Butterfly and Bee Garden

Butterfly Bee Garden

Understanding the Purpose and Significance of Bees Royal Jelly in Bee Colonies

The bees royal jelly truly is a remarkable food source that unlocks some extraordinary transformations within a bee colony. The best-known bee-related food source is of course honey, but beyond this sugary treat, there is a lot more to explore. There is a wide variety of bee-related products on the market, including pollen, beeswax, propolis, honey, and royal jelly.


These are natural foods that are often used in medicinal products to improve natural healing and improve our health and well-being. So, what is royal jelly for bees?

Bees Royal jelly.

This substance is also known as “Bee Milk”, it’s a thick white substance formed in the nurse bee head glands which if fed to developing bees. It is around 12.5% protein, 60% water, and 11% simple sugars with essential minerals, vitamins, and carbohydrates.



Royal jelly is a rich source of pantothenic acid which assists metabolic fat and carbohydrate functions, and pyridoxine which helps with amino acid metabolism. This is fed to drone and worker larvae until they are three days old and it’s fed to the queen bee throughout her larval period.


The Process of Royal Jelly Production


In the honeybee colony, a fertilized egg could be a queen or worker depending on the diet it is fed in the earliest stages of life. Bee larvae are fed royal jelly secreted from the heads of nurse bees which is packed with vitamins, enzymes, and trace minerals.


Bees around Honeycomb with Royal JellyAfter three days, the larvae that will be workers have their diet switched from royal jelly to bee bread. Bee bread is a mix of nectar, honey, and pollen that is sufficient to develop worker bees.


The queen bee continues to be fed a continuous diet of royal jelly that triggers an epigenetic process that changes her genes. As adults, a queen is larger and looks much larger than a worker but as a larva, they both look the same. There are other key differences, a worker will live 5-7 weeks and a queen can live for 4-7 years.


Potential Health Benefits for Humans


Honey bees royal jelly has traditionally been used in medicine, but its use within the modern medical system is controversial. Let’s take a look at 12 purported health benefits of this substance in more detail.


1.    Nutrient Dense


What is Royal jelly for beesAs we mentioned above, royal jelly is nutrient dense. It contains protein, fat, carbohydrates, and water. The exact chemical makeup is not known, but the health benefits are thought to be derived from fatty acids and unique proteins.



There are nine major royal jelly proteins /MRJPs) known as glycoproteins. There are two fatty acids; 10-Hydroxydecanoic and trans-10-Hydroxy-2-decenoic. Royal jelly also contains several B vitamins: Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Pantothenic acid (B5), Pyridoxine (B6), Niacin (B3), Folic acid (B9), Inositol (B8) and Biotin (B7).


2.    Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant


Royal jelly is believed to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, and this seems to be backed up with animal test studies. There are a number of amino acids, phenolic compounds, and fatty acids in royal jelly that are potent antioxidants.


Test tube studies have found that pro-inflammatory chemical levels are reduced in immune cells that are exposed to royal jelly. More data is needed in this area, there is a distinct lack of human test data to make any definitive conclusions.


3.    Treating Cancer Treatment Side Effects


Most cancer treatments have negative side effects including inflammation, gastrointestinal distress, heart attack, and more. Royal jelly can reduce the side effects that are related to certain types of cancer treatment.


One study discovered a marked decrease in heart damage risk in lab rats that underwent chemotherapy treatment. A human study applied royal jelly topically to prevent mucositis ulcerations in the digestive tract. These studies are encouraging, but far more research is needed to verify these claims.


4.    Menopause Treatment


During menopause, there are fewer hormones associated with anxiety, pain, depression, and impaired memory circulating throughout the body. A study found that royal jelly could improve memory and reduce depression in postmenopausal rats. A subsequent study found that a daily 800mg royal jelly supplement for three months reduced anxiety and back pain in postmenopausal women.


5.    Lowering Cholesterol and Heart Disease Risk


Human and animal studies have found that royal jelly consumption can reduce cholesterol and associated heart attack risks. It is believed that certain proteins are responsible for this positive change, but why this happens is still a mystery.


Busy Bees working on honey comb

A one-month human trial found an 11% and 4% reduction in total and bad cholesterol respectively. The participants consumed 3g of royal jelly every day.


A second human study found no significant difference between the royal jelly takers and those taking a placebo. So, it’s clear that much more research is required to verify these claims.


6.    Skin Repair and Wound Healing


Royal jelly used topically and orally can support skin repair, and wound healing and reduce inflammation at the same time. This substance is also naturally antibacterial to prevent infections and it can increase collagen production which is essential for skin repair. One study carried out on human skin cells showed promising results.


But a recent study found no difference between diabetic foot ulcer healing with royal jelly and standard treatments. More research is required to determine if the enhanced production of proteins needed for skin and wound repair found in royal jelly is effective.


7.    Regulating Blood Sugar


It is believed that royal jelly can improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control because it reduces inflammation and oxidative stress. Many studies have proven that insulin sensitivity increases have protected the liver, pancreatic and reproductive tissues in rats that consume royal jelly.


A six-month human study discovered a 20% fasting blood sugar reduction over a six-month period. More human research is clearly needed with a larger test group over a longer period.


8.    Lowering Blood Pressure


There are claims that royal jelly may reduce blood pressure which can protect the heart and circulatory system. Specific proteins in royal jelly could relax muscle cells in arteries and veins according to several test tube studies.


An animal study found a reduction in blood pressure in subjects fed a supplement that contain bee-derived substances including royal jelly. At this time, the exact role of royal jelly in this supplementation and the subsequent effects are unknown.


9.    Improved Brain Function


A study of stress-induced mice found that the mice treated with royal jelly had a better central nervous system and lower stress hormone levels than the control group. Another study showed reduced depression and improved memory in postmenopausal rats treated with royal jelly.


A subsequent study found that royal jelly helped rats to remove chemical deposits that are linked with Alzheimer’s disease. The further human study is required, but this is encouraging data.


10.                   Healthier Immune System


Royal jelly could enhance the natural immune response to potentially harmful bacteria and viruses. The fatty acids in this substance are known to promote antibacterial activity that could support immune function and reduce the risk of infection. Currently, the data is limited to test tube and animal testing, and human studies are needed to confirm these findings.


11.                   Chronic Dry Eye Treatment


A human and animal study found improvements in chronic dry eye conditions for subjects that received oral royal jelly treatments. This may be linked to increased tear secretion from the lacrimal glands in the eyes. No adverse risks were identified, and this may be an effective low-risk treatment for people with chronic dry eyes.


12.                   Anti-Aging Effects


Bee in Honey CombRats treated orally with royal jelly showed a marked improvement in cognitive function and an increased lifespan. Many topical skin products contain royal jelly as an ingredient to make skin look younger and healthier. Royal jelly may support collagen production to protect the skin from UV radiation which would increase the signs of aging. Although royal jelly can reduce common physical aging symptoms more research is needed to understand the full implications.

Ethical and Sustainable Harvesting


A beekeeper needs to have considerable skill and experience to harvest the royal jelly safely. Some colonies are dedicated to this task and they are set up to create large numbers of queens. A natural hive would prepare a single queen to fight the existing queen to take control of the hive because she is too old to continue.


The queen development takes place in a large cell or cup where large volumes of royal jelly are stored. This accelerates the queen bee’s growth and development, and worker bees produce larger volumes of royal jelly. When the time is right, the beekeeper will remove the queen bee larvae and harvest the royal jelly. This process takes time, patience, and high levels of hygiene.



Honey bees royal jelly is certainly an interesting substance, which may offer significant advantages when it comes to treating a wide variety of ailments naturally. Responsible beekeeping is required to protect the queen bee and the integrity of each colony.


But further research and human trials will be essential if we want to truly understand royal jelly and its full potential for human health.

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