Royal jelly also contains vitamins, such as pantothenic acid, minerals and phytosterols. Neopterin, or 2-amino-6- (1,2,3-trihydroxypropyl)-4 (3H)-pteridinone, was initially isolated from royal jelly. Neopterin is also found in humans, and, although its precise role is not known, it appears to play an important role in the human immune system.
Royal jelly is believed to be a potentially useful supplement because of the queen bee’s superior size, strength, stamina, and longevity compared to other bees, but these effects have not been studied in humans. Royal jelly contains all of the B vitamins, including high concentrations of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6). Other nutritional qualities of royal jelly are similar to those of pollen.
Royal jelly, which is secreted from the salivary glands of worker bees, serves as food for all young larvae and as the only food for larvae that will develop into queen bees. Royal jelly contains a mix of vitamins, minerals, proteins and fatty acids. Some studies in rodents indicate royal jelly has anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties.
Fresh liquid royal jelly contains approximately 67% water and must be kept refrigerated or frozen. Like any other product containing that amount of water, it is perishable and has a shelf life of about one year if refrigerated. When properly freeze-dried (lyophilized), only the water is removed and all of the nutrient content remains intact. In it’s freeze-dried form it is now more stable and is concentrated to provide you with a healthy dosage of Mother Nature’s finest product
Royal jelly, synthesized by nurse bees, is fed to all bee larvae for three days and to the queen larva to the exclusion of other foods, making her fertile and increasing her life span. Royal jelly contains 2.0 to 6.4 percent trans-10-hydroxy delta-2-decenoic acid (HDA), a monosaturated fatty acid with a hydroxyl group. Hydroxy fatty acids protect skin from dehydration, and some are strongly anti-inflammatory. Royal jelly contains collagen, lecithin, and vitamins A, C, D and E, all of which benefit the skin. It contains all of the B vitamins and is especially rich in pantothenic acid. Several constituent compounds help lower cholesterol. While royal jelly research lags behind that for other bee products, one review of controlled studies found that in humans, 50 to 100 mg royal jelly per day decreased total cholesterol and triglycerides significantly. In another study, 15 mg/kg body weight slowed the development of atherosclerosis in rabbits.
Royal jelly consists of an emulsion of proteins, sugars, lipids and some other substances in a water base. Proteins make up about 13% of royal jelly. Most of the proteins comprise a family called major royal jelly proteins. One protein in royal jelly called royalsin possesses antibiotic properties against gram-positive, bacteria. About 11% of royal jelly is made up of sugars, such as fructose and glucose, similar to those found in honey. Lipids comprise about 5% of the substance and consist mainly of medium-chain hydroxy fatty acids, such as trans-10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid, which is also thought to possess antimicrobial properties.
BENEFITS OF ROYAL JELLY
The use of royal jelly in support of nutritional health is growing. Currently it is used and recommended by physicians in the US, China, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, England, and Russia. It is used for a variety of ailments, ranging from psychological disorders to heart disease.
For humans, royal jelly possesses the appealing properties of being a creamy emulsion that is strongly antibacterial. These make it an ideal component of cosmetics and skin care products. Internal uses of royal jelly are less promising, as all the antibacterial activities disappear when the pH is raised to above 6 by the natural buffering systems in the body (which maintain a pH of about 7.4). In fact, no clear evidence from controlled experiments exists to support claims of internal usefulness of royal jelly; that in conjunction with the lack of a theoretical chemical basis for activity leads to the conclusion that there is little future promise for pharmaceutical use of royal jelly. Royal jelly is a highly nutritious material. However, its cost precludes its use for any but the most specialized food products for people or animals and its benefits are questionable. Recently, royal jelly has been shown to cause serious reactions, including death, in some individuals who ingest it. This indicates that both more research into the causes of the adverse reactions, and caution in ingesting royal jelly are needed.
Many medicinal uses have been claimed for royal jelly. Some products are said to help rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue, liver disease, kidney problems, pancreatitis, insomnia, stomach ulcers, and skin disorders. There have been no well-designed studies to support its use for humans, however.
Proponents of apitherapy (which also includes the use of other hive products, such as bee pollen, propolis, and bee venom) make many claims for the virtues of royal jelly. Among other things, it is said to increase appetite and general vigor; retard aging; boost longevity; accelerate healing; strengthen the immune system; and exhibit antibiotic and antiviral properties. Specific claims for royal jelly have been made in connection with Parkinson’s disease and other nervous disorders; arthritis; and reproductive and sexual functioning.
Royal jelly has also been recommended for treatment of asthma, depressed immune system, insomnia, fatigue, ulcers, and a host of digestive and skin disorders. It is available at health-food stores and from mail order and online distributors. Royal jelly comes in soft-gel capsules and extracts, and is added as a moisturizing agent to many cosmetic creams, shampoos, and conditioners.
Various herbalist claim that Royal Jelly is especially effective in halting or controlling the aging process, nourishing the skin and erasing facial blemishes and wrinkles. Royal Jelly has also been used to treat cases of fatigue, depression, convalescence from illness, the “growing pains” of adolescence; and in preventing the signs of normal aging or even premature senility. As a general tonic for treating the menopause or male climacteric and to improve sexual performance, Royal Jelly supposedly has a general systemic action rather than any specific biological function.
RISKS OF HIGH INTAKE
Although apitherapy proponents maintain that royal jelly is not only entirely safe but almost miraculously beneficial, a number of deaths have been linked to its use. Australian researchers have reported cases of asthma said to have been induced by royal jelly (including at least one death), and a Japanese report blames royal jelly for causing a case of gastroenteritis. More research is needed, however, to clearly determine the connection between royal jelly and potential allergic reactions.
Some side effects have been reported for royal jelly, including occasional central nervous system symptoms, agitation, heart palpitations, insomnia, and anxiety.