TikTokers are eating bee pollen to grow their breasts.
The substance has not been studied extensively but may contain phytoestrogens that could impact female hormones.
Bee pollen can be dangerous for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or experiencing seasonal allergies.
Bee stings can swell. But can bee pollen swell your breasts?
Scientifically, the answer is “no”—or, at least, no data supports the claim. But on TikTok, users are more optimistic: Influencers post videos of themselves adding bee pollen to meals to stimulate breast growth.
If you have patients partaking in this recent trend, you may want to talk to them about bee pollen’s risks and benefits. This way, you can offer instructions on using the product safely—and help patients set realistic expectations for potential breast growth.
What is bee pollen?
Bee pollen is the substance worker bees produce when pollinating plants and flowers; it consists of plant pollen, bee saliva, and nectar. It can be purchased online or at some grocery stores as a supplement or seasoning, usually in small, clumpy pellets about the size of peppercorns. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the substance.
On TikTok, users sprinkle it onto foods like fruit or yogurt, taking about one teaspoon daily.
Is there any connection between bee pollen and breast size?
According to Nisarg Patel, MBBS, MS, an OB/GYN with ClinicSpots, the idea that bee pollen could increase breast size wasn’t taken out of thin air. Bee pollen contains various nutrients, antioxidants, and phytoestrogens—plant components that mimic estrogen, he explains.
It is known that fluctuations in estrogen—along with hormones like progesterone—may impact breast size. Estrogen is a critical hormone for breast growth during puberty. During pregnancy, the influx of progesterone can also lead to larger breasts. With this in mind, some theorize that bee pollen can act as a hormonal supplement for breast growth.
“Some people believe that taking bee pollen can stimulate breast tissue growth and increase breast size,” Dr. Patel says.
According to the Western New York Urology Associates (WNY Urology), phytoestrogens may be able to stimulate the growth of breast tissue if taken in large enough doses—which, according to some studies, is much higher than those currently taken. In some individuals, phytoestrogens can also decrease estrogen availability and inhibit the ability of natural estrogen to bind to cells.
However, taking large doses of phytoestrogens to stimulate breast enlargement can be dangerous, as it greatly increases the risks of breast cancer, according to WNY Urology. Researchers say that the relationship between phytoestrogens and breast cancer is controversial and that the exact impact may depend on individual variables.
When it comes to bee pollen’s impact on breast size, “there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, and there are some potential risks and side effects associated with bee pollen consumption,” Dr. Patel says.
Bee pollen’s risks and benefits
There is mixed research on bee pollen’s safety and effectiveness for women’s health. Some studies suggest that bee pollen supplements may alleviate menopause symptoms related to low estrogen. But, others say that it could present harmful hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy.
On TikTok, users have reported side effects like soreness and itchiness of breasts, cramping, or lost periods after taking bee pollen. As with breast growth, whether these effects are connected to the supplement or to an external variable is unclear.
People who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or experiencing seasonal allergies should also steer clear of bee pollen—particularly if they are allergic to bees or pollen—says Dr. Patel. Encourage patients to talk to you about the supplements and nutritional additives they are using and to seek help if they are experiencing adverse reactions.
What this means for you
Some people on TikTok are eating bee pollen to stimulate breast growth. Research shows that bee pollen may contain phytoestrogens that could impact female hormones, but when taken at a safe dose, probably not enough to enhance breast size. Bee pollen can be dangerous for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or experiencing seasonal allergies.