Royal jelly obviously affects fertility in bees but research at the Biotechnology Research Center in Toyoma, Japan found that royalactin also affected the reproductive ability of fruit flies, a distant relative of the honeybee.
The coinciding factor appeared to be EFGR, a protein shared by both species that senses hormones called epidermal growth factors. Additionally, a 2010 study conducted at Alexandria University in Alexandria, Egypt found that royal jelly increased the fertility of “heat-stressed” male rabbits while a 2006 study conducted at the Jordan University of Science and Technology in Irbid, Jordan found that female sheep injected with royal jelly were as fertile as those treated with a follicle-stimulating hormone and more fertile than the control group.
Can the reproductive benefits apply to humans? According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center website, royal jelly has estrogenic effects in females, meaning it affects the production of estrogen and stimulates estrus, the period of sexual excitability just before ovulation, and may also help with male infertility. A study conducted in 2008 at the Sohag University in Egypt found that a combination of honey and royal jelly applied into the vagina before intercourse increased the motility of sperm in men with a form of infertility called asthenozoospermia.
Anecdotal evidence based on personal experiences seems to support the researchers’ findings. Internet forums on infertility and reproductive issues are abuzz with claims that royal jelly (especially when taken with bee pollen) increased the number of follicles and normalized hormone levels that were previously low. Low hormone levels can prevent implantation and pregnancy rates. Posters claimed that taking royal jelly for three months seemed to make a positive difference in blood tests that measured reproductive hormones.
Because royal jelly contains so many beneficial nutrients, increased fertility could also be due to an increase in overall cell health. When cells receive adequate vitamins, minerals and enzymes, they perform better and heal faster. Additionally, bee products may increase the body’s ability to process insulin and access energy stores. Increased energy could result in better fertility.
Royal jelly can be mixed with a liquid and taken orally. Due to its delicate components, it should not be mixed with a hot liquid. Royal jelly also comes in gel capsules, powder and premixed with honey. Because it is rare, royal jelly can be expensive.
While more research is needed on the reproductive benefits of royal jelly, the evidence seems to indicate that it may help with infertility and possesses few, if any, side effects. Because royal jelly is produced by bees, individuals with sensitivity to bee stings may experience a reaction, including itching, hives, and swelling. In allergic individuals, a more serious reaction can occur, which can include breathing difficulty, shock or death. People with hay fever or allergies to bees or bee products should consult a qualified medical professional before taking or using royal jelly. [read more on: royal jelly and its impact on fertility in both men and women] [Blog post on fertility benefits for men]