I’ve covered this here and there, but the subject cropped up again recently via an email from a customer. What’s actually in royal jelly capsules and is it fresh liquid royal jelly?

There are 4 types of capsules / tablets on the market.

Solid Bee Cap – termed a caplet or tablet

These bee caps are hard tablets and are made from pressed royal jelly powder along with a non nutritive compound to facilitate the forming and shaping of the caplet. The powder which forms the active ingredient is the same powder found in royal jelly capsules.

Royal Jelly Capsules

These are the most common types of packaged vitamin you’ll find. The capsules are generally made from gelatin, which is derived from animal products, usually bovine. Some manufacturers use a natural vegetable gelatin (we do) which includes non nutritive substances like vegetable cellulose and vegetable staeric acid. These sound like chemicals but they are plant based and are used in the capsule shells and/or as excipients in the capsulating process.

These royal jelly capsules are generally white in appearance (the shell is semi translucent and you’re seeing the white powder withing) or sometimes the capsules can be color-died to give them more of a pharmaceutical look.

The gelatin shell is a two-piece shell which can usually be pulled apart easily and the contents removed. With our royal jelly and Total Bee Plus capsules we suggest to people who have trouble swallowing pills to just pull the capsules apart and empty the contents into a cold drink. They’re not completely water soluble but mostly so.

Soft Gel Royal Jelly Capsules

Here we start with a little controversy. Many people who buy soft gel caps believe they’re actually buying fresh liquid royal jelly inside a capsule. Most manufacturers who make their caps this way do little to point out the fact that this is incorrect. The royal jelly contained within most soft gel caps has usually been freeze dried then reconstituted with a solution for encapsulation. So it might look like fresh liquid royal jelly but it’s important to understand that it has been freeze dried.

Liquid Royal Jelly in a Capsule

Some manufacturers do package liquid royal jelly in a capsule but it’s generally combined with other substances to help preserve it. These can be natural preservatives and/or chemical preservatives. Oddly enough the liquid royal jelly has most likely been pasteurized prior to capsulation, so the process doesn’t really fit in with the end product. It’s being sold as being somehow beneficial but it’s actually a damaged product due to the heat processes involved. Also, when you package your royal jelly in this way it cannot be concentrated. So generally the liquid caps you’ll encounter contain only around 150mg of active ingredient, where the freeze-dried caps contain 1000mg or more.

So these are the most common types of royal jelly caps. We favor the second option, using freeze dried powders in the 2-piece veggie cap shell. The powder is never heated, it’s had only its water content removed, and the cap is not an animal based product. 

Lastly, there are 2 common capsule sizes used in the vitamin supplement industry. The size O and size OO. Using the smaller size O cap we can get up to 1000mg of concentrated powder (3:1) and using the larger size OO cap, which we use for our Total Bee Plus, we can get 1250 mg of active ingredient from a combination of concentrated and non concentrated powders.