It is a gelatinous substance produced by bees to feed queen bees and their young.
It is frequently sold as a dietary supplement to treat various physical ailments and chronic diseases.
While it has long been used in traditional medicine, its applications in Western medicine remain controversial.
Learn about these 12 potential benefits of royal jelly
- It contains a variety of nutrients.
Royal jelly comprises water, carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
The entire chemical composition of royal jelly is unknown, but its positive health effects are believed to stem from its unique proteins and fatty acids.
These include nine glycoproteins known collectively as:
- The main proteins in royal jelly (MRJP).
- Two fatty acids: trans-10-hydroxy-2-decanoic acid and 10-hydroxydecanoic acid.
Royal jelly also contains several B vitamins and trace minerals. However, the nutrient composition varies considerably between royal jelly sources.
Some of the vitamins typically present in royal jelly include:
- Thiamine (B1).
- Riboflavin (B2).
- Pantothenic acid (B5).
- Pyridoxine (b6).
- Niacin (B3).
- Folic acid (b9).
- Inositol (B8).
- Biotin (B7).
These nutrients may provide some of the potential health benefits of royal jelly, although more research is needed on this unique substance.
Royal jelly contains water, carbohydrates, protein, fat, B vitamins, and trace minerals. Its unique proteins and fatty acids may be the reason for its potential health benefits.
- It can provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Royal jelly is widely in demand for reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.
In multiple test tube and animal studies, the specific amino acids, fatty acids, and phenolic compounds found in royal jelly appear to have potent antioxidant effects.
Additionally, several test-tube studies show reduced levels of pro-inflammatory chemicals released by immune cells treated with royal jelly.
While these results are promising, human studies are lacking. More data is needed to draw definitive conclusions on the treatment of inflammation with royal jelly.
Some studies in animals and test tubes indicate that royal jelly may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. However, there is no comprehensive investigation.
- May reduce the risk of heart disease by affecting cholesterol levels.
Both animal and human studies show that royal jelly can positively impact cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Although the exact mechanism is unclear, the specific proteins in royal jelly can help lower cholesterol.
A 12-week study found that rabbits supplemented with royal jelly significantly lowered their total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels by 28% and 23%, respectively.
Similarly, a one-month human study observed an 11% and 4% reduction in total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in people taking about 3 grams of royal jelly daily.
Conversely, another small human study found no significant difference in cholesterol levels between royal jelly participants and those taking a placebo.
While these studies are promising, more research is needed to understand the impact of royal jelly on heart health.
Some research in animals and humans has shown reduced cholesterol levels with royal jelly supplements. However, more studies are needed to confirm these results.
- It can help heal wounds and repair the skin.
Royal jelly, both oral and topical, can contribute to wound healing and other inflammatory skin conditions.
It is known to have an antibacterial effect, which can keep wounds clean and free from infection.
An animal study revealed increased collagen production in rats given royal jelly extract. Collagen is a structural protein vital for skin repair.
A test-tube study showed significantly improved tissue repairability in royal jelly-treated human cells.
Conversely, a more recent human study noted no difference in wound healing between a control group and participants who treated diabetic foot ulcers topically with royal jelly.
Ultimately, more research is needed on the effects of royal jelly on wound healing and tissue repair.
Some research indicates that royal jelly may enhance the production of proteins involved in tissue repair. However, more research is needed.
- Specific proteins can lower blood pressure.
Royal jelly can protect your heart and circulatory system by lowering blood pressure.
Several test-tube studies indicate that specific proteins in royal jelly relax smooth muscle cells in veins and arteries, lowering blood pressure.
A recent animal study examined a supplement that combines royal jelly with other substances derived from bees and found a significant reduction in blood pressure. However, the exact role that royal jelly played in this supplement is unclear.
More research is needed to understand royal jelly’s relationship with blood pressure.
While initial research indicates that specific proteins in royal jelly may lower blood pressure, more research is needed.
- Regulates blood sugar by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation
Royal jelly can also improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.
Multiple animal studies showed increased insulin sensitivity and an apparent protective effect on the pancreatic, liver, and reproductive tissue in obese diabetic rats treated with royal jelly.
A small six-month human study demonstrated a 20% reduction in fasting blood sugar in healthy people supplemented daily with royal jelly.
However, research on this topic is limited.
Several animal studies indicate that royal jelly can increase insulin sensitivity and improve blood sugar control. However, human-based research is limited.
- Antioxidant Properties May Support Healthy Brain Function
Royal jelly can boost brain function.
One study revealed that stress-induced mice treated with royal jelly had lower stress hormones and a more robust central nervous system than the control group.
A separate study resulted in better memory and reduced depression symptoms in postmenopausal rats given royal jelly.
Another animal study showed that rats treated with royal jelly were better able to remove certain chemical deposits in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Most of these studies attribute the protective effect on the brain and nervous tissue to the antioxidant capacity of royal jelly.
Although these data are encouraging, human research is needed.
Several animal studies indicate that royal jelly may benefit brain function, although research in humans is lacking.
- Can it increase tear secretion and treat chronic dry eyes?
Royal jelly can treat dry eyes when taken orally.
An animal study and a small human study showed improvements in chronic dry eyes for those who received oral royal jelly treatment. The results indicate that this substance derived from bees can increase the secretion of tears from the lacrimal glands within your eyes.
No adverse effects were reported from the human study. Therefore, royal jelly could serve as a low-risk solution for chronic dry eyes.
Note that this small sample of data does not indicate that royal jelly can treat dry eyes for most people. Ultimately, more research is needed.
A small amount of data shows that royal jelly can increase tear secretion in people with chronic dry eyes. However, more studies are needed.
- It can provide anti-aging effects through various means.
Royal jelly can slow the aging process in several ways.
Some studies show a longer life expectancy and better cognitive performance in rats treated orally with royal jelly.
Royal jelly is sometimes included in topical skincare products to support the maintenance of healthy, younger-looking skin.
Animal research indicates that royal jelly may support increased collagen production and protect against skin damage associated with UV radiation.
More studies are needed since human research on the anti-aging benefits of oral or topical royal jelly use is insufficient.
Royal jelly can reduce some common symptoms of aging, but research is lacking.
- Can support a healthy immune system
Royal jelly can enhance your body’s natural immune response to foreign bacteria and viruses.
The MRJPs and fatty acids in royal jelly are known to promote antibacterial activity, reducing the incidence of infection and supporting immune function.
However, most applicable data is limited to animal and test tube research. Therefore, more human studies are needed to confirm these effects.
Some animal and test tube research supports royal jelly’s antimicrobial effects and indicates that royal jelly may boost your immune system. However, human studies are lacking.
- Reduces the side effects of cancer treatment
Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments have significant adverse side effects, such as heart failure, inflammation, and gastrointestinal (GI) problems.
Royal jelly can reduce some of the adverse side effects of specific cancer treatments.
One study revealed a significant reduction in chemotherapy-induced heart damage in rats supplemented with royal jelly.
A microscopic study in humans indicated that royal jelly applied topically can prevent mucositis, a side effect of cancer treatment that causes painful ulcers in the digestive tract.
Although encouraging, these studies do not offer definitive conclusions about the role of royal jelly in treating cancer. More research is required.
Royal jelly can treat specific side effects caused by cancer treatment. However, more research is needed.
- Can treat specific symptoms of menopause
Royal jelly can also treat symptoms associated with menopause.
Menopause causes a reduction in circulating hormones that are associated with physical and mental side effects, such as pain, impaired memory, depression, and anxiety.
One study found that royal jelly is effective in reducing depression and improving memory in postmenopausal rats.
Another study in 42 postmenopausal women found that daily supplementation with 800 mg of royal jelly for 12 weeks effectively reduced back pain and anxiety.
Please note that more research is needed.
Royal jelly can effectively treat menopausal symptoms, although more research is needed.
Dosage forms and supplements
Because research is relatively limited, a standard recommended dosage for royal jelly has not been established.
When taken as a dietary supplement, royal jelly is available in its natural state, a gel-like substance, or powder or capsule form.
Benefits have been seen across a wide range of dosages. Current research supports possible benefits at 300–6,000 mg per day.
Royal jelly can also be applied topically to the skin and is sometimes included in commercially available skincare products.
If you have never used royal jelly before, it is best to start with a minimal dose to avoid severe 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
Although it’s probably safe for most, royal jelly isn’t without risks.
Because it is a bee product, people with allergies to bee stings, pollen, or other environmental allergens should be careful.
Some environmental pollutants, such as pesticides, have also been found in royal jelly and could cause allergic reactions.
While the royal jelly is likely safe for most people, severe adverse reactions have occasionally been reported.
These adverse reactions include:
Some of these extreme reactions can even be fatal.
Although generally considered safe, royal jelly can cause severe allergic reactions.
The bottom line
While royal jelly has been used in ancient medical practices for centuries, Western physicians have primarily rejected it due to a lack of research.
However, this bee product, which is different from honey, is still frequently used as an alternative treatment for various physical and mental ailments.
Many of the health claims associated with royal jelly remain unproven. Most of the available research is limited to animal studies and test tubes or microscopic human studies.
Eating royal jelly is not 100% safe. Serious side effects, such as anaphylaxis, have occasionally been reported.