encyclopedia

Royal Jelly

Natural Sources:
Honeybees and beehives.

Forms:
Fresh or dried and powdered royal jelly

Therapeutic Uses:
– Anti-aging

– Antibacterial

– Anti-inflammatory

– Antimicrobial

– Atherosclerosis

– Blood Purifier

– Bone and Joint Health Maintenance

– Cellular Regeneration

– Cleansing

– Climacteric Symptoms

– Detoxifying

– Fatigue

– Headache

– Heart Health Maintenance

– High Cholesterol

– High Triglycerides

– High Blood Pressure

– Hot Flashes

– Hypertension

– Infections (externally)

– Menopausal Symptoms

– Nutritive

– Osteoporosis

– Skin Problems

– Stress

– Urinary Incontinence

– Wounds

Overview:
Royal jelly is the milky-white gelatinous food fed to queen bees that is secreted from the cephalic glands of nurse bees (Apis mellifera) for stimulating the growth and development of the queen. Royal jelly contains an emulsion of proteins, sugars, lipids and other substances in a water base. Without royal jelly, the queen bee would live only as long as worker bees (seven to eight weeks), however with royal jelly, the queen bee can live five to seven years. This lends royal jelly its reputation as a rejuvenating elixir. Royal jelly has strong antibacterial activity and also has documented hypolipidemic, anti-inflammatory and anticancer activity. A meta-analysis of controlled human studies with royal jelly showed significant reduction in total serum lipids and cholesterol. Royal jelly normalized HDL and LDL cholesterol in those with hyperlipidemia. Researchers concluded that, “royal jelly, at approximately 50 to 100 milligrams per day, decreased total serum cholesterol levels by about 14% and total serum lipids by about 10% in the group of patients studied.” There is preliminary evidence that royal jelly also has antibiotic, immunomodulatory and wound-healing effects. A placebo-controlled randomized trial to evaluate the efficacy of a bee product called melbrosia [containing 257mg bee pollen, 150mg bee bread, 33mg royal jelly and 20mg vitamin C from acerola] in women suffering from severe menopausal symptoms showed a significant decrease of menopausal symptoms including headache, urinary incontinence, vaginal dryness and decreasing vitality. The effect of melbrosia on bone density and osteoporosis during the climacteric period of menopause in peri-menopausal women was also studied by Dr. Werner Salomon, a gynecologist in Hamburg, Germany, in an observational study in his practice over a three-year period from 1989-1993. Dr. Salomon concluded that administration of melbrosia to peri-menopausal women blocked the beginnings of osteoporosis and produced a significant increase in bone density.

Chemistry:
Royal Jelly contains about two thirds water and one-third dry matter. The dry matter contains: Amino acids; carbohydrates; oligopeptides; enzymes; phytosterols; proteins; jelleines; minerals and vitamins. Proteins make up about 13% of royal jelly. One protein in royal jelly called royalsin possesses antibiotic properties against gram-positive bacteria. About 11% of royal jelly is made up of sugars, such as fructose and glucose, similar to those found in honey. Lipids comprise about 5% of the substance and consist mainly of medium-chain hydroxy fatty acids, such as trans-10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid, which is also thought to possess antimicrobial properties. Royal jelly also contains B vitamin complex, pantothenic acid, hormones and methyl p-hydroxybenzoate, a compound common to bee products. Royal jelly contains neopterin, a compound also found in humans that appears to play an important role in the human immune system. Neopterin is also known as 2-amino-6- (1,2,3-trihydroxypropyl)-4 (3H)-pteridinone. Royal jelly also contains 10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid, a compound reported to have anti-cancer effects. One study found that this compound provided complete protection against transplantable mouse leukemia. [Fujiwara S, Imai J, Fujiwara M, et al. A potent antibacterial protein in royal jelly. Purification and determination of the primary structure of royalisin. J Biol Chem. 1990; 265: 11333-11337; Gene M, Aslan A. Determination of trans-10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid content in pure royal jelly products by column liquid chromatography. J Chromatogr. 1999; 839: 265-268; Hamerlinck FF. Neopterin: a review. Exp Dermatol. 1999; 8:167-176; Ishiwata H, Takeda Y, Yamada T, et al. Determination and confirmation of methyl p-hydroxybenzoate in royal jelly and other foods produced by the honey bee. Food Addit Contam, 1999; 12: 281-285].

Suggested Amount:
The daily dose of royal jelly powder is anywhere from 30-100mg daily. Liquid products are often recommended correspondingly with much higher dosages to obtain at least this level of active ingredients. According to a meta-analysis on royal jelly studies, 50 to 100 milligrams per day, decreased total serum cholesterol levels by about 14% and total serum lipids by about 10% in the group of patients studied. The dosage of Melbrosia [a combination bee product containing 257mg bee pollen, 150mg bee bread, 33mg royal jelly and 20mg vitamin C from acerola], in a clinical trial for women suffering from menopausal symptoms, was one capsule taken three times daily for the initial 10-day period, followed by one capsule taken twice daily for the second 10-day period and the maintenance dose given until the end of the therapy was 1 capsule daily. Melbrosia for men, made from naturally fermented bee pollen, is also available and is recommended for those who want to increase their vitality depleted by daily stress. For optimum effectiveness, a 30-day course of melbrosia is recommended several times per year. Royal jelly is also available for topical use in cosmetic formulations, although those who are allergic or hypersensitive to royal jelly may develop dermatitis.

Drug Interactions:
None known.

Contraindications:
Bee products are contraindicated in persons having severe allergies to pollen or hypersensitivity to bee products. Royal jelly is also contraindicated for pregnant and nursing mothers.

Side Effects:

Bee products including royal jelly may cause allergic reactions in susceptible persons including eczema, rhinitis, urticaria and bronchospasm. According to one monograph on royal jelly, there is one report of a woman developing hemorrhagic colitis following use of royal jelly for approximately one month. Acute asthma, anaphylaxis and, in one case, death secondary to royal jelly-induced asthma have also been reported. [Bullock RJ, Rohan A, Straatmans JA. Fatal royal jelly-induced asthma. Med J Aust. 1999; 160: 44; Harwood M, Harding S, Beasley R, Frankish PD. Asthma following royal jelly. N Z Med J. 1996; 109: 325; Thien FC, Leung R, Baldo BA, et al. Asthma and anaphylaxis induced by royal jelly. Clin Exp Allergy. 1996; 26:216-222; Leung R, Ho A, Chan J, et al. Royal jelly consumption and hypersensitivity in the community. Clin Exp Allergy. 1997; 27: 333-336; Yonei Y, Shibagaki K, Tsukada N, et al. Case report: hemorrhagic colitis associated with royal jelly intake. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1997; 12: 495-499.]

Note: Persons with known pollen allergies wanting to use bee products to desensitize their systems using what is called “specific immunotherapy of allergic diseases” should not do so unless under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner. Recent research on this therapy has shown efficacy in some cases while not in others. Specific immunotherapy comprises a special form of allergy treatment, which consists of stepwise increasing doses of the allergen, given subcutaneously or orally with the aim to reprogram the specific immunity (from allergy to tolerance). This requires some experience and an exact allergological workup, since the main mistake in the treatment of this specific immunotherapy is the selection of unsuitable patients. The effectivity of specific immunotherapy is well documented for bee and wasp venom allergy, pollinosis and more and more also for asthma bronchiale.

References:
Abou-Hozaifa BM, Badr El-Din NK. Royal jelly, a possible agent to reduce the nicotine-induced atherogenic lipoprotein profile. Saudi Med J 1995; 16: 337�42.

Fujii A, Kobayashi S, Kuboyama N. 1990. Augmentation of wound healing by royal jelly (RJ) in streptozoticin-diabetic rats. Jpn J Pharmacol. 1990; 53: 331-337.

Shen X, Lu R, He G. 1995. [Effects of lyophilized royal jelly on experimental hyperlipidemia and thrombosis.] [Article in Chinese.] Chung Hua Yu Fang I Hsueh Tsa Chih. 1995; 29:27-29.

Szanto E, Gruber D, Sator M, Knogler W, Huber JC. 1994. [Placebo-controlled study of melbrosia in treatment of climacteric symptoms]. Wien Med Wochenschr. 1994; 144(7): 130-3. German.

Tamura T, Fujii A, Kuboyama N. 1987. [Antitumor effects of royal jelly.] [Article in Japanese.] Nippon Yakurigaku Zasshi. 1987; 89: 73-80.

Tokunaga KH, Yoshida C, Suzuki KM, Maruyama H, Futamura Y, Araki Y, Mishima S. 2004. Antihypertensive effect of peptides from royal jelly in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Biol Pharm Bull. 2004 Feb; 27(2): 189-92.

Vittek J. Effects of royal jelly on serum lipids in experimental animals and humans with atherosclerosis. Experientia. 1995; 51: 927-935.

Additional Information:

Experientia. 1995 Sep 29;51(9-10):927-35. Related Articles, Links

Effect of royal jelly on serum lipids in experimental animals and humans with atherosclerosis.

Vittek J.

Department of Medicine, New York Medical College, Valhalla 10595, USA.

The primary objective of this review was to assess the size and consistency of Royal Jelly (RJ) effect on serum lipids in experimental animals and humans. The data from animal studies were pooled, where possible, and statistically evaluated by Student’s t-test. Meta-analysis was used for the evaluation of human trials. It was found that RJ significantly decreased serum and liver total lipids and cholesterol levels in rats and rabbits and also retarded the formation of atheromas in the aorta of rabbits fed a hyperlipemic diet. Meta-analysis of the controlled human trials of RJ to reduce hyperlipidemia showed a significant reduction in total serum lipids and cholesterol levels and normalization of HDL and LDL as determined from decrease in beta/alpha lipoproteins. The best available evidence suggests that RJ at approximately 50 to 100 mg per day, decreased total serum cholesterol levels by about 14%, and total serum lipids by about 10% in the group of patients studied.

Publication Types:

· Review

· Review, Tutorial

PMID: 7556573 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Wien Med Wochenschr. 1995;145(1):17.

Related Articles, Links

Comment on:

· Wien Med Wochenschr. 1994;144(7):130-3.

[Comment on Edith Szanto, Doris Gruber, M. Sator, W. Knogler and J. C. Huber: Placebo controlled study of Melbrosia in treatment of climacteric symptoms]

[Article in German]

Sieder C.

Publication Types:

· Clinical Trial

· Comment

· Letter

PMID: 7771100 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Peptides. 2004 Jun;25(6):919-28.

Related Articles, Links

Jelleines: a family of antimicrobial peptides from the Royal Jelly of honeybees (Apis mellifera).

Fontana R, Mendes MA, de Souza BM, Konno K, Cesar LM, Malaspina O, Palma MS.

University of Santa Cruz, Ilheus, BA, Brazil.

Four antimicrobial peptides were purified from Royal Jelly of honeybees, by using reverse phase-HPLC and sequenced by using Q-Tof-MS/MS: PFKLSLHL-NH(2) (Jelleine-I), TPFKLSLHL-NH(2) (Jelleine-II), EPFKLSLHL-NH(2) (Jelleine-III), and TPFKLSLH-NH(2) (Jelleine-IV). The peptides were synthesized on-solid phase, purified and submitted to different biological assays: antimicrobial activity, mast cell degranulating activity and hemolysis. The Jelleines-I-III presented exclusively antimicrobial activities against yeast, Gram+ and Gram- bacteria; meanwhile, Jelleine-IV was not active in none of the assays performed. These peptides do not present any similarity with the other antimicrobial peptides from the honeybees; they are produced constitutively by the workers and secreted into Royal Jelly.

PMID: 15203237 [PubMed – in process]

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2004 Apr;68(4):767-73.

Related Articles, Links

Identification of a collagen production-promoting factor from an extract of royal jelly and its possible mechanism.

Koya-Miyata S, Okamoto I, Ushio S, Iwaki K, Ikeda M, Kurimoto M.

Fujisaki Institute, Hayashibara Biochemical Laboratories, Inc., Fujisaki, Okayama, Japan. fujisaki@hayashibara.co.jp

We have previously shown that royal jelly (RJ) promoted collagen production by skin fibroblasts in the presence of ascorbic acid-2-O-alpha-glucoside (AA-2G). In this study, we purified the honeybee RJ-derived collagen production-promoting factor (HBRJ-CPF) from an alkali-solubilized fraction of RJ by C18 reverse-phase column chromatography. The elution profile by the C18 column chromatography and the molecular mass of the purified HBRJ-CPF material coincided with those of 10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid (10H2DA). We then examined the collagen production-promoting activities of several commercially available fatty acids contained in RJ. We found that 10H2DA and 10-hydroxydecanoic acid increased the collagen production in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, 10H2DA induced the fibroblast cell line, NHDF, to produce transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) which is an important factor for collagen production. As expected, the collagen production-promoting activity of 10H2DA was neutralized by the anti-TGF-beta 1 antibody. These result suggest that HBRJ-CPF identified as 10H2DA promoted the collagen production of AA-2G-treated fibroblasts by inducing TGF-beta 1 production.

PMID: 15118301 [PubMed – in process]

Tokunaga KH, Yoshida C, Suzuki KM, Maruyama H, Futamura Y, Araki Y, Mishima S. 2004. Antihypertensive effect of peptides from royal jelly in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Biol Pharm Bull. 2004 Feb; 27(2): 189-92.

API Company Limited Research Institute, 4-23 Shinhon-machi, Kanoh, Gifu 500-8463, Japan..

We have shown that Protease N treated Royal Jelly (ProRJ) and peptides from ProRJ (Ile-Tyr (IY), Val-Tyr (VY), Ile-Val-Tyr (IVY)) inhibited angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) activity and they have an antihypertensive effect in repeated oral administration for 28 d on spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). We investigated the contributive ratio of these peptides in ProRJ for antihypertensive effect in single oral administration on SHR. In single oral administration of each peptide and peptides mixture (MIX; IY, VY and IVY) at doses of 0.5, 1 and 10 mg/kg, systolic blood pressure (SBP) of SHR was reduced dose-dependently. This antihypertensive effect was held for 8 h. These results suggest that peptides contributed to the antihypertensive effect of ProRJ. And the contributive ratio of MIX in ProRJ for antihypertensive effect was computed to be about 38%. Therefore it is considered that intake of peptides, as a functional food would be beneficial for improving blood pressure in people with hypertension.

PMID: 14758031 [PubMed – in process]

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2004 Jan;68(1):138-45.

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Royal jelly inhibits the production of proinflammatory cytokines by activated macrophages.

Kohno K, Okamoto I, Sano O, Arai N, Iwaki K, Ikeda M, Kurimoto M.

Fujisaki Institute, Hayashibara Biochemical Laboratories, Inc., Okayama, Japan. kohnok@hayashibara.co.jp

In this study, we have examined the anti-inflammatory actions of royal jelly (RJ) at a cytokine level. When supernatants of RJ suspensions were added to a culture of mouse peritoneal macrophages stimulated with lipopolysaccharide and IFN-gamma, the production of proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-1, was efficiently inhibited in a dose-dependent manner without having cytotoxic effects on macrophages. This suggests that RJ contains factor(s) responsible for the suppression of proinflammatory cytokine secretion. We named the factor for honeybees RJ-derived anti-inflammatory factor (HBRJ-AIF), and further investigated the molecular aspects of it. Size fractionation study showed that HBRJ-AIF is composed of substances of low (< 5 kDa) and high (> 30 kDa) molecular weights, with the former being a major component. Chromatographic analysis showed that MRJP3 is one candidate for the HBRJ-AIF with high molecular weights. Thus, our results suggest that RJ has anti-inflammatory actions through inhibiting proinflammatory cytokine production by activated macrophages.

Exp Gerontol. 2003 Sep;38(9):965-9.

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Royal Jelly prolongs the life span of C3H/HeJ mice: correlation with reduced DNA damage.

Inoue S, Koya-Miyata S, Ushio S, Iwaki K, Ikeda M, Kurimoto M.

Fujisaki Institute, Hayashibara Biochemical Laboratories, Inc, 675-1 Fujisaki, Okayama 702-8006, Japan. fujisaki@hayashibara.co.jp

In this study, we investigate the effect of dietary Royal Jelly (RJ) on tissue DNA oxidative damage and on the life span of C3H/HeJ mice. In C3H/HeJ mice that were fed a dietary supplement of RJ for 16 weeks, the levels of 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), a marker of oxidative stress, were significantly reduced in kidney DNA and serum. Secondly, we determined the effect of dietary RJ on the life span in C3H/HeJ mice. The 50% mice survivals of intermediate- (about 6 mg/kg weight) and high-dose groups (about 60 mg/kg weight) were reached at significantly longer times than that of the control group according to the generalized Wilcoxon test (p<0.05). The average survival times were 88 weeks for the control group vs. 79 weeks for the low-dose group (about 0.6 mg/kg weight), 112 weeks for the intermediate-dose group and 110 weeks for the high-dose group, respectively, showing that RJ extended the average survival time by about 25% compared to the control group. However, RJ did not extend the total life span. These results indicated that dietary RJ increased the average life span of C3H/HeJ mice, possibly through the mechanism of reduced oxidative damage. PMID: 12954483 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]