Age related illnesses, Immune | October 31, 2018 | Author: Naturopath
Royal jelly is a highly nutritious food fit for a queen! It is secreted by nurse worker bees to larvae and the colony’s queen bee in the hive. Just like honey, royal jelly has a plethora of medicinal qualities that aid in allergies, wound healing, immunity and the fight against ageing. Let’s look at what makes this special jelly so nutritious and how it can benefit our health.
While worker bees derive their energy from honey, special bees called nurse worker bees provide a special type of food for their young and queen bee.
The worker nurse bees collect pollen and uses this to create a milky substance which is secreted from glands in their head. This nutritious food is fed to larvae for the first 2-3 days and queen bees for their entire life. Selected larvae are then transformed into royalty by being injected royal jelly into specialised custom cells to become a queen bee instead of a worker bee.
To break it down royal jelly is mainly made of water, followed by protein, simple sugars, fatty acids and a unique substance known as 10-hodroxy-2-decoenoic acid. It also contains vitamins such as vitamin B5, B6 and vitamin C, trace minerals and enzymes, along with antibacterial, antibiotic and antioxidant qualities.
Depending on climate and location the composition of royal jelly can vary.
Falling under the category of apitherapy, royal jelly is classified as a branch of alternative medicine that uses honey bee products. It has a long-standing history in the East but has more recent roots in the Western world. Royal jelly is a naturally derived substance which has the following benefits.
In a similar way to topical honey, royal jelly enhances wound healing activity. The research demonstrates that royal jelly enhances the migration of fibroblasts (a cell crucial to the production of collagen) and other fibres which are necessary for accelerated skin healing. Royal jelly is particularly beneficial in healing ulcers in diabetics by improving circulation and reducing infection rates.
Hot flushes, changes in mood and vaginal dryness are just some of the complaints reported by menopausal women. In one study, a combination of damiana, evening primrose oil, royal jelly and ginseng decreased the symptoms of menopause and increased feeling of wellbeing.
Another study conducted in women post menopause found that vaginal royal jelly was successful in the treatment of sexual and urinary problems of postmenopausal women and is related to its estrogenic properties.
Royal jelly is a popular supplement to boost collagen levels in the skin and to reduce the visible signs of ageing. It can be taken internally but can also be found in a variety of creams and beauty products.
A study conducted by Kyung Hee University in Korea reports that royal jelly regulates skin photoaging following exposure to ultraviolet-B radiation.
They found the level of procollagen type I protein was increased in the subjects that were fed a dietary supplement containing 1% royal jelly extract.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, royal jelly may help to reduce the histamine response. Although more research needs to be done in this area the positive effect on the immune system seems promising according to Japanese researchers. On the other hand, royal jelly has been identified as containing a protein known to provoke an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals and should be used with caution.
A little-known benefit of royal jelly is its ability to promote the growth of several strains of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus in the digestive tract—making it a useful prebiotic. When added to fermented milk it possessed a symbiotic effect by reducing the level of enzymes involved in colon cancer and increasing the numbers of short chain fatty acids which have an anti-tumour action.
Poor mental state and performance such as in the case of Alzheimer's disease (AD) are mostly experienced by elderly individuals due to aging. Royal jelly, due to its neuroprotective and antioxidant properties stimulates physical and mental functions in the elderly, while also increasing their appetite and weight. Another study reported improved mental health in a human trial upon ingestion of royal jelly for six months.
The best way to purchase royal jelly is to buy a freeze-dried product in capsule from which means that the quality of the product is preserved. In addition to this, always store royal in the fridge. Apart from supplements there is also wide variety of creams that contain royal jelly to aid in skin health.
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If you are allergic to bee products or bee stings—royal jelly isn’t for you. There are case reports of royal jelly causing asthma, allergic dermatitis and anaphylaxis. Always take as directed and consult a health practitioner if you have any medical concerns.
Park HM, et al. Royal jelly protects against ultraviolet B-induced photoaging in human skin fibroblasts via enhancing collagen production. J Med Food. 2011 Sep;14(9):899-906https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21812645
Yakoot M, et al. Effectiveness of a herbal formula in women with menopausal syndrome. Forsch Komplementmed. 2011;18(5):264-8 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22105039
Seyyedi F, et al. Comparison between vaginal royal jelly and vaginal estrogen effects on quality of life and vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women: a clinical trial study. Electron Physician. 2016 Nov 25;8(11):3184-3192 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28070251
Sugiyama T, et al. Royal jelly acid, 10-hydroxy-trans-2-decenoic acid, as a modulator of the innate immune responses. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2012 Dec;12(4):368-76 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23061418
Haddadin SY, et al. The Effect of Royal Jelly on Growth and Short-Chain Fatty Acid Production of Probiotic Bacteria and Activity of Bacterial Procarcinogenic Enzymes in Rat Faeces. Pol. J. Food Nutr. Sci., 2012, Vol. 62, No. 4, pp. 251-258 https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/pjfns/62/4/article-p251.xml
Pasupuleti VR, et al. Honey, Propolis, and Royal Jelly: A Comprehensive Review of Their Biological Actions and Health Benefits. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:1259510 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28814983