Royal Jelly benefit, side effects, understanding how to buy royal jelly – bee pollen.
Royal jelly is secreted from the salivary glands of worker bees to provide the food source for all young larvae. As the larvae develop and the Queen bee forms, royal jelly continues as her sole source of food. Looking at what’s in it in more detail, we see a mix of vitamins, minerals, proteins and fatty acids. Also of note is the presence of acid glycosides and sterols, such as stigmasterol.
Containing almost 70% water, we must look to its solid mass to search for any substances of nutritional interest, where we see a high percentage of proteins with many of the vitamins, minerals and amino acids that are the focus of a plethora of popular health supplements. Refer also to our sections on bee pollen and propolis. Nested inside royal jelly are all of the B vitamins along with vitamins A, C, D, E and K. There are 18 from the 22 amino acids found in the human body along with minerals and other important substances including nucleic acids and adenosine monophosphate (AMP) which is also found in Royal Jelly.
Health benefit of royal jelly – what can it do for me? It is important to understand that very few studies have been undertaken to examine the health benefit of royal jelly on humans, or put more aptly, the ‘potential’ health benefits. Always looking for safe and natural ways in which to augment our health, much attention has turned to Royal Jelly’s properties and various clinical studies on animals (rats and mice) have been undertaken. In animals, royal jelly has demonstrated the capacity to extend life and has shown at a DNA level a positive benefit on cells and cell regeneration, connected with anti aging and longevity.
Anti-fatigue effect of fresh royal jelly (on mice) – Documented within the Journal of Nutritional Science.
“We investigated the anti-fatigue effect of royal jelly, which had been stored at -20 degrees C from immediately after collection, in male Std ddY mice.
Mice were separated into three groups with equal swimming capacity, and were administered royal jelly, royal jelly stored at 40 degrees C for 7 d (40-7d royal jelly), or the control solution including casein, cornstarch, and soybean oil before swimming. All mice were forced to swim for 15 min once; then the maximum swimming time to fatigue was measured after a rest period.
The swimming endurance of the royal jelly group significantly increased compared with those of the other groups. The mice in the royal jelly group showed significantly decreased accumulation of serum lactate and serum ammonia and decreased depletion of muscle glycogen after swimming compared with the other groups, whereas there was no significant difference between the 40-7d RJ group and the control group in these parameters after swimming.
A quantitative analysis of constituents in royal jelly showed that 5 7-kDa protein, which we previously identified as a possible freshness marker of royal jelly, was specifically degraded in royal jelly stored at 40 degrees C for 7 d, whereas the contents of various vitamins, 10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid, and other fatty acids in RJ were unchanged.
These findings suggest that royal jelly can ameliorate the physical fatigue after exercise, and this anti-fatigue effect of royal jelly in mice seems to be associated with the freshness of RJ, possibly with the content of 5 7-kDa protein.”
Many other similar studies have been undertaken in efforts to hone in on the benefits of royal jelly with a view to understanding them more fully and exploring ways in which they might be used to benefit human health.
It should also be stated that bee pollen, a substance also found in the beehive, has a long association with increased energy and stamina in humans. It seems that each substance found in the hive plays a specific role as a natural health product and people buy bee products for their anti aging properties (royal Jelly) energy, stamina and weight loss properties (bee pollen) and anti viral / anti fungal properties (propolis). Honey and beeswax are also commonly used as nutritional aids with assumed health benefits.
But focusing on actual scientific data, there are few ‘facts’ that can be presented. Certainly the above study suggests potential benefits on energy levels and other studies have reported benefits on blood pressure and levels of cholesterol.
But most of the other ‘claims’ as to the human beneficial side effects relate to studies on other products which share some vitamin or mineral similarity to royal jelly and/or bee pollen. For example, it is accepted that amino acids are a vital component of health and well being therefore many supplements make use of a high amino acid content, such as body building and training supplements. So in seeing that bee products also contain these amino acids, it becomes a natural step to assume the benefits widely associated with amino acid supplementation will also transpose to bee products.
Royal Jelly side effects
When we talk about side effects there’s obviously a negative connotation involved. In the case of royal jelly, certain negative side effects have been observed, including cases exhibiting asthma-like symptoms, swelling of the throat, ‘hives’ and in very rare cases, Anaphilaxis. Also in very rare cases it might cause stomach pain and bloody diarrhea.
If we were to single out any ingested substance and ‘ban’ it based on known issues amongst a small number of users then clearly there wouldn’t be much available to choose from. So it’s important to keep cases of negative reaction and negative side affects of royal jelly in perspective by considering how many people have ingested a certain substance and how many have reacted in a negative way. With that considered, it is generally accepted that royal jelly and other beehive products are very safe for human consumption.
It is commonly stated that honey should not be given to children aged 2 years or younger, and since there may be trace amounts of honey in royal jelly, it should also be avoided.
If you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, consult with your health practitioner before using this or any other supplement.
As always, certain individuals may be more susceptible to negative reaction and therefore should not take supplementation without the requisite level of medical intervention and supervision.
In many cases people assume that if they’re allergic to bee stings then they might also be allergic to bee products. A bee sting contains bee venom, which is a different substance altogether than royal jelly, or bee pollen. So it doesn’t make it any more or less likely that a person who suffers a negative reaction to a bee sting will also suffer the same reaction when ingesting these products.
Of course there are ways in which you can mitigate the risks. – When you purchase the products you’ll see the recommended daily dosage can be anywhere from on capsule / caplet to as many as 8 or more. Start our by just opening up one capsule and placing some powder on the back of your tongue.
It should be noted that royal jelly does have a slightly acidic feel to it, so you may feel a very, very mild tingling sensation, which is quite normal. But if you feel anything more severe, perhaps facial flushing, a desire to cough or wheeze, then it may be best not to take it.
If you pass the simple tongue test, still start out slowly with one capsule per day. If you feel any intestinal issues, cramping or any other symptoms that cannot be attributed to other effects, then stop taking it. If the symptoms persist, then consult a doctor.
So what does all of that mean, where does it leave me, and should I bother to try these bee products for myself?
Certainly there are many natural health products on the market vying for your time, attention and money. So performing due diligence, undertaking research and making an informed decision is a vital part of your decision making process (or should be). That said, it’s easy to become misled by erroneous information and resources geared towards parting you with your hard earned money.
In the case of bee products, and in particular royal jelly, there’s a hot debate that you may encounter when doing your research pertaining to the benefits of fresh royal jelly versus freeze dried.
Certain companies try to introduce a competitive angle by making claims about having a superior product when it is sold in fresh liquid form. The fact that these companies generally have a fresh liquid product which is shipped in a frozen state clearly indicates that they do not consider the fact the at some point during the cycle, royal jelly is going to be subjected to ‘cold’, as an issue.
So it seems that they’re more concerned with remarking about the fact that water is removed from the fresh substance. Well, if the water is removed by a cold process, there really shouldn’t be anything to be concerned about when looking at the nutritional integrity of the remaining product. After all, cold processing is a widely used method of preserving freshness and integrity in the food industry. But for reasons which can only fall under ‘marketing’, these companies maintain the claims of superiority from their fresh liquid products.
The irony is that in most cases their fresh liquid royal jelly will need to have been pasteurized in order for it to be shipped and handled safely without it spoiling. That’s not an opinion, it’s a requirement of the law. You can’t buy liquid food products without them having first been secured for safe consumption, with pasteurization being the preferred method of processing.
Check the labels on your “Fresh – straight from Florida fruit juices” and you’ll see what I mean. There is no special dispensation for royal jelly or any other nutritional product.