Royal Jelly: Is It Good For You?

Royal jelly is a substance that is secreted by nurse bees in a colony to feed larvae and the queen bee. Because of its potency, royal jelly is touted as a dietary supplement and alternative treatment for everything from menopause to skin conditions. 

Royal jelly is harvested from the queen cells of beehives and sold as a supplement or in skin creams to enhance collagen production, ease premenstrual and postmenopausal symptoms, and improve overall health. 

However, while modern science has lent some support to these and other traditional medicine claims about royal jelly, much more research is needed. 

Nutrition Information

One teaspoon of royal jelly contains: 

  • Calories: 20
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 5 grams

Royal jelly contains only trace amounts of other vitamins and minerals. 

Potential Health Benefits of Royal Jelly

Royal jelly carries many potential health benefits that are supported by research. However, royal jelly can also create complications for people with certain medical conditions or allergies. 

Research has found a number of potential health benefits to royal jelly: 

Antibacterial Properties

Royal jelly has demonstrated antibacterial properties against a range of bacteria. The evidence suggests that royal jelly may be a valuable ingredient in developing future antibacterial remedies. 

Antiviral Properties

In addition to its antibacterial properties, royal jelly also shows efficacy against viruses, including the herpes simplex virus. One study found that royal jelly inhibited the growth of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and decreased viral load, suggesting that royal jelly may be used as an alternative treatment to antiviral medication.

Diabetes Management

In a systematic review, royal jelly was shown to be an effective treatment for diabetes mellitus. It demonstrated efficacy in improving glycemic status, lipid profiles, and oxidative stress.

Menopause Support

Royal jelly may help to relieve many of the symptoms associated with menopause. In a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial, women who took 1,000 mg of royal jelly daily over eight weeks saw improvement in symptoms.

Another study showed that vaginal application of royal jelly helped to increase lubrication and reduce vaginal atrophy for women experiencing menopausal symptoms.

Collagen Production

Royal jelly is a popular ingredient in skin creams, and the research supports its use as collagen enhancer. By boosting collagen production in the skin, royal jelly also helps to protect skin against the effects of ultraviolet radiation.

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Potential Risks of Royal Jelly

Because royal jelly is so potent, you should consult with your doctor before taking it or any other supplement. Consider the following before using royal jelly:

Allergies

Royal jelly can cause a range of allergic reactions, from contact dermatitis to anaphylaxis. Use caution when introducing royal jelly and discontinue use if you experience an allergic reaction. 

Pregnancy Concerns

The effects of royal jelly on someone who is pregnant or breast-feeding are unclear. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding a baby, it is best to look for an alternative. 

Medication Interference

Royal jelly may interact with other medications you are taking. Consult your healthcare provider before adding royal jelly to your diet in order to rule out any potential interactions. 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 29, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Complementary Therapies in Medicine: “Effect of Royal Jelly on Menopausal Symptoms: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.”

Complementary Therapies in Medicine: “Effects of Royal jelly on Metabolic Variables in Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review.”

Electronic Physician: “Comparison between Vaginal Royal Jelly and Vaginal Estrogen Effects on Quality of Life and Vaginal Atrophy in Postmenopausal Women: A Clinical Trial Study.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Royal Jelly.”

Journal of Medicinal Food: “Royal Jelly Protects Against Ultraviolet B-induced Photoaging in Human Skin Fibroblasts via Enhancing Collagen Production.”

Microbiology Research: “Royal Jelly: An Ancient Remedy with Remarkable Antibacterial Properties.”

Wounds: “Antiviral Activities of Honey, Royal Jelly, and Acyclovir Against HSV-1.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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