Royal jelly is a milky-white, gelatinous substance secreted by the salivary glands of worker bees to stimulate growth and development of queen bees.
Highly touted royal jelly, fed to the debutante larvae that grow into queen bees, contains a powerful antibacterial protein that Japanese researchers discovered and named royalisin. Rich in amino acids, royalisin is primarily effective against "Gram-positive" bacteria, which include staph and strep species.
Like propolis, royal jelly also appears to have anti-tumor properties. Another team of Japanese researchers gave royal jelly to one of two groups of laboratory mice before transplanting different types of cancer cells in them. The royal jelly had no effect on the leukemia cells, but it had dramatic effects on sarcoma cells.
What are the ingredients of Royal Jelly?
Royal jelly, however, has not lived up to expectations that it is an important anti-aging substance. But it is not without medical interest. Royal jelly consists of an emulsion of proteins, sugars, lipids and some other substances in a water base. Proteins make up about 13% of royal jelly. Most of the proteins comprise a family called major royal jelly proteins. One protein in royal jelly called royalsin possesses antibiotic properties against gram-positive, but not gram-negative, 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.
Although some of the elements found in royal jelly are in microgram quantities, they still can act supremely with co-enzymes as catalysts or can act synergistically. (That is, the elements' action combined is greater than the sum of their actions taken separately.) Royal jelly is rich in protein, vitamins B-1, B-2, B-6, C, E, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, inositol and folic acid. In fact, it contains seventeen times as much pantothenic acid as that found in dry pollen.
Say No to Royal Jelly if you are Allergic to Honey
People who are allergic to bees and honey, and those who have asthma, can face real dangers if they take royal jelly. Reactions ranging from bronchial spasms, skin irritations, and asthma attacks, to more severe anaphylactic shock, and even death, have been reported from its ingestion. As with many supplements, pregnant and lactating women and small children need to refrain from using royal jelly. To be on the safe side, anyone with a compromised immune system also needs to beware.
Royal jelly researches have found benefitial effects as mentioned above, and some possible side effects including royal jelly-induced allergies and respiratory symptoms such as asthma.