Royal jelly (from bees): benefits, properties, uses

Royal jelly is marketed for numerous nutraceutical and cosmetic properties. Here are the benefits, uses and contraindications of royal jelly.

Royal jelly is a gelatinous substance, similar in color to ivory, and produced by the worker bee from some glandular structures. The production of royal jelly is essential for the entire colony of bees, primarily constituting the nourishment of the larvae during their first days of life.

Secondly, although not least, royal jelly is the main substance that the queen bee feeds on during its life cycle, which far exceeds that of worker bees. The longevity, fertility and imposing morphology of the queen bee are attributed, not surprisingly, to the consumption of royal jelly.

Arousing great interest due to its biological destination, royal jelly is today considered a functional food, occupying a prominent place in the world of nutraceuticals and food supplementation. Although there are still numerous aspects to be understood in this regard, current evidence seems to attribute to royal jelly various potentialities for human health.

Generally royal jelly is known to be used as a tonic and antibacterial but its properties are other. In the following paragraphs, the properties of royal jelly will be described, with particular reference to the nutritional, curative and cosmetic aspects. Subsequently, the possible contraindications of royal jelly and the practical and commercial aspects relating to its use will be examined.

Royal jelly: calories and nutritional properties

From a nutritional point of view, royal jelly has a well-known composition. A standard amount of 100 g of royal jelly provides 146 kcal and consists mainly of water. As for the macronutrients relating to the same amount of royal jelly, they are represented for about one third by proteins and the remaining two thirds by fats and carbohydrates.

Regarding the protein and amino acid composition, it is interesting to note how it includes all the essential amino acids for humans, while, as regards the fraction composed of carbohydrates, it essentially consists of soluble sugars. Furthermore, the lipid component boasts the presence of peculiar fatty acids (10-HDA), whose existence in nature is limited to royal jelly. Finally, this product turns out to be free of cholesterol, vegetable fiber and alcohol.

As for the micronutrient content, royal jelly provides some B vitamins (riboflavin, thiamin and niacin), as well as trace amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C. There is also a small fraction of mineral salts. For an overview, follow the table showing the main nutritional values ​​of royal jelly.

Nutritional values ​​per 100g of royal jelly:

  • Waterfall: 66.0 g
  • Power: 146 kcal
  • Proteins: 10.0 g
  • Lipids: 6.0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 14.0 g
  • Starch: 0 g
  • Soluble sugars: 14.0 g
  • Alcohol: 0 g
  • Total fiber: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Thiamine: 0.13 mg
  • Riboflavin: 0.75 mg
  • Niacin: 0.39 mg
  • C vitamin: tr (mg)
  • Vitamin A: tr (μg)

Royal jelly: health benefits

Royal jelly has numerous healing properties, which make it a product of great scientific and commercial interest. The properties documented to date are mainly related to antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects. To these are added promoting effects on wound repair, estrogenic activity and anti-aging action.

In the light of what has been observed, royal jelly seems to have, finally, a promising pharmaceutical potential towards various problems, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer. Traditionally, royal jelly has overall tonic and restorative abilities.

The benefits of royal jelly are attributable to the different nutritional and bioactive components, such as peptides, fatty acids and phenolic compounds. Although further studies are needed on the benefits of royal jelly and its composition in bioactive substances, let’s now see what royal jelly is used for and what it is good for, deepening, point by point, the beneficial effects documented to date.

✓ Tonic and restorative activity

Particularly stressful periods, or pathological / traumatic events can easily affect the overall performance of the organism, generating persistent fatigue, loss of attention and rapid fatigue. The traditional use of royal jelly for tonic and restorative purposes finds ample space among consumers, and is to be attributed to its peculiar composition. To do this there are some bioactive and nutritional elements: the B vitamins, specifically, affect the reactions of energy metabolism, positively impacting the levels of vitality and mental performance.

✓ Antimicrobial property

Several experiments have shown how royal jelly is capable of exerting a versatile antimicrobial activity. In particular, some chemical components contained in it seem to act effectively against various bacterial species, such as the well-known Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Similarly, a certain effectiveness in this sense has also been demonstrated against some species of fungi, among which the Candida albicans species stands out. Finally, royal jelly appears to have antiviral potential, making it effective, for example, against the flu virus.

✓ Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity

Oxidative stress is a well-known condition that is closely linked to multiple pathologies. Thanks to its documented antioxidant activity, royal jelly occupies a prominent place among the natural substances aimed at managing the problem. Several observations conducted on laboratory animals show how royal jelly can fight oxidative stress through different molecular mechanisms taking place inside cells.

Definitely related to the antioxidant activity, the anti-inflammatory activity is also one of the benefits associated with the bioactive components of royal jelly. In general, this substance seems to be responsible for a lowering in the levels of pro-inflammatory molecules.

✓ Helps in wound repair

The rapid and optimal healing of wounds represents a clinical goal that is anything but irrelevant: from this premise comes the importance of substances that can facilitate this process, especially if the products in question are of natural origin. Royal jelly also fits into this context, the effectiveness of which seems to be supported by various experimental evidences. More specifically, royal jelly seems to be effective in repairing tissue lesions by promoting healing processes. This effect appears to occur through various cellular mechanisms.

✓ Supports the immune system

Some events that can take place inside the body, such as allergies, inflammation and tumor processes, require that the responses enacted by the complex human immune system are, in some way, kept under control. In this regard, it seems that royal jelly and, in particular, some fatty acids contained in it, can exert an important immunomodulating activity, contributing to the delicate balance at the base of the defense mechanisms. To learn about other useful remedies for this purpose, we invite you to read: 10 remedies to strengthen the immune system.

✓ Anti-aging activity

Observations conducted on cells and on various laboratory animal models have attributed to royal jelly a notable anti-aging effect, which is associated with a longer duration of the relative life cycles and the linear course of the same. This property appears to manifest itself through various mechanisms, generally involving the biochemical signaling pathways that occur within cells.

✓ Cardioprotective and antidiabetic effect

The preservation of cardiovascular and metabolic health is an aspect of absolute importance, encouraging numerous studies in the nutraceutical field. Some experimental evidence suggests that royal jelly administration may be associated with a general improvement in the lipid profile, impacting the serum levels of total lipids and cholesterol. Furthermore, the bioactive substances contained in royal jelly could have a positive effect on arterial hypertension. Finally, several studies also conducted on humans associate the administration of royal jelly with a lowering of blood glucose levels, suggesting a potential utility in the context of diabetic pathology.

✓ Estrogenic activity

Among the various qualities associated with royal jelly, a documented influence on sexual and reproductive functions stands out. Specifically, some experimental data attribute to royal jelly estrogenic properties and, more generally, the ability to influence various parameters relating to fertility. This evidence was obtained from laboratory animal models.

✓ Anti-cancer activity

Although further and in-depth studies are absolutely necessary to confirm this, some experts suggest that royal jelly can exert a preventive effect against oncological diseases. More specifically, it seems that this natural product can inhibit, through different molecular mechanisms and on different types of cancer, the growth of related cancer cells.

How to use and store royal jelly

It’s time to give some pointers on how to take royal jelly. As already mentioned above, royal jelly is traditionally used to increase energy and overcome periods of stress, but it can also be used as an antibacterial (for example to be used over a sore tooth, while waiting for the dentist) or, simply, to exploit its beneficial properties discussed above.

As for the use of the product for some periods of integration, it is preferable that it is consumed in the morning and on an empty stomach, in quantities of about one gram per day. This small amount of royal jelly is best absorbed when placed immediately under the tongue. To better appreciate its properties, it is preferable to take royal jelly for a period of 20-30 days, repeating the treatment two or three times a year.

The optimal conservation of royal jelly involves the use of small, dark glass containers, preferably with hermetic closure. Such containers should therefore contain a few doses of the product and be placed in the refrigerator. Importantly, royal jelly does not have to be frozen. These expedients allow to better preserve the nutritional properties of royal jelly and to preserve the product for several months.

Royal jelly and children

Subject to pediatric advice, even children over the age of three can benefit from the properties attributed to the product, as long as it is of excellent quality and is stored in the right way. Regarding the doses of royal jelly in childhood, it is advisable to halve the daily amount commonly used for adults, administering half a gram before breakfast. If the sour taste of royal jelly is unpleasant, it can be remedied by adding a small amount of honey to the single dose.

Contraindications of royal jelly

As with many other natural substances, even the consumption of royal jelly could be associated with some contraindications. First of all, it is good practice to submit any consumption of royal jelly during pregnancy and / or breastfeeding to the doctor’s opinion, given the lack of clinical evidence to date regarding the adaptability of the product to these physiological conditions of women.

In order to avoid the occurrence of even severe allergic reactions, particular caution should be exercised in case of previous allergies to bee products. Likewise, caution is advised with low blood pressure and skin conditions. Finally, it is important to verify the compatibility between the consumption of royal jelly and any pharmacological therapies in place. Specifically, the intake of royal jelly seems to be contraindicated in conjunction with anticoagulant treatments.

Ultimately, in the presence of certain pathological states, it is always a good idea to seek medical advice, although, in some cases, royal jelly seems to be even indicated. As it was previously mentioned, the consumption of royal jelly could in fact be beneficial in case of high blood sugar.

Does royal jelly make you fat?

Contrary to popular belief, it is not correct to attribute a sort of “fattening power” to royal jelly. This opinion is quite widespread and arises from the traditional use of this product in the treatment of debilitation and lack of appetite. In reality, the daily consumption of royal jelly, in the small quantities of use and in the context of a correctly balanced normocaloric diet, cannot absolutely be associated with an increase in weight. The few calories of royal jelly are, in this case, negligible.

In the absence of particular pathologies, weight gain is in fact attributable to an overall incorrect diet, characterized by excessive caloric intake and incorrect distribution of macronutrients. Going into the merits of the already mentioned experimental observations, it seems that the conscious consumption of royal jelly can instead be of help in the control of obesity and metabolic disorders. However, further investigation is needed.

Royal jelly in cosmetics: properties for skin and hair

In addition to the nutraceutical field, bee derivatives are definitely appreciated in the world of cosmetics, where they find ample space in the creation of products for external use. Although the scientificity of some effects needs to be clarified, royal jelly is also commonly used in this sense, in order to improve skin elasticity, delay the effects of time and reduce the appearance of acne.

In addition, royal jelly is used to stimulate hair growth and strengthen its roots. It is therefore very easy to find different formulations of hair masks on the market, as well as anti-wrinkle treatments for the face and body lotions. However, the quality of these products, as well as their actual effectiveness, may depend on several factors.

Royal jelly: price and where to buy it

The numerous nutraceutical properties attributed to royal jelly have led to the development, on a global level, of a certain business in this regard, where productivity levels often tend to outweigh the real quality of the product. In fact, it is particularly easy to come across products coming, often, from large Asian productions, whose low import costs make it convenient to trade in poor quality royal jelly, to the detriment of the final buyer.

Where can you buy royal jelly? The fresh or freeze-dried product can be purchased at pharmacies and herbalists, or, directly, at beekeeping companies. In order not to make wrong purchases, it is important to become aware of some details.

First of all, it is important to look for information on the label about the place of origin of the fresh royal jelly, making sure that it was produced and packaged on site. In this regard, it is interesting to refer to some possible quality marks, relating to the associations of Italian royal jelly producers, which guarantee the excellent quality of the product. According to the standards of Italian production, a royal jelly of excellent quality has not undergone freezing processes, and was stored at a temperature of 1-4 ° C immediately after harvesting.

It is also important to choose producers operating according to organic methods , which are able to protect the well-being and good constitution of bees, as well as the health of consumers. In particular, the absence of environmental contaminants, pesticides and chemicals of various kinds within the royal jelly offered for sale is desirable.

As for the different types of product, it is possible to buy royal jelly in the form of capsules and tablets, as well as extracts and, in general, supplements containing more active ingredients. For example, some products may contain royal jelly added to other substances deriving from bees, such as honey and pollen, or to substances of plant origin such as echinacea and papaya. There is no shortage of supplements containing, in addition to royal jelly, also probiotics and added vitamins.

Regarding the purchase prices of fresh product or royal jelly supplements, they may vary depending on the format and the company brand that produces them. However, commercial proposals tend to be economically uniform.


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