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Royal jelly

Category: Food



Introduction and description

Royal jelly is a honey bee secretion that is used in the nutrition of larvae, as well as adult queens. It is secreted from the glands in the hypopharynx of worker bees, and fed to all larvae in the colony, regardless of sex or caste.

When worker bees decide to make a new queen, either because the old one is weakening, or died, they choose several small larvae and feed them with copious amounts of royal jelly in specially constructed queen cells. This type of feeding triggers the development of queen morphology, including the fully developed ovaries needed to lay eggs. The photo below shows the larvae surrounded by royal jelly.

According to the research done and published on PubMed, Royal jelly has considerable healing potential. It is anti-viral, anti-bacterial , and boosts the immune system thus helping in wound healing. It has anti-tumour capabilities – see references below. It also appears to have helpful effects in cases of dementia and dAlzheimers. It also helps in collagen production, as such it has so called 'anti-aging' properties. And it also has some very interesting effects in the infertile .  It also appears to have a helpful effect during the menopause.


One of the more intriguing things that came out of the research I did on Royal jelly was to discover there is  a link between BPA and breast cancer.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a man-made carbon-based synthetic compound used to make certain plastics and epoxy resins; it has been in commercial use since 1957. BPA-based plastic is used to make a variety of common consumer goods (such as baby and water bottles, sports equipment, and CDs and DVDs) and for industrial purposes, like lining water pipes. Epoxy resins containing BPA are used as coatings on the inside of many food and beverage cans. It is also used in making thermal paper such as that used in sales receipts.

The paper that makes this link is the following.

Effect of royal jelly on bisphenol A-induced proliferation of human breast cancer cells. - Bisphenol A (BPA) is an environmental estrogen that stimulates proliferation of human breast cancer MCF-7 cells. Royal jelly inhibited the growth-promoting effect of BPA on MCF-7 cells, in addition, this inhibiting effect of royal jelly was heat-stable
Nakaya M, Onda H, Sasaki K, Yukiyoshi A, Tachibana H, Yamada K. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2007 Jan;71(1):253-5. Epub 2007 Jan 7. PMID: 17213647


Sometimes you eat it, sometimes it is used as an ointment.

How it works

Very complicated, it is best to refer to the papers below.

References and further reading

Effect of royal jelly ingestion for six months on healthy volunteers.  -  Six-month ingestion of RJ in humans improved erythropoiesis, glucose tolerance and mental health
Morita H, Ikeda T, Kajita K, Fujioka K, Mori I, Okada H, Uno Y, Ishizuka T. Nutr J. 2012 Sep 21;11:77. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-77. PMID: 22995464

Royal jelly increases collagen production in rat skin after ovariectomy. - Park HM, Cho MH, Cho Y, Kim SY. J Med Food. 2012 Jun;15(6):568-75. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2011.1888. Epub 2012 Apr 2.  PMID: 22468645

The effects of royal jelly on autoimmunity in Graves' disease. -RJ may be effective as an immunomodulatory agent in Graves' disease
Erem C, Deger O, Ovali E, Barlak Y. Endocrine. 2006 Oct;30(2):175-83. PMID: 17322576

Royal jelly and its unique fatty acid, 10-hydroxy-trans-2-decenoic acid, promote neurogenesis by neural stem/progenitor cells in vitro.  - The observations suggest that RJ contains plural components that differently influence neuronal and/or glial lineages and that HDEA is one of such components of RJ that facilitates neurogenesis by NSCs.
Hattori N, Nomoto H, Fukumitsu H, Mishima S, Furukawa S.  Biomed Res. 2007 Oct;28(5):261-6. PMID: 18000339

Influence of royal jelly on the reproductive function of puberty male rats. - high-dose royal jelly oral administration for 4 weeks adversely affected the reproductive system of pubescent male rats, [in effect high doses when eaten had an adverse effect]
Yang A, Zhou M, Zhang L, Xie G, Chen H, Liu Z, Ma W. Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Jun;50(6):1834-40. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2012.02.098. Epub 2012 Mar 8. PMID: 22426244

Royal jelly counteracts bucks' "summer infertility".  - It was concluded that royal jelly administration to heat stressed male rabbits can counteract their "summer infertility" and improve their physiological status - Elnagar SA. Anim Reprod Sci. 2010 Aug;121(1-2):174-80. doi: 10.1016/j.anireprosci.2010.05.008. Epub 2010 May 20. PMID: 20538419

Contribution of lipids in honeybee (Apis mellifera) royal jelly to health. - Lipids in RJ are useful as preventive and supportive medicines with functionalities that include potential inhibitors of cancer growth, immune system modulators, alternative therapies for menopause, skin-aging protectors, neurogenesis inducers, and more. Taken together, the evidence suggests that health-protecting properties of RJ can be, in part, ascribed to actions of lipids in RJ
Li X, Huang C, Xue Y.  J Med Food. 2013 Feb;16(2):96-102. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2012.2425. Epub 2013 Jan 25. Review.  PMID: 23351082

Royal jelly acid, 10-hydroxy-trans-2-decenoic acid, as a modulator of the innate immune responses.  Sugiyama T, Takahashi K, Mori H. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2012 Dec;12(4):368-76. Review. PMID: 23061418

Royal jelly protects against ultraviolet B-induced photoaging in human skin fibroblasts via enhancing collagen production.  - RJ may potentially protect the skin from UVB-induced photoaging by enhancing collagen production.
Park HM, Hwang E, Lee KG, Han SM, Cho Y, Kim SY.  J Med Food. 2011 Sep;14(9):899-906. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2010.1363. Epub 2011 Aug 3.  PMID: 21812645

Royal Jelly Prevents the Progression of Sarcopenia in Aged Mice In Vivo and In Vitro.  Sarcopenia is characterized by the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength
Niu K, Guo H, Guo Y, Ebihara S, Asada M, Ohrui T, Furukawa K, Ichinose M, Yanai K, Kudo Y, Arai H, Okazaki T, Nagatomi R. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2013 May 8. [Epub ahead of print]  PMID: 23657970

The efficacy of topical Royal Jelly on diabetic foot ulcers healing: A case series.  -  Royal Jelly dressing may be an effective method for treating diabetic foot ulcers besides standard treatments.
Siavash M, Shokri S, Haghighi S, Mohammadi M, Shahtalebi MA, Farajzadehgan Z. J Res Med Sci. 2011 Jul;16(7):904-9. PMID: 22279458 

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