Vitamins, Minerals and Dietary Supplements
What is royal jelly? Why do we need it?
Royal jelly is a mixture of flower nectars, sugars, proteins, vitamins and secretions that is made by worker bees to help develop and maintain a queen bee. Royal jelly is fed to bee larvae until they begin to mature; only the queen bee is fed it throughout her life.
Test tube studies have shown that royal jelly fights bacteria. Animal studies have suggested a variety of actions for royal jelly, including more effective wound healing; enhanced immune function; and the lowering of blood cholesterol levels. Several human studies have also found it to significantly lower cholesterol levels.
How much royal jelly should I take?
Although a recommended daily allowance for royal jelly has yet to be established, many alternative health practitioners recommend 50-100mg per day.
What are some good sources of royal jelly? What forms are available?
Royal jelly is made by worker bees, who feed it to the queen bee. It is available as a supplement in many health food stores.
What can happen if I don't get enough royal jelly? What can happen if I take too much? Are there any side-effects I should be aware of?
Because royal jelly is not an essential nutrient, no deficiencies have been reported. To date, no levels have been established for royal jelly toxicity.
Patients who are susceptible allergies may develop sensitivities to royal jelly, and in some cases may provoke a severe allergic reaction. In addition, some manufacturers have raised concerns over the lack of standardized testing for bacterial or environmental contamination in royal jelly (and other bee products).
At present, no evidence of drug interactions has been reported with royal jelly.
- Abou-Hozaifa BM, Roston AAH, El-Nokaly FA. Effects of royal jelly and honey on serum lipids and lipoprotein cholesterol in rats fed cholesterol-enriched diet. J Biomed Sci Ther 1993;9:3544.
- Fleche C, Clement MC, Zeggane S, et al. Contamination of bee products and risk for human health: situation in France. Rev Sci Tech 1997;16:60919.
- Fujii A, Kobayashi S, Kuboyama N, et al. Augmentation of wound healing by royal jelly (RJ) in streptozotocin-diabetic rats. Jpn J Pharmacol 1990;53:3317.
- Sver L, Orsolic N, Tadic Z, et al. A royal jelly as a new potential immunomodulator in rats and mice. Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis 1996;19:318.
- Vittek J. Effect of royal jelly on serum lipids in experimental animals and humans with atherosclerosis. Experientia 1995;51:92735.