What does royal jelly do?
Royal jelly is one of the best sources of pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5,1 which is needed for healthy growth and to help release energy from food. If you have a deficiency in B5 you may notice you're more prone to infections, suffer low mood and experience gastrointestinal complaints, although experts say that more research is needed to establish this.
Royal jelly contains antioxidants called flavonoids, which may protect cells in the body from damage by free radicals and protect against heart disease.2
It also contains the antioxidant pinocembrin, a flavonoid which has antibacterial properties
A high level of cholesterol is one of the factors that can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, so it's really important to keep it in check.3 A study published in January 2017, examined the use of 350mg of royal jelly per day in patients with high cholesterol, and compared them to those receiving a placebo. The results showed blood levels of total cholesterol and 'bad cholesterol', also known as low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), were significantly lowered, reducing the risk of heart disease.4
Royal jelly may be useful for pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), a collection of physical and psychological symptoms women experience in the two weeks before their periods. These include breast pain, irritability, mood swings and bloating.
In a study by Iran University, 92 women were asked to rate the severity of PMS symptoms before and after taking royal jelly supplements. The women took either one 1,000mg capsule of royal jelly, or a placebo, each day for two menstrual cycles. The women taking the royal jelly supplement experienced less severe PMS symptoms than those taking the placebo. Their PMS score reduced by half after two months of treatment.5
Getting royal jelly from your diet
Royal jelly is most commonly taken as a supplement, but it can also be taken as a powder and added to salads, smoothies and yogurt – or in its fresh or frozen state.
Royal jelly is generally considered safe to take for most people, but avoid it if you have asthma or have allergies as there have been reported side effects of asthma attacks, breathing difficulties, and anaphylactic shock (a severe potentially life-threatening allergic reaction).6 Do not take if you're allergic to bee stings.
Royal jelly currently has no recommended daily allowance (RDA); supplement strengths vary. A dose of two tablets a day each containing 200mg of royal jelly extract (equivalent to 600mg of fresh royal jelly), is typical.