Royal jelly is a creamy white substance with a high nutrient content that young bees make to feed queen bee larvae. There are claims that it offers a range of health benefits, such as easing the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and supporting wound healing.
Royal jelly is highly nutritious and may have antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties may be responsible for many of the health claims about royal jelly. People usually consume it orally or apply it directly to the skin.
Research suggests that certain nutrients in royal jelly are beneficial for health. However, there is little evidence that these benefits come specifically from royal jelly itself.
In this article, we examine the potential benefits of royal jelly and the science that supports these claims.
The nutritional content of royal jelly is a potential benefit in itself as the substance provides a range of essential nutrients that are necessary for good health. Royal jelly comprises:
- water (50 to 60 percent)
- proteins (18 percent)
- carbohydrates (15 percent)
- lipids (3 to 6 percent)
- mineral salts (1.5 percent)
There are small amounts of vitamins and minerals in royal jelly, including several types of vitamin B. It also contains some polyphenols, which are a type of plant-based chemical that is rich in antioxidants.
Royal jelly may provide relief from the symptoms of menopause.
A 2011 study looked at the effect of a combination of four natural ingredients, including royal jelly, on menstrual symptoms. The researchers gave 120 women either a capsule containing the four ingredients or a placebo twice a day over 4 weeks.
The women in both groups noted a reduction in symptoms, but those who took the capsule had significantly better results than those in the placebo group.
Royal jelly may also be beneficial for people with premenstrual syndrome.
In a 2014 study, the investigators gave 110 participants either a royal jelly capsule or a placebo once every day over two menstrual cycles. The participants who took the royal jelly capsules had less severe premenstrual syndrome symptoms over the 2 months.
According to some research, royal jelly could speed up the process of wound healing.
The results of a laboratory study in the journal Nutrition Research and Practice showed that royal jelly might significantly increase the movement of fibroblasts to a wound. Fibroblasts are a type of cell that coordinates the process of wound healing.
There is some evidence that royal jelly may have benefits for people with type 2 diabetes.
In one study, 50 female participants with type 2 diabetes received either a 1-gram dose of royal jelly gel or a placebo once a day for 8 weeks.
The results indicated that taking royal jelly may lead to a reduction in the level of blood glucose. Lower glucose levels in the blood are beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.
However, the researchers note that more studies with a larger number of participants are necessary.
Royal jelly is a natural remedy, and, therefore, it is not subject to regulation by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In fact, there is no formal safety assessment of royal jelly by the FDA or any other regulatory body. As a result, the contents of royal jelly products may vary.
A report from the World Health Organization (WHO) says that it is possible for royal jelly to cause allergic reactions in some people. People with asthma or other allergies may have a higher risk of a reaction.
It is essential to consult a doctor if any of the following symptoms occur after taking royal jelly:
- excessive itching
- wheezing or other breathing problems
- digestive issues, such as abdominal pain or diarrhea
- dizziness or confusion
Royal jelly may also interact with certain medications, such as blood pressure drugs. It is advisable to consult a doctor before taking royal jelly to avoid any harmful interactions.
Royal jelly can come in different forms. It is possible to take royal jelly orally or to apply it directly to the skin.
The production of fresh royal jelly may result in a gel-like substance, but other types of royal jelly are freeze-dried. It can also come in powder form within a pill or capsule, which may contain other filler ingredients.
While there are no formal guidelines regarding dosage, it is vital to start with very small amounts of royal jelly. People should stop using royal jelly immediately if they have an allergic reaction.
There are very few high-quality studies on royal jelly, and much of the existing research is in animals. Far more research is necessary to determine whether or not these health claims are valid.
People may take royal jelly safely in moderate amounts, but they should stop using it immediately if there is any sign of a reaction.