Royal jelly is the organic substance with the highest concentration and biological quality of nutrients. In fact, it provides energy, amino acids, vitamins and minerals which are unparalleled both in terms of quantity and quality.
What is royal jelly?
It is the main sustenance of bee larvae throughout their first three days of life after coming out from the royal cells. Moreover, it also feeds the queen of the colony around its five years of life.
Royal jelly is produced by specialized organs. These are called hypopharyngeal glands, located in the head of bee workers that are not older than 15 days. Therefore, this substance mixes with the digestive juices, resulting in this peculiar elixir that will prolong the life of the bee queen forty times more than a normal bee lifespan.
This is a quite interesting fact within the hierarchical organization of this animal species. During their first three days of life, the larvae need royal jelly to gain a lot of weight. After these days, those bees meant to be workers will stop eating it. Instead, they will feed from a concentrate made of honey, pollen and water. On the contrary, those bees that have the possibility of becoming queens will eat royal jelly throughout their whole lives.
Industrial production of royal jelly
Evidently, this natural process has to be manipulated in order to produce high amounts of royal jelly for human consumption.
The main one consists of removing the bee queen from the colony. Its absence stimulates the bee workers and increases the building process of new royal cells in order to produce queens. Consequently, this pushes them to fill them with royal jelly. Then, we can extract it after three days. However, if we want an effective stimulus, we need to ensure that there is plenty of pollen, honey and water in the hive.
The hypopharyngeal glands of these young bees are programmed to synthesize 10-hydroxydecanoic acid. Meanwhile, the mandibular glands (also located in the head) produce a blend of volatile fatty acids, mainly 9-hexadecenoic and octanoic acid. In fact, it seems that they also participate in the synthesis of 10-hydroxydecanoic acid to a lesser extent.
- The age of the bees
- Season. The glands lower their production during the winter, also called latency period. Consequently, this affects the biological quality of the jelly, but it will go back to normal once the plants start to bloom. The parameters that undergo most changes are the organic acids, which are responsible for the quality of the jelly.
- A deficient manipulation or preservation. Moreover, the proportion of organic acids present in the product changes depending of their aging.
- The wind, light and high temperatures substantially change their biological quality and aspect, accelerating this aging process. In general, it is naturally unstable in environmental conditions, which is why it preservation in the short term is quite complicate.
The origin of royal jelly
Royal jelly was discovered in 1933 by the German Nobel Prize Dr F. Bergius. He set himself to conduct an analytical study of this product and he came across such degree of complexity that he decided to deepen more.
In fact, he performed different tests on himself. He felt younger in many ways, even if he was fifty years old at the time. For instance, he recovered the sexual potency and its health overall improved too.
Five years later, M. Boyer de Belvefer designed a research protocol that consisted of giving royal jelly to dogs, pigs and cats. The aim was to prove that said effects were the result of the placebo effect. However, due to the positive results that he gathered, he started to administer this product to his relatives.
But we would have to wait until the Pope Pio XII started to take a royal jelly extract. He was advised by his doctor because he was experiencing a period of overall weakness, bad health and diseases. The result was that he felt restored and invigorated, something that did not go unnoticed among the general public. Thus, its commercialization as a natural product started to take shape.
Properties of royal jelly
Fresh and unmodified royal jelly is a creamy substance that smells almost like milk. It has an acid taste with a spicy touch.
About its preservation, the best thing is to store it in an opaque glass recipient. In fact, do not use metal since it touch can be aggressive for the jelly. Fill it to the top, do not leave air in between. Once packaged, make sure that its temperature is as constant as possible, around 4ºC.
Moreover, it also includes the following vitamins:
Royal jelly and honey
The differences between royal jelly and honey are quite noticeable in terms of their composition. After all, their origin is different.
Honey does not have proteins nor lipids, instead it has carbohydrates (mainly fructose and glucose). Moreover, its vitamin profile is considerably lower than that of royal jelly.
Uses of royal jelly
It is a substance that has been studied for many years, resulting in many discoveries regarding its properties for our health such as:
- Providing a useful boost of energy and vitamins.
- Vitality. The reason why royal jelly is a complete organic substance that can even support the immune defenses.
- Helping with the bacteriostatic action (that is, controlling the bacterial growth. It seems that this is thanks to the 10-hydroxydecanoic acids that make up the lipid structure.
- Playing a dynamic role, since it stimulates the use of oxygen by the tissues, enhancing the cell metabolism.
What can be royal jelly used for?
- Mental or physical fatigue
- Symptoms of the menopause and menstruation
- Blood pressure alterations
- Sexual impotence and infertility
- Any type of cardiovascular problem
- Any sign associated to a weakened immune system
- Neurological disorders like anxiety, depression and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease
Therefore, it can be used to:
- Combat tiredness and depression
- Menstrual and circulatory disorders
- Control the LDL of low density lipoprotein alterations
Extremely effective for:
- People who need to enhance their memory, mainly students and the elderly. But it obviously need a rigorous and constant intake. It is not use to take a macrodose the night before an exam. Actually, we need to make a supplementation plan according to our needs in the long term.
- Those who suffer blood pressure imbalances. For instance, those who experience sudden drops or rises in blood pressure without an apparent cause, as well as those who suffer chronic hypertension. Royal jelly should buffer the tension or work as an hypotensive factor, in fact, it is one of the most recommended products for these people.
- Women who expect to become pregnant. There is evidence that royal jelly can help to improve the fertility and with it, increase the chances of becoming pregnant. Moreover, this effects can also improve the male fertility, which is why it is advisable for the couple to take royal jelly. Although the best thing a women can do is consult a specialist to get the necessary information about the intake of royal jelly.
Benefits of royal jelly
It stimulates the production of sex hormones, testosterone in men and 17-beta-stradiol in women, increasing the libido and regulating the endocrine activity. That is why its consumption tends to be advised in order to control menstrual and postmenopausal disorders.
Royal jelly also stimulates the hormone production of the adrenal glands. This is related to bone, joint and muscle disorders such as arthritis, arthrosis, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
This is due to its collagen content. Said substance is directly involved in the aging process and taking fresh or lyophilized royal jelly contributes to slowing down said process.
It provides energy to the nervous system and apparently it provides the oxygenation of the brain tissue. Moreover, it has a remarkable choline content, which is a precursor of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that improves the transmission of nerve impulses.
This property can help us treat many pathologies and disorders that affect the central nervous system. In fact, it has been discovered that it can improve the symptoms of depression, Alzheimer or multiple sclerosis among others.
Moreover, it could also improve other aspects in terms of emotions or cognition, such as the mood, stress, focus and memory.
It stimulates the production of one of the main strains of white cells, the lymphocytes. Consequently, it strengthens the immune system to prevent and treat infections. People tend to take just during the winter just because of that.
It can complement medicines when it comes to treating colds or the flu as well as to support the immune system of risk groups: children, the elderly and immunodeficient people.
Royal jelly can contribute to regulating gastric problems and stimulating weight gains in prematurely born children.
Its folic acid content, one of the group B vitamins, plays a role in the synthesis of red cells in the bone marrow. That is why it is advised to treat anemia or to prevent coronary diseases.
Moreover, it helps to repair tissues that have suffered functional alterations. Due to its enzyme content, it supports the metabolic processes without altering the physiological activity.
Several studies have assessed its effects when it comes to fighting against the passing of time and to regenerate the tissues.
Although with less scientific evidence, it can be used to enhance the treatment for urinary incontinence, bone fractures and several eating disorders.
Types of royal jelly
- Fresh Royal Jelly. Original product, this substance resembles a frozen yogurt that the bee workers produce from honey and pollen with their respective glands.
- Natural Royal Jelly. Sold without undergoing any chemical process nor addition of preservatives. Therefore, we need to store it at a constant temperature, between 0 and 4ºC in order to preserve its properties.
- Lyophilized Royal Jelly. It has undergone lyophilization, a very common technological process used in the food and pharmaceutical industry. Basically, it consists of freezing the product in vacuum and without additives to evaporate all its water through sublimation. So, the final product is a thin and crystalline powder. This type of royal jelly triples its nutrient concentration when compared to the fresh and natural formats. Therefore, it is an excellent way of preserving all the properties of the fresh product that can also be stored at room temperature. In addition, it is important for the manufacturers and distributors to receive bio certification in order to ensure the absence of antibiotics.
Contraindications of royal jelly
- Recurrent headaches
- Addison’s disease: it hinders the ability of the adrenal glands to synthesize hormones.
- Diabetes if it has sucrose, although it can be consumed if the carbohydrate base is either fructose or inverted sugar.
- Logically, allergy to one of its components
How to take royal jelly
If we want to prevent respiratory pathologies and common infections, the best thing is to be constant when it comes to its intake. For instance, if we want to prevent colds and the flu, the best thing would be start taking it at the end of summer. The purpose should be anticipating the temperature changes that tend to trigger these problems.
On the contrary, if we want to treat weakness, stress or anemia, we will have to pay attention to the symptoms of said problems.
Take royal jelly on an empty stomach
There are products whose main ingredient is royal jelly, but it can be combined with others like propolis, honey, vitamins and minerals. These blends tend to come in mono-dose vials or capsules and usually you just need to take one of them on an empty stomach.
In any case, you can experience the effects of royal jelly after taking if for three or four weeks, as long as we follow a healthy diet.
For those who suffer chronic diseases who need an extra supply, the dose can go from a minimum of 500mg up to 2 grams a day. In general, it is advised to take it half an hour before breakfast.
Combine royal jelly
It is ideal to face those crucial moments that demand a big effort. For instance, exam periods or hard physical work. Perhaps, the most extended protocol consists of taking this blend for two months in a row and stop for once in order to take it for another two months.
Together, royal jelly and ginseng provide energy to the body quickly. Consequently, we will be more efficient when performing tasks while delaying the onset of fatigue.
Nevertheless, always avoid taking royal jelly and ginseng before going to sleep. You will most certainly not be able to fall asleep due to its stimulating effects on the body and metabolic processes.
Main benefits of this combination:
- Getting a really restful sleep for those who have problems to fall asleep. Consequently, our mind and muscles will rest, allowing us to perform better during the day.
- Protecting the body against the harmful effects of chemical products and radiations according to some studies. Depending on the intensity of said protection, it will lower the risk of tumors. Therefore, it seems that it could benefit those that have been exposed to electromagnetic radiations or suffered an intoxication.
- Reducing the coloration caused by melanin in specific areas. Moreover, it is useful to mask eye bags and anomalous pigmentation.
- Increasing the collagen production in the dermis or intermediate layer of the skin. In addition, it tones it and makes it more elastic.
Before taking royal jelly with ginseng, we need to discard if we suffer hypertension or a high blood coagulation time. This can be easily detected with a simple test.
Elder and royal jelly is an excellent combination to relieve throat pain. Moreover, it can also help against the symptoms of colds and the flu. If we add honey and zinc to this blend, we will get an excellent combo with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
- In order to consume this complex, we need to follow the recommended dose by the manufacturer. This will help us avoid an excess of the active ingredients from elder.
- Like we mentioned previously regarding the blend with ginseng, it is advisable to take it in cycle of two months and one of rest.
- Although we cannot mention a specific moment for its intake, it is always preferably to do so in the morning before breakfast.
- The first time you take it, make sure to take a small teaspoon. This will help you discard allergic reactions to some of the substances from the blend.
- Ginseng, eleuthero, green tea and multivitamins. For periods of physical or mental effort.
- Foods rich in lactic enzymes, inulin, propolis and multivitamins. To balance the intestinal bacterial flora.
- Vitamins, selenium and zinc. Energizer
- Echinacea. For children during the growth periods and to strengthen the defenses before winter.
- Evening Primrose Oil, tryptophan, choline, lithium and vitamin C. To relax and fall asleep.
- Almeer RS, Kassab RB, AlBasher GI, Alarifi S, Alkahtani S, Ali D, Abdel Moneim AE. Royal jelly mitigates cadmium-induced neuronal damage in mouse cortex. Mol Biol Rep. 2018 Nov 9. doi: 10.1007/s11033-018-4451-x.
- Shimizu S, Matsushita H, Minami A, Kanazawa H, Suzuki T, Watanabe K, Wakatsuki A. Royal jelly does not prevent bone loss but improves bone strength in ovariectomized rats. Climacteric. 2018 Oct 9:1-6. doi: 10.1080/13697137.2018.1517739.
- Winkler P, Sieg F, Buttstedt A. Transcriptional Control of Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Major Royal Jelly Proteins by 20-Hydroxyecdysone. Insects. 2018 Sep 19;9(3). pii: E122. doi: 10.3390/insects9030122.
- Okumura N, Toda T, Ozawa Y, Watanabe K, Ikuta T, Tatefuji T, Hashimoto K, Shimizu T. Royal Jelly Delays Motor Functional Impairment During Aging in Genetically Heterogeneous Male Mice. Nutrients. 2018 Sep 1;10(9). pii: E1191. doi: 10.3390/nu10091191.