Royal Jelly Benefits
Royal jelly is made by the worker bees and it is mostly water, about 60-70%, but it also contains proteins, sugar, fatty acids, vitamins, and other nutrients. Its exact composition varies depending on the climate and geographical environment in which it is made. This milky cream is produced by the worker’s hypopharynx, which is like a salivary gland and is like protein-rich, thin honey.
Nutritional supplements are typically made by processing the royal jelly into freeze-dried granules, which removes the water but leaves the nutrients behind. They can also deliver the jelly in liquid, powdered, capsule, or soft gel forms.
Research has shown that older adults who take regular doses of royal jelly may experience cognitive improvement. This is based on a project that explored the effects of this supplement on healthy participants who were evaluated, both before and after taking this supplement for six months, in several areas of functioning. One of those areas in which improvement was demonstrative was the cognitive section of a mental evaluation.
Royal jelly is also used to boost testosterone levels, though the exact mechanism isn’t fully understood. There is a small amount of testosterone in the natural product, but it isn’t enough to effect such a change it those who take it. It is more likely that this increase is due to stimulation of the pituitary gland, which is involved in the control of hormone production in the body.
Although it is clear that more research is needed into the benefits of this dietary supplement, it makes sense that it is being explored, given the effect it exerts on the differentiation between genetically identical species within the beehive. It is expected that people could benefit from the same epigenetic changes of royal jelly that are enjoyed by the queen bee who eats it exclusively for her entire lifespan.
Royal Jelly Dosage
More research is needed to determine an optimal dosage for royal jelly. Researchers have observed benefits when using 500-1500 mg doses.
The supplement strength is usually offered, in 500 mg increments, up to about 2,000 mg. There are also topical supplements available.
Royal Jelly Mode of Action
The uses for which people use royal jelly are based on the actions that royalactin performs in the physiological differentiation of the queen bee. She grows larger, and more rapidly than her worker siblings because all she eats is royal jelly. Her ovaries develop so that she can lay eggs, something the worker bees can’t do. Scientists have duplicated these effects by feeding royal jelly to fruit flies.
Activation of a ribosomal protein (R70 S6 Kinase) by royalactin, during development, directs the increased size, development speed, and reproductive maturation seen in the queen bee. Ribosomes handle the translating of the genetic code, which is a sequence of amino acids, into proteins. So, the royalactin turns on the gene responsible for making the proteins that cause the queen bee to develop differently than the other bees in the hive. In humans, this kinase is involved in muscle-building and fat cell production.
Royal Jelly Side Effects & Toxicity
Although it seems to be safely ingested by most, care should be taken with royal jelly in those who have asthma, as it may cause an adverse reaction.
It is important to note that there have been instances when royal jelly was associated with anaphylactic episodes, which sometimes including breathing difficulties leading to anaphlyaxis. These are probably due to a proclivity for some to experience an allergy to bee stings.
Royal Jelly Research
There are many other conditions that royal jelly is used to treat. Some uses were discovered inadvertently, while researchers were exploring its usefulness in a different area. That is how the link to red blood cells was found. It had been known for years that this supplement could improve the body’s processing of sugar but, during a six-month study that included regular testing of the blood, there was an unexpected result. Subjects also showed an increase in red blood cell production, but this finding needs more research to confirm it.
Male infertility is a problem with which royal jelly is believed to be useful, but its still unclear how. Although it can increase testosterone, there is more to infertility than hormone deficiency. Research has found that this supplement may improve sexual desire and sperm mobility, but findings on its effect with sperm counts haven’t given meaningful results yet. This work is promising, so far, but what is needed in this case seems to be more study to find the best dose at which all three of these infertility issues are addressed.