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While Royal Jelly has been used in ancient medicinal practices for centuries, it has been largely rejected by Western medical practitioners due to a lack of research.
Nonetheless, this bee product — which is different than honey — is still frequently used as an alternative treatment for a variety of physical and mental ailments.
Royal jelly is comprised of water, carbs, protein and fat .
The full chemical makeup of royal jelly is unknown, but its positive effects on health are thought to stem from its unique proteins and fatty acids.
These include nine glycoproteins collectively known as major royal jelly proteins and two fatty acids.
Royal jelly also contains several B vitamins and trace minerals.
However, nutrient composition varies considerably between sources of royal jelly.
Some of the vitamins typically present in royal jelly include:
Pantothenic acid (B5)
Folic acid (B9)
These nutrients may provide some of royal jelly’s potential health benefits, though more research on this unique substance is needed.
Royal jelly is widely claimed to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
Both animal and human studies demonstrate that royal jelly may positively impact cholesterol levels and thereby reduce heart disease risk.
Royal jelly — both used orally and topically — is used in wound healing and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Royal jelly may protect your heart and circulatory system by reducing blood pressure.
Royal jelly is said to improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.
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
Royal Jelly could serve as a low-risk solution for chronic dry eyes.
Royal jelly may slow the aging process in several ways.
Royal jelly is often included in topical skin care products to support maintenance of healthy, younger-looking skin.
Royal jelly may enhance your body’s natural immune response to foreign bacteria and viruses
Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments come with significant negative side effects, including heart failure, inflammation and gastrointestinal (GI) issues.
Royal jelly may reduce some of the negative side effects associated with certain cancer treatments.
Royal jelly may also treat 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 royal jelly effective at reducing depression and improving memory in postmenopausal rats.
Another study in 42 postmenopausal women noticed that supplementing daily with 800 mg of royal jelly for 12 weeks was effective in reducing back pain and anxiety.
Keep in mind that more research is needed.
Dosage and Supplement Forms
Because research is relatively limited, a definitive recommended dosage for royal jelly hasn’t been established.
When taken as a dietary supplement, royal jelly is available in its natural state — a gel-like substance — or in powder or capsule form.
Benefits have been observed in a wide range of dosages. Current research supports possible benefits at 300–6,000 mg per day.
If you’ve never used royal jelly before, it’s best to start with a very small dose to avoid serious allergic reactions and side effects.
There is no official recommended dosage for royal jelly. Current research indicates possible benefits at 300–6,000 mg per day.
Risks and Side Effects
Though probably safe for most, royal jelly is not without risks.
Because it’s 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 lead to allergic reactions.
While using royal jelly is likely safe for most people, serious adverse reactions have occasionally been reported. These include:
Some of these extreme reactions could even be fatal.
Though generally considered safe, royal jelly may lead to serious allergic reactions.
The Bottom Line
To date, many of the health claims associated with royal jelly remain unproven. The bulk of available research is limited to animal and test-tube or very small human studies.
Ingesting royal jelly is not 100% risk-free. Serious side effects such as anaphylaxis have occasionally been reported.
Though current research is promising, more research is needed to determine how royal jelly may fit into a healthy lifestyle.
Written by Ansley Hill, RD, LD on October 3, 2018