Royal jelly: benefits, side effects and drugs

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Royal jelly is a milk-like substance secreted by bees that provides food for developing larvae and queen bees. Alternative physicians often use royal jelly to strengthen the immune system and fight the effects of aging. Others believe that it can treat or prevent a wide range of diseases such as diabetes and even promote fertility. However, there is no evidence to support such claims.

The use of royal jelly is included in apitherapy , a form of alternative medicine that uses bee products such as pollen and bee venom. You can find raw or processed royal jelly.

Also know as

  • Bee saliva
  • Bee scythe
  • Gele royale
  • Honey milk
  • Lait des abeilles

What is royal jelly used for?

Royal jelly is primarily made up of water, sugar, fatty acids, and several unique proteins, one of which is called royal actin.

Many of the purported health benefits of royal jelly are based on the effects of royal actin on the larval development of bees. When the queen bee dies, the worker bees feed the selected female larva with a large quantity of royal jelly, the consumption of which alters the insect's DNA and makes it a queen. Claims that drinking royal jelly can help improve fertility stem from this fact.

Proteins derived from bees, along with various antioxidants and antibacterial compounds, are believed to have benefits for human health. They say that royal jelly cures:

Royal jelly is said to slow down the aging process by scavenging free radicals or fighting infections by strengthening the immune system . It is also used to improve stamina and well-being (not just to treat certain medical conditions).

FDA action

Both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Health Safety Administration (EHSA) have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support such use. The FDA has stepped up action against manufacturers who make false claims about the health benefits of royal jelly .

This does not mean that the research is not promising. Here are just a few of them worth paying attention to.

Diabetes

Royal jelly can regulate blood sugar levels, according to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes in 2016 . According to the study, 50 people with type 2 diabetes received a placebo or 1,000 milligrams (mg) of royal jelly three times a day. At the end of the eight-week trial, the royal jelly group experienced a significant decrease in blood glucose levels , while those receiving the placebo experienced a slight increase.

Despite the positive results, a 2019 review in the World Journal of Diabetes showed only minimal benefit from using royal jelly. Based on an evaluation of 18 clinical studies, the researchers concluded that the quality of the evidence supporting the use of royal jelly in diabetes was low or very low.

High cholesterol

Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) is a serious medical condition associated with atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), heart attack, and stroke.

In a small study published in Gynecological Endocrinology , 36 postmenopausal women who received 150 mg of royal jelly daily experienced a 7.7% increase in HDL ("good") cholesterol and a decrease in LDL ("bad") cholesterol in 4.1% and a reduced total . cholesterol by 3.1%.

Similar results were achieved in a 2017 pharmaceutical biology study in which 40 adults with mild hypercholesterolemia were given a placebo or 350 mg of royal jelly per day. After three months, the LDL and total cholesterol levels in the royal jelly group decreased.

On the other hand, there were no changes in HDL cholesterol, triglycerides , body weight, waist size, or body fat compared to the placebo group.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

Preliminary research suggests that royal jelly may help reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In a 2014 study published in the journal Complementary Therapy in Medicine , 110 college students with PMS were given 1000 mg of royal jelly or a placebo. Treatment began on the first day of menstruation and continued for two menstrual cycles.

After two cycles, the women in the royal jelly group had a reduction of more than 50% in PMS symptom scores and less than 5% in the women who received placebo.

More research is needed to confirm the results and better determine the exact mechanism of action of royal jelly.

Possible side effects.

Despite FDA concerns, royal jelly is considered safe and well-tolerated when used correctly. Research has shown that royal jelly can be taken in daily doses of up to 1,000 mg for three months without noticeable side effects.

However, royal jelly is known to cause allergic reactions in some people, from mild nasal symptoms to life-threatening anaphylaxis . This can be a reaction to the royal jelly itself or to ingredients that are commonly added to supplements, including bee pollen and flower pollen.

Call 911 or seek emergency help if you experience shortness of breath, wheezing, hives, heart palpitations, dizziness, or swelling of the face, throat, or tongue after taking royal jelly. These are symptoms of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can lead to fainting, shock, coma, respiratory or heart failure, and death.

Interactions

Royal jelly can slow blood clotting and increase the effect of blood thinners like warfarin , which can lead to bruising and bleeding. If you use royal jelly regularly, be sure to stop treatment two weeks before your scheduled surgery to avoid excessive bleeding.

Royal jelly can also interact with antihypertensive medications used to treat high blood pressure, causing an abnormal drop in blood pressure ( hypotension ). To avoid interactions, tell your doctor if you plan to use royal jelly and include a list of all the other medications you take, whether they are prescription or over-the-counter.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, check with your OB / GYN before taking royal jelly supplements.

Get Drug Information / Anastasia Tretyak

Selection, preparation and storage

Royal jelly comes in many different forms, including tablets, softgels, liquids, pastes, and raw raw gelatin. It can be found online or in drug stores, health food stores, and some high-end grocery stores.

Additives

Royal jelly supplements are the easiest way to use and dispense. Tablets and softgels are made from lyophilized (lyophilized) royal jelly and can be safely stored at room temperature.

When shopping for royal jelly supplements, choose brands that have been voluntarily tested by an independent certification body such as the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, or ConsumerLab. Certification does not mean that a product is effective, it simply contains the ingredients indicated on the product label. This gives at least some confidence, as the supplements are not regulated in the United States.

Always read the product label to find out what other ingredients are included. If you are not sure what this ingredient is, ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider. To improve quality and safety, choose an organic brand over an inorganic one.

If you are vegan or vegetarian, make sure the jellies you choose are free of animal jellies.

Other drugs

Untreated royal jelly is usually packaged in small dark glass jars in doses ranging from 250 to 500 mg. Royal jelly can be quite bitter and is often mixed with honey to enhance the flavor.

The main disadvantage of raw royal jelly is that it does not store well – only two weeks in the refrigerator or several months in the freezer. It is also quite expensive.

Royal jelly and paste are more stable during storage, but often contain stabilizers and preservatives to extend their shelf life. They can generally be stored for up to six months in the refrigerator or up to three years in the freezer.

If you decide to freeze royal jelly, divide it into small portions first. Thaw only when ready for immediate use. After thawing, royal jelly should not be refrozen.

When exposed to air, royal jelly can change from creamy yellow to dark brown. Over time, the jelly-like texture can also become thicker and harder to drink. Ultimately, the color, texture and flavor are indicators of the freshness of royal jelly.

Never use royal jelly past the expiration date if it smells strange or tastes rotten.

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