. Instead, vitamins make it possible for the body to produce and maintain tissue and vitamins make it possible for the body to metabolize energy-producing compounds (like glucose or fat).

Over 15 different types of vitamins have been identified in Pine Pollen. Each vitamin is naturally occurring and is easily digestible. Unlike isolated and synthesized/synthetic products, the vitamins found in Pine Pollen are present in their natural state and exist alongside their needed co-vitamins and co-enzymes.

The following table lists 10 of the vitamins present in Pine Pollen, the levels of those vitamins as found in 65 grams, and a very brief overview of the role in the body of that particular vitamin. Again, this table is not intended to be comprehensive either in the listing of the vitamins present in Pine Pollen or in the role each individual vitamin plays in human health.

Select Vitamin Content and Analysis

Vitamin

ug/65gm

Highlighted Role of Vitamin in the body

Beta Carotene

16.9

A precursor to Vitamin A, as such, assists in vision; health of the cornea, epithelial cells, mucus cells/membranes, skin; bone and tooth growth; regulation of gene expression; reproduction; immunity. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant. *

Folic acid

607.1

Component of a co-enzyme required for new cell synthesis. *

Vitamin A

28.08

Vision; health of the cornea, epithelial cells, mucus cells/membranes, skin; bone and tooth growth; regulation of gene expression; reproduction; immunity. *

Vitamin B1 /Thiamine

3945.5

Part of the B-complex, helps build sugars and amino acids in the body. Promotes the synthesis of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine (needed for proper neuron/brain cell signaling and GABA (which promotes relaxation). *

Vitamin B2 / Riboflavin

315.9

Essential for the synthesis of flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), two cofactors responsible for many functions in the body, including metabolism/energy production and the conversion of vitamins to their active states. *

Vitamin B5 / Pantothenic acid

9249.5

Essential for the synthesis of coenzyme A (CoA), needed for proper energy metabolism via the citric acid cycle, and for the synthesis of many compounds, including fatty acids, cholesterol, and acetylcholine. *

Vitamin B6 / Thiamin

845

Component of a co-enzyme required for energy metabolism. Supports normal appetite and nervous system function. *

Vitamin C

36530

Collagen synthesis (strengthens vessel walls, formation of scar tissue, formation of bone matrix); antioxidant (also assists with iron absorption), restores vitamin E back to the active form, hormone synthesis, supporting immune cell function. *

Vitamin D3

14.82

Mineralization of bones. Vitamin D raises blood calcium and phosphorus levels via absorption in the digestive tract and by withdrawing calcium from bones and stimulating calcium retention in the kidney. *

Vitamin E

2106

Antioxidant, stabilization of cell membranes, support of immune function, protection of polyunsaturated fatty acids, and normal nerve development. *

The following table compares the Vitamin C content (in milligrams) as compared in Pine Pollen, Brassica Pollen, Camellia Pollen, and—as a reference point—commercially available oranges.

Vitamin C Content as found in Pine Pollen, Brassica Pollen, Camellia Pollen, and Oranges

Type of Pollen

Pine Pollen

Brassica Pollen

Camellia Pollen

Oranges

Vitamin C (mg/65gm)

36.53

26.65

43.875

34.58

The Mineral Composition Of Pine Pollen

Modern agricultural techniques drain the topsoil of important minerals, which directly translates to decreased levels of minerals in food. This is true in both conventional agriculture and in organic agriculture, and the charts comparing the mineral composition of common vegetables over the past 60 years or so are truly shocking and horrifying. The British Food Journal published a study using data from 1930 to 1980 and found declining levels of minerals in the 20 different vegetables they analyzed. Of these, the average calcium content declined 19%, the average iron content declined 22%, and the average potassium content declined 14%.* Many similar studies have been done noting the similar declining trends, both in fruits and vegetables and with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

Minerals are vital to health, they cannot be synthesized by the body and are thus essential (they must be consumed), and normal daily metabolism creates a loss of minerals, so daily consumption of minerals is necessary. Minerals are required for a multitude of processes in the body, including the growth, repair, and maintenance of bones, hormone production, and regulating the heartbeat.* Minerals also promote healthy reproductive and sexual health in both men and women. *

The following table provides a list of 12 of the most important minerals (but not all of the minerals) that have been identified in Pine Pollen. The table also provides the levels of those minerals as found in 65 grams, and then provides a brief, nonexclusive overview of the role of the listed mineral.

Mineral Content present in Pine Pollen and Select Physiological Role

Macroelements

Mineral

Mg/65gm

Physiological Role

Calcium

52.39

Major mineral of bones and teeth, particular interests to pregnant women and developing children. *

Magnesium

71.7

Major mineral of bones and teeth, particular interests to pregnant women and developing children. A co-factor for enzymes. *

Phosphorus

141.9

Major mineral of bones and brain, the backbone of DNA and cell membranes, helps balance acids in the body, and assists with the metabolism of sugars, fats, and proteins. *

Potassium

83.4

Helps regulate skeletal and cardiac muscle tissue. *

Silicon

130.7

Assists the formation of bone, cartilage, connective tissue, and skin. *

Sodium

6.8

Most importantly, balances fluids in the body and plays an essential role in nerve transmission (action potential). *

Microelements

Mineral

Mg/65gm

Physiological Role

Copper

0.26

Promotes cardiovascular health, has anti-cancer properties, may promote resistance to radiation, important to reproductive health in men (particularly in erections). *

Iron

15.73

Essential for oxygen transport and storage. *

Manganese

5.7

Metabolism, absorption of protein, promote bone repair. *

Molybdenum

<0.01

Promotes healthy growth, heart function, and may help prevent certain cancers. *

Selenium

0.002

Documented to promote cancer prevention. *

Zinc

2.15

A co-element for over 200 different enzymes, is important for proper absorption and utilization of foods, promotes sperm health, promotes immune system health, and may have anti-cancer and anti-aging properties. *

The Lipid And Fat Profile Of Pine Pollen

Because of the decades-long campaign against “unhealthy” fats, many people do not realize the necessary role that fats play in human health: from brain health to energy to organ protection to steroid hormone production to cell membrane health.

At the most basic level, alongside sugars and proteins, fats are one of the 3 energy groups and dietary fats help the body absorb certain fat-soluble vitamins.

As Julia Child said, “You need some fats in your diet so that your body can process its vitamins.” Of course, there are “healthy” and “unhealthy fats.” Healthy fats tend to be unsaturated fatty acids.

Pine Pollen contains three different types of “healthy” unsaturated fatty acids, including oleic acid, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid—all of which account for over 72% of the total fat present in Pine Pollen. Only one type of saturated fat is found in Pine Pollen, the fatty acid palmitic acid. The ratio of unsaturated fatty acids to saturated fatty acids in Pine Pollen is of stark difference to the fats of concern, those linked to heart disease and obesity.

Oleic acid, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid all have well-documented health benefits, ranging from cancer prevention to promotion of cardiovascular health. *

Content of Four Fatty Acids Present in Pine Pollen

Fatty Acid

Milligram per gram of Pine Pollen

Oleic Acid

3.65

Linoleic Acid

0.19

Linolenic Acid

0.11

Palmitic Acid

1.95

Additional Nutritional Compounds Present in Pine Pollen

Pine Pollen And Saccharides

The primary saccharides present in Pine Pollen are the polysaccharides starch, cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, and fiber; the majority of these being found in the cell wall of Pine Pollen. These tough, largely indigestible saccharides are the reason why the cell wall must be fractured for the nutrients to become digestible by the human body. The connection between fiber and health is both well documented and well understood. A quick overview of the benefits of dietary fiber include digestive system health and promoting regular elimination, promoting the elimination of the carcinogens found in certain foods (this is why low fiber intake is tied to colon cancer), promoting cardiovascular health, blood sugar regulation, and many other positive health benefits. * Pine Pollen is a rich source of important dietary fiber—including pre-biotic fiber.

In the following table, an overview of the different saccharides, including dietary fiber, present in Pine Pollen is provided.

Saccharide Content of Pine Pollen

Saccharide

Percentage

Starch

7.0%

Cellulose

9.9%

Hemicellulose

1.5%

Lignin

25.9%

Fiber

27.3%

Pine Pollen And SOD (Superoxide Dismutase)

Pine Pollen can be a valuable resource in increasing your natural levels of anti-oxidants. SOD (Superoxide Dismutase). SOD is the master anti-oxidant produced by the body, and oxidization is the #1 aging mechanism in the body.* Pine Pollen contains SOD, which may increase your levels of this mater anti-oxidant. *

Pine Pollen And MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane)

MSM, which Pine Pollen contains in its original, non-synthetic form, is truly a powerhouse in itself. MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is a sulfur compound with potentially strong anti-aging effects.* Use of MSM has been shown to grant pain relief, increase flexibility, build skin vitality, promote hair growth, and offer relief from interstitial cystitis.* MSM uniquely provides healing for those suffering from joint pain, and has been documented to provide significant and often profound pain relief from osteoarthritis, degenerative arthritis, and degenerative joint disease.*

Sulfur compounds are incredibly important in the normal processes which guard the body against premature aging.* Sulfur is a component of the essential amino acid methionine (which Pine Pollen also contains). Sulfur is present in all connective tissue, muscle tissue, and anywhere else that complete amino acids are present. In other words, it is found all throughout the body. Importantly, sulfur is a necessary ingredient in the formation of collagen and keratin, the substances that make up the connective tissues of the body.* Healthy keratin means healthy joints, connective tissue, and skin, to name a few.*

Pine Pollen And Nucleic Acid

Nucleic acids are the building blocks of DNA and RNA—our genetic material. They regulate cell division and growth and they ultimately control the synthesis of new cells and protein.* Nucleic acids are synthesized by the body in the bone marrow, the liver, and the brain. As such, they are not essential nutrients necessary to be consumed. However, newer research has shown that after the age of 20, a person’s ability to produce nucleic acids begins to diminish; resulting in a reduced capacity to form new cells to ensure the health of the skin, brain, eyes, digestive system, and other processes and structures in the body.* In short, declining levels of nucleic acid in the body bring on aging.

Pine Pollen is the regenerative part of the pine tree, and as such, it is rich in nucleic acids. Between 30.55 – 37.7 milligrams of nucleic acids are found in 65 grams of it.

Pine Pollen And Choline

Choline, as the major component of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACH), is of vital importance to brain health and memory. Additionally, choline is important in liver health and even in promoting healthy hair growth. Supplemental choline has been used to treat liver diseases, such as certain types of hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver, and it has also been used to treat memory loss and depression.* Chemically synthesized choline is used to treat other brain and neurological disorders as well, including Alzheimer's, dementia, Huntington's, Tourette's, and schizophrenia. *

Supplemental choline has fitness applications as well and it may help to prevent fatigue in endurance-type athletics. Choline is used by pregnant women to help prevent neural tube defects in developing embryos and choline is often added commercially to infant and baby formulas. *

The choline content of Pine Pollen has been tested to average between 130 – 182 milligrams per 65 grams of Pine Pollen.

Pine Pollen And Flavonoids

Flavonoids are yet considered to be in the same class of nutrients as vitamins and minerals, but many nutritionists believe that in the not too distant future flavonoids will be considered essential to human health, just as Vitamin C or protein is. Flavonoids are found primarily in fruits and vegetables; the major signifier that flavonoids are present in food are bright colors. Flavonoids have been shown to have a host of benefits to human health, including antiviral properties, promoting anti-inflammatory actions, are antioxidants, and even assisting the body in combating tumors.*

The flavonoid content of Pine Pollen varies greatly depending on the variety of tree the pollen is harvested, the date of harvest, and the geographical location, and will even vary from tree to tree when all other conditions are identical. In 65 grams of Pine Pollen between 19 and 292.5 milligrams of flavonoids may be present.

Works Referenced


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