Royal jelly is surging in use across the globe, particularly for medicinal benefits. And it is no wonder… With the rising trend of natural and healthy alternatives to prescription medications and the like, just about any promising "superfood" has been seeing an upward trend.
It is commonly used for everything from asthma, liver disease, diabetes, various skin conditions, cholesterol, hair growth, cognition, and the list goes on… And although it does lack scientific proof for many of the claimed benefits, it nonetheless does qualify as a "superfood" as you will see.
But are there any things you should know about before taking this substance? Any potentially harmful side effects of royal jelly that you need to be aware of?
Well... As with anything in life, including molecules as harmless as water, there are always potentially harmful side effects, which will be the focus of this short article.
But before I get into all that, let's first cover what exactly Royal Jelly, or RJ as I'll be calling it for short, is...
What is royal jelly?
In in a nutshell, it is a nutrient packed secretion that is created by worker bees.
It is so "super" in fact, that it is actually what separates the queen bee from the other normal little bees. When in larvae form, the queen bee is just like all of the others… but when fed RJ this lone bee grows to massive proportions and lays claim to the throne… as the queen of all.
So if it is such a superfood for bees, why not for humans too? It makes perfect sense, right? I mean... Manuka honey is another bee creation that is considered a superfood... so why not this stuff too..
But… Of course humans are very different from bees, as is visually apparent, so what is good and healthy for one won't necessarily be so for the other, which brings me to the side effects that are possible…
As you are probably expecting, and as also stated on WebMD, it is generally safe when consumed orally. In fact, there is one study mentioned on this website where people consumed a product with a combination of royal jelly, bee pollen extract, and bee pollen plus pistol extract for two months, as well as another study on the consumption of a similar combination product for three months… All with no side effects.
That said, there are some possible side effects that you should be aware of, these include…
#1 - Allergic Reactions
If you have severe allergies to pollen and/or bees then RJ may be something that you want to avoid.
The reason for this is because of the protein compounds that RJ contains, that are often associated with bees and pollen, which can cause asthma and anaphylaxis, as well as bronchospasms.
The reason for such reactions would be from having an "immature" system that overreacts to substances it perceives as being harmful, when in reality they are not. The same goes for any allergic reaction.
If you do have allergies to pollen and/or bees, but you really really want to try RJ, just make sure to start off with very low doses and gradually move forward.
#2 - Scalp Reactions
Another possible side effect with the use of RJ is scalp inflammation… If of course you are planning on applying it topically to your scalp.
That said, this seems to be highly unlikely. The only reason I mention it here is because I have found this particular side effect mentioned on several different trustworthy websites, such as WebMD and Drugs.com, although I do not know where they originally obtained information about this.
Basically all that is listed from these different websites is that it has in fact caused inflammation and rashes when applied to the scalp. But based on many other experiences I have read about this, it is probably nothing to worry about by any means.
#3 - Tooth Decay
Now this is pretty much completely dependent on what type of RJ supplements you are actually taking.
The reason tooth decay is a possible side effect is because many RJ supplements actually include honey mixed in with it. This is a popular combination because of this substance's shelf life being pretty short when pure and unmixed, but when being mixed with honey having a much longer shelf life.
And of course we all know how sugary honey is. If you are consuming it regularly it can undoubtedly lead to tooth decay.
But if you are not taking a RJ and honey combination supplement, I wouldn't worry. In itself, royal jelly is only 10 to 16% sugar, and when taking it as a pure product, much of the time it is taken in capsules.
#4 - Increased Bleeding Possibility
On WebMD they mentioned that there is some evidence that it interacts with Warfarin (the prescription drug) and you can increase your chances of bleeding/bruising if you are taking a combination of the two.
This statement apparently comes from a case of a man who experienced increased bleeding while taking the two simultaneously and doctors suspected it could be from RJ.
However, there is very limited information on this and definitely not much proof that RJ would be the cause. To me it seems like a very long reach to place the blame on this bee secretion.
A Healthy and Safe Choice
While there are some side effects worth mentioning, there really is nothing to be too concerned about when it comes to taking royal jelly based on what I have found. As you just read in the list I just went over, there is a lot of uncertainty and lack of proof when it comes to such talk.
And there are plenty of studies out there showing that people can safely take quite a hefty load over an extended period of time without any problems.
I mentioned a couple studies earlier on about people taking such supplements for two and three months with no problems, but there also others out there that show a much higher consumption being safe as well.
- A study of 61 volunteers took royal jelly for 6 months. The volunteers ranged anywhere from 42 to 83 years old and took 3000 mg of RJ per day or a placebo for six months… Besides it showing awesome benefits like an increase in red blood cell production, glucose tolerance and mental health increase, there were no side effects mentioned.
- Another study performed on 49 overweight people had a similar outcome. Although this study was to test RJ's effect on cholesterol, which had a very positive outcome of lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol, the point is that these people took 10 g of RJ for 14 days with no side effects.
Lots of proven benefits..
While a lot of the claimed benefits that royal jelly has are still unproven, or just lack enough scientific backing, there are a number of benefits that have been fairly well proven, some of which include…
- Can be used as an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral
- Increases red blood cell count
- Can lower blood sugar
- Cholesterol balancing
- Increasing cognition
- And more
Can you take too much?
Because it is a rather new "superfood" that is still widely understudied, there isn't any real good suggested dosage that scientists have agreed on unanimously.
That said, it doesn't seem to be any danger in consuming a lot of the stuff. I already mentioned quite a few studies where people were taking it at a decent dosage for an extended period of time, and according to according to examine.com it has even been safely consumed at as much as 6 g per day.
My best advice would be to simply follow the recommended daily amount on whatever supplement you are taking, assuming of course that he supplement you are taking is trustworthy.
I hope you enjoyed 🙂 Comments or questions? Please leave them down below in the comment section…