Royal jelly is a nutritious substance produced by worker bees, specifically young nurse bees, to feed and nourish the queen bee and developing larvae in a honey bee colony. It is a creamy-white, gelatinous substance with a slightly acidic taste and a distinct aroma.
Royal jelly is secreted from the hypopharyngeal glands of worker bees. It is primarily composed of water (about 60-70%), proteins, sugars (mostly glucose and fructose), lipids, vitamins (including B-complex vitamins), minerals, and trace amounts of other bioactive compounds.
In honey bee colonies, royal jelly serves as the exclusive food for the queen bee throughout her entire life, enabling her to grow larger and live much longer than the worker bees. The diet of royal jelly triggers the physiological changes necessary for the queen to develop reproductive organs and lay eggs. It is believed that the specific combination of nutrients and bioactive substances in royal jelly contributes to these effects.
Royal jelly has gained popularity as a dietary supplement and natural health product. It is available in various forms, such as fresh royal jelly, freeze-dried powder, capsules, and liquid extracts. It is often marketed for its potential health benefits, including boosting immune function, improving fertility, promoting skin health, and providing antioxidant support. However, scientific research on the efficacy and safety of royal jelly for these purposes is limited, and more studies are needed to validate these claims.
It’s worth noting that some individuals may be allergic to royal jelly, experiencing allergic reactions such as skin irritation, asthma symptoms, or even anaphylaxis. If you are considering using royal jelly as a supplement, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to assess potential risks and determine its suitability for your specific circumstances.