It is the superfood to which endless benefits are attributed, but science has been in charge of denying many of them.
Royal jelly is one of the first superfoods that came into our lives. Present in traditional medicine and rescued from oblivion in the sixties, the star product of nutritional supplements has come back into fashion.
It is the creamy secretion made by bees to feed the royal cell larvae in their early days and the queen throughout her life. It is viscous, of a soft yellow color, and with an acid taste that contrasts with that of honey. The first thing that catches your attention its nutritional power is that, while the workers live only 45 days, the queen bees that feed exclusively with it can live 5 years with great energy to reproduce.
The first modern investigations behind the rediscovery of royal jelly in 1960 and 1972 studied its neurochemical substance and its interaction with developmental hormones, two aspects that were enough to give it a popularity that has done nothing but grow.
China is the country that covers about 60% of the production of royal jelly for human consumption. In its nutritional profile, more than half of water, sugars, proteins (50%), lipids (19%) and carbohydrates (30%) stand out. Likewise, it also contains B vitamins, amino acids and minerals such as iron, calcium, sodium, manganese, copper, potassium and zinc.
Traditionally, royal jelly has been attributed antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiaging effects, of reinforcement of the immune system, stimulants of the production of estrogens -it is not in vain that it is considered one of the traditional remedies that improve fertility-, and also neuroprotectors.
In fact, some studies have come to affirm that it helps increase neurogenesis or the growth of new neurons, and that it is beneficial for regulate cholesterol, diabetes and hypertension. Its popularity increased as a stimulant and provider of energy and as a remedy to combat some symptoms of depression.
It has also been given properties related to the digestive system and the regulation of hormonal activity, especially in women, as well as in the stimulation of appetite. Likewise, royal jelly is one of the substances most used in cosmetics to ensure the health of the skin, it is especially linked to the increased concentration and intellectual capacity, keeping stress at bay.
However, all these benefits that have been almost blindly believed in recent years have been recently questioned in a study in which they have put their real effects on the table.
The real benefits of jelly
The research group has started from the University of Vigo and the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, which have published their conclusions in the journal Nutrients. This is an extensive review of studies in which they question whether the benefits that have been talked about are always sufficiently backed by science. They have been able to verify that it would help reduce cholesterol in the arteries and prevent the accumulation of harmful fat in organs such as the liver, although they consider that some results are contradictory.
They also consider the evidence insufficient to ensure that milk enriched with royal jelly would have the potential to control diseases such as hyperglycemia (type 2 diabetes), hypertension and various types of cancer, such as breast or skin. Yes indeed, in postmenopausal women and women with premenstrual syndrome It has helped them relieve symptoms, an estrogenic function that would also be effective when applied in the form of a vaginal cream. In men it improves sperm mobility.
The conclusions of the review suggest that studies can be found that support each of the properties that have been highlighted in royal jelly, but they are insufficient to determine its effects on the body. In fact, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) attests that all the benefits attributed to it can be obtained with a balanced diet and at a lower economic cost, emphasizing that there is no solid evidence that there is a relationship between its consumption and properties.
How to take royal jelly
If we choose to take in supplement form, it will suffice to consult a specialist and stick to the quantities marked. When fresh, it must be taken into account that it deteriorates rapidly, so it must be kept at temperatures between 0 and -2 degrees in opaque containers.
The first thing before consuming is to make sure that one is not allergic and, if not, introduce it in low doses. In an adult, the average daily intake of 0.5 grams is recommended for five or six weeks, to rest after a month. In children the amount drops to 30 or 50% less. It is recommended to take it before breakfast and keep it under the tongue until it dissolves. It is contraindicated in people with Addison’s disease and asthma.