Royal jelly, they say this stuff treats just about any problem, ailment, or disease, but does it really? Does this "superfood" really have superpowers? Or is Royal jelly a scam?
Is this just another fad that is going to make its run and then die off into the distance never to be seen again?
You've probably read things online that it can benefit people in all sorts of ways. Of course you can't always trust what you read, but supposedly it…
- Boosts immune health
- Fights effects of aging
- Reduces inflammation
- Lowers risk of heart disease
- Helps the body heal
- Reduces oxidative stress
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
- And even helps improve cognitive function
But it's not like we haven't seen all sorts of over-hyped "super foods" in the past that are a big hit for a little while as they just make their way onto the health scene, then lose their edge when people find out they really aren't as effective as they thought.
What exactly is Royal Jelly in the first place?
Royal jelly is a nutrient-rich secretion created by worker bees as a food for larvae and the adult queen bee.
This secretion is fed to all of the larvae early on, and all of the larvae are identical. However, one of these larvaes rises to the top and becomes queen, which is the result of being fed this Royal jelly secretion for an extended period of time.
That's right, the consumption of Royal jelly is what separates the queen bee from the peasant (worker) bees, and it allows her to stay strong as well as live up to 40 times longer.
Pretty crazy right?
If it can do all of this for a bee then it makes sense that it would at least have some health benefits for humans, does it not?
And contrary to what you may think, this is not some new health fad. Supplementing Royal jelly for medicinal reasons has been used in traditional Eastern medicine for thousands of years, and it is now becoming increasingly popular in the West.
It seems that a lot of different Chinese medicines are becoming more popular nowadays with the rise of holistic health approaches.
Does It Have Proven Health Benefits?
Okay, so it has been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years and is what makes a queen bee so big and strong, but this doesn't necessarily prove that it is actually beneficial for humans to consume.
Is there any scientific proof of this?
Of course we always want good old-fashioned science to back up the claims.
Fortunately, yes there is. Although there is definitely room for a heck of a lot more research on the many potential health benefits of royal jelly, there is a body of research that is continuing to grow.
I'm not going to be covering every single benefit that has been discovered, but below are a list of a few studies that prove its effectiveness, and/or potential effectiveness in certain areas…
- 2012 study published in the Nutrition Journal concludes that RJ improves red blood cell production, glucose tolerance and mental health after a long 6 month test on 61 healthy volunteers.
- Another 2012, this one published in Joint Diseases & Related Surgery, concluded that RJ can decrease bone loss due to osteoporosis.
- 2015 study suggests that taking royal jelly may even increase the quality of regenerated bone, which could be of high importance for people who suffer from broken bones.
- Study from 2011 in the journal Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggests that oral administration of RJ may increase the regeneration of hippocampal granule cells, which are important in cognitive processes. In a nutshell... it could make you smarter or ward off degenerative cognitive conditions.
- 2014 study in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine suggests that royal jelly may help control diabetes. In this study 25 female volunteers with type 2 diabetes supplemented RJ and afterwards their mean fasting "blood glucose decreased remarkably".
- 2016 study from Mediators of Inflammation shows that royal jelly has anti-inflammatory effects, some of which coming from three fatty acids it contains. RJ was shown to have inhibitory effects on major inflammatory-mediators.
As mentioned there is still a lot more room for research to be done. Many of the studies simply suggest that royal jelly has certain benefits, such as by saying that it "may" do this, or "could" do that.
However, the amount of research that has been done on it already is very promising.
It is an incredibly nutrient-dense food for bees that leads to the rise of the queen bee and it definitely has some benefits for men and women too.
The majority of people out there will not have to worry at all about side effects, however there is some potential for royal jelly to cause harm.
Royal jelly is a bee product, as you already know. So it makes sense that some people may experience allergic reactions that result in asthma and swelling of the throat.
If you have allergies to pollen you may want to be extremely careful with this. If you are concerned, be sure to consult with your doctor beforehand.
Scam or Not?
So is royal jelly a scam?
I think you can see that the answer to this is… Absolutely not.
While there are definitely some over-hyped claims out there that somewhat make this food seem like a "cure all" or miracle causing superfood, which may be a bit misleading, there is no doubt that royal jelly has many health benefits, some known and some either un-backed by science or undiscovered.
Be Careful What You Buy
If you are going to buy royal jelly you want to be careful with what you purchase. There are a lot of products out there and it can be a bit confusing because they vary a lot.
Some royal jelly products are mixed with honey so that they last longer, some are sold in capsule form, some are just pure jelly and so on.
The products that are not 100% pure you of course are going to want to make sure you know how much royal jelly is actually in them, so you know whether or not you're getting ripped off.
Also be sure to read the labels. Some products may require refrigeration and others may not. It all depends on how they are packaged, prepared and whether or not they are mixed with other substances which could help with preservation.
How to Add It Into Your Diet
Well of course if you buy royal jelly in softgel capsules they can be taken at any time.
However, if you buy royal jelly in a jar you may want to add it into your diet by way of mixing it with drinks, such as coffee, tea, smoothies etc.
The substance is a thick white/yellow pale gel -like substance that is sweet but also has a somewhat acidic/bitter taste to it, so you may also want to mix it with something sweet like honey if it isn't already.