12 potential health benefits of royal jelly

Royal jelly is a gelatinous substance produced by bees to feed queen bees and their young.

It is often sold as a dietary supplement to treat a variety of physical ailments and chronic diseases.

Although it has been used for a long time in traditional medicine, its applications in western medicine are still controversial.

Here are 12 potential benefits of royal jelly.

1. Contains a variety of nutrients

Royal jelly

Royal jelly is made up of water, carbohydrates, proteins and fats (1).

The complete chemical composition of royal jelly is unknown, but it is believed that its positive effects on health derive from its unique fatty acids and proteins (1, 2).

These include nine glycoproteins collectively known as the major proteins of royal jelly (MRJP) and two fatty acids, trans-10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid and 10-hydroxydecanoic acid (2).

Royal jelly also contains several B vitamins and trace minerals.

However, the composition of nutrients varies considerably between the sources of royal jelly (1).

Some of the vitamins typically present in royal jelly include:

  • Thiamine (B1)

  • Riboflavin (B2)

  • Pantothenic acid (B5)

  • Pyridoxine (b6)

  • Niacin (B3)

  • Folic acid (b9)

  • Inositol (B8)

  • Biotin (B7)

These nutrients may provide some of the potential health benefits of royal jelly, although more research is needed on this unique substance.

Summary Royal jelly contains water, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, B vitamins and trace minerals. Their unique proteins and fatty acids can be the reason for their potential health benefits.

2. It can provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects

Royal jelly is widely demanded to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

In multiple test tube and animal studies, the specific amino acids, fatty acids and phenolic compounds found in royal jelly appear to have potent antioxidant effects (3).

In addition, several test tube studies show reduced levels of proinflammatory chemicals released by immune cells treated with royal jelly (4, 5, 6).

While these results are promising, human studies are lacking. More data is needed to draw definitive conclusions about the treatment of inflammation with royal jelly.

Summary Some studies in animals and specimens indicate that royal jelly may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. However, there is no exhaustive investigation.

3. It can reduce the risk of heart disease by affecting cholesterol levels

Both animal and human studies show that royal jelly can have a positive impact on cholesterol levels and, therefore, reduce the risk of heart disease.

Although the exact mechanism is not clear, the specific proteins in royal jelly can help reduce cholesterol (7).

A 12-week study found that rabbits supplemented with royal jelly significantly reduced their total "bad" LDL cholesterol levels and by 28% and 23%, respectively (8).

Similarly, a one month human study showed a reduction of 11% and 4% in the levels of total and "bad" LDL cholesterol in people who took approximately 3 grams of royal jelly daily (9).

Conversely, another small study in humans did not determine significant differences in cholesterol levels between participants treated with royal jelly and those who took a placebo (10).

While these studies are promising, more research is needed to better understand the impact of royal jelly on heart health.

Summary Some research in animals and humans have shown reduced cholesterol levels with royal jelly supplements. However, more studies are needed to confirm these results.

4. It can help heal wounds and repair the skin.

Royal jelly, both oral and topical, can contribute to the healing of wounds and other inflammatory conditions of the skin.

It is known to have an antibacterial effect, which can keep wounds clean and free of infection (11).

An animal study revealed an increase in collagen production in rats that received royal jelly extract. Collagen is a structural protein vital for the repair of the skin (12).

A specimen study showed a significantly improved tissue repair capacity in human cells treated with royal jelly (13).

Conversely, a more recent human study did not notice any difference in wound healing between a control group and participants who treated diabetic foot ulcers via topical with royal jelly (14).

Ultimately, more research is needed on the effects of royal jelly on wound healing and tissue repair.

Summary Some research indicates that royal jelly can improve the production of proteins involved in tissue repair. However, more research is needed.

5. Specific proteins can lower blood pressure

Royal jelly can protect your heart and circulatory system by reducing blood pressure.

Several test tube studies indicate that the specific proteins in royal jelly relax the smooth muscle cells of the veins and arteries, which reduces blood pressure (15).

A recent study in animals examined a supplement that combines royal jelly with other substances derived from bees and found a significant reduction in blood pressure. However, the exact role played by royal jelly in this supplement is unclear (16).

More research is needed to understand the relationship between royal jelly and blood pressure.

Summary While early research indicates that the specific proteins in royal jelly can lower blood pressure, more research is needed.

6. Regulates blood sugar by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation

Royal jelly can also improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.

Multiple studies in animals showed greater sensitivity to insulin and an apparent protective effect on pancreatic, hepatic and reproductive tissue in obese diabetic rats treated with royal jelly (17, 18, 19).

A small six-month human study showed a 20% reduction in fasting blood sugar in healthy people who supplemented daily with royal jelly (10).

However, research on this subject is limited.

Summary Multiple studies in animals indicate that royal jelly can increase insulin sensitivity and improve blood sugar control. However, human-based research is limited.

7. Antioxidant properties can support healthy brain function

Royal jelly can increase brain function.

One study revealed that stress-induced mice treated with royal jelly had lower levels of stress hormones and a more robust central nervous system than the control group (20).

A separate study resulted in better memory and reduction of depression symptoms in postmenopausal rats receiving royal jelly (21).

Another study in animals showed that rats treated with royal jelly could better eliminate certain chemical deposits in the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease (8).

Most of these studies attribute the protective effect on the brain and nervous tissue to the antioxidant capacity of royal jelly.

Although these data are encouraging, human research is needed.

Summary Multiple studies in animals indicate that royal jelly may benefit brain function, although research in humans is lacking.

8. It can increase the secretion of tears and treat chronic dry eyes

Royal jelly can treat dry eyes when taken orally.

A study in animals and in a small human study showed improvements in chronic dry eyes for those who received oral treatment with royal jelly. The results indicate that this substance derived from bees can increase the secretion of tears from the lacrimal glands inside their eyes (22, 23).

No adverse effects of the study were reported in humans. Therefore, royal jelly could serve as a low risk solution for chronic dry eyes.

Keep in mind that this very small sample of data does not indicate that royal jelly can treat the dry eyes of most people. Ultimately, more research is needed.

Summary A small amount of data shows that royal jelly can increase the secretion of tears in people with chronic dry eyes. However, more studies are needed.

9. It can provide anti-aging effects through various means

Royal jelly can slow the aging process in several ways.

Some studies show a higher life expectancy and a better cognitive performance in rats treated orally with royal jelly (24).

Royal jelly is sometimes included in topical skin care products to support the maintenance of healthy, younger-looking skin.

Animal research indicates that royal jelly can support increased collagen production and protection against skin damage associated with exposure to UV radiation (12, 25).

Since human research on the anti-aging benefits of oral or topical royal jelly use is insufficient, more studies are needed.

Summary Royal jelly can reduce some common symptoms of aging, but research is lacking.

10. Can support a healthy immune system

Royal jelly can improve your body's natural immune response to foreign bacteria and viruses (26).

It is known that MRJP and fatty acids in royal jelly promote antibacterial activity, which can reduce the incidence of infection and support immune function (11).

However, most of the applicable data is limited to research with animals and specimens. Therefore, more studies in humans are needed to confirm these effects.

Summary Some research with animals and specimens supports the antimicrobial effects of royal jelly and indicates that this substance can stimulate your immune system. However, human studies are lacking.

11. Reduce side effects of cancer treatment

Chemotherapy and other treatments for cancer have important negative side effects, such as heart failure, inflammation, and gastrointestinal (GI) problems.

Royal jelly can reduce some of the negative side effects associated with certain cancer treatments.

One study revealed a significant reduction in cardiac damage induced by chemotherapy in rats supplemented with royal jelly (27).

A very small study in humans indicated that royal jelly applied topically can prevent mucositis, a side effect of cancer treatment that causes painful ulcerations in the digestive tract (28).

Although encouraging, these studies do not offer definitive conclusions about the role of royal jelly in the treatment of cancer. More research is required.

Summary Royal jelly can treat certain side effects caused by cancer treatment. However, more research is needed.

12. Can treat certain symptoms of menopause

Royal jelly can also treat the symptoms associated with menopause.

Menopause causes a reduction in circulating hormones that is associated with physical and mental side effects, such as pain, impaired memory, depression and anxiety.

One study found that royal jelly is effective in reducing depression and improving memory in postmenopausal rats (21).

Another study in 42 postmenopausal women noted that daily supplementation with 800 mg of royal jelly for 12 weeks was effective in reducing back pain and anxiety (29).

Keep in mind that more research is needed.

Summary Royal jelly can effectively treat the symptoms of menopause, although more research is needed.

Dosage forms and supplements

Because the research is relatively limited, a definite recommended dose for royal jelly has not been established.

When taken as a dietary supplement, royal jelly is available in its natural state, a substance similar to a gel, or in powder or capsule form.

Benefits have been observed in a wide range of doses. Current research supports potential benefits at 300-6,000 mg per day (30).

Royal jelly can also be applied topically on the skin and is sometimes included in skincare products available in the market.

If you have never used royal jelly before, it is best to start with a very small dose to avoid serious allergic reactions and side effects.

Summary There is no official recommended dose for royal jelly. Current research indicates potential benefits at 300-6,000 mg per day.

Risks and side effects

Although it is probably safe for most, royal jelly is not without risks.

Because it is a bee product, people with allergies to bee stings, pollen or other environmental allergens should exercise caution.

Some environmental contaminants, such as pesticides, have also been found in royal jelly and could cause allergic reactions (2).

While it is likely that royal jelly is safe for most people, occasionally serious adverse reactions have been reported. These include (2):

  • Asthma

  • Anaphylaxis

  • Contact dermatitis

Some of these extreme reactions can even be fatal.

Summary Although generally considered safe, royal jelly can cause severe allergic reactions.

The bottom line

While royal jelly has been used in ancient medical practices for centuries, it has been rejected to a large extent by Western doctors due to a lack of research.

However, this bee product, which is different from honey, is still frequently used as an alternative treatment for a variety of physical and mental illnesses.

To date, many of the health claims associated with royal jelly remain unverified. Most of the available research is limited to animal studies and test tubes or very small studies in humans.

Ingesting royal jelly is not 100% safe. Severe side effects, such as anaphylaxis, have occasionally been reported.

Although current research is promising, more research is needed to determine how royal jelly can fit into a healthy lifestyle.

Reference: https: //www.healthline.com/nutrition/royal-jelly


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