Royal jelly is a gelatinous substance produced by honey bees to feed the queen bees and their young. It’s frequently sold as a dietary supplement to treat a variety of physical ailments and chronic diseases. While it has long been used in traditional medicine, applications in Western medicine remain controversial.
Here are 6 potential benefits of royal jelly.
1. Contain a variety of nutrients
Royal jelly is comprised of water, carbs, protein and fat.
The full chemical makeup of royal jelly is unknown, but its positive effects on health are thought to stem from its unique proteins and fatty acids.
These include nine glycoproteins collectively known as major royal jelly proteins (MRJPs) and two fatty acids, trans-10-Hydroxy-2-decenoic acid and 10-Hydroxydecanoic acid.
Royal jelly also contains several B vitamins and trace minerals.
However, nutrient composition varies considerably between sources of royal jelly.
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 royal jelly’s potential health benefits, though more research on this unique substance is needed.
Summary Royal jelly contains water, carbs, protein, fat, B vitamins and trace minerals. Its unique proteins and fatty acids may be the reason for its potential health benefits.
2. May Provide anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects
Royal jelly is widely claimed to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
In multiple test-tube and animal studies, 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 from immune cells treated with royal jelly.
While these results are promising, human studies are lacking. More data is needed to draw any definitive conclusions on treating inflammation with royal jelly.
Summary Some animal and test-tube studies indicate royal jelly may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. However, comprehensive research does not exist.
3. May Reduce Heart Disease Risk By Impacting Cholesterol levels
Both animal and human studies demonstrate that royal jelly may positively impact cholesterol levels and thereby reduce heart disease risk.
Though the exact mechanism remains unclear, specific proteins in royal jelly may help lower cholesterol.
One 12-week study found that rabbits supplemented with royal jelly significantly reduced their total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels by 28% and 23%, respectively.
Similarly, a one-month human study saw 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 determined no significant differences in cholesterol levels between participants treated with royal jelly and those on a placebo.
While these studies are promising, more research is needed to better understand royal jelly’s impact on heart health.
Summary Some animal and human research has shown reduced cholesterol levels with royal jelly supplements. However, more studies are needed to confirm these results.
4. May Aid Wound Healing and Skin Repair
Royal jelly — both used orally and topically — may support wound healing and other inflammatory skin conditions.
It’s known to have an antibacterial effect, which can keep wounds clean and free from infection.
One animal study revealed an increase in collagen production in rats given royal jelly extract. Collagen is a structural protein vital for skin repair.
A test-tube study showed significantly enhanced tissue repair capacity in human cells treated with royal jelly.
Conversely, a more recent human study did not notice any difference in wound healing between a control group and participants treating diabetic foot ulcers topically with royal jelly.
Ultimately, more research is needed on royal jelly’s effects on wound healing and tissue repair.
Summary Some research indicates that royal jelly may enhance production of proteins involved in tissue repair. However, more research is needed.
5. Specific Protein May Lower your Blood Pressure
Royal jelly may protect your heart and circulatory system by reducing blood pressure.
Several test-tube studies indicate that specific proteins in royal jelly relax smooth muscle cells in your veins and arteries, thereby lowering blood pressure.
A recent animal study examined a supplement combining royal jelly with other bee-derived substances and found a significant reduction in blood pressure. However, the exact role royal jelly played in this supplement is unclear.
More research is needed to understand royal jelly’s relationship with blood pressure.
Summary While early research indicates that specific proteins in royal jelly may lower blood pressure, more research is needed.
6. Regulates Blood Sugar by Reducing Oxidative Stress and Inflammation
Royal jelly may 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 pancreatic, liver and reproductive tissue in obese, diabetic rats treated with royal jelly.
One small six-month human study demonstrated a 20% reduction in fasting blood sugar in healthy people who supplemented daily with royal jelly.
However, research on this topic is limited.
Summary Multiple animal studies indicate that royal jelly may increase insulin sensitivity and improve blood sugar control. However, human-based research is limited.