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It’s not what the Queen puts on her toast

Rebecca Firkser
September 05, 2018

Honey is a pretty magical product. Not only is it key to sweetening up anything from oatmeal to banana bread, it’s also has such powerful antimicrobial and antiseptic qualities it can be used as a face wash. You also might also know that bee pollen is proven to pack a ton of protein and even help combat pollen allergies. In the same vein, you should get to know royal jelly. And no, it’s not what the Queen puts on her toast.

Royal jelly is a bee secretion fed by adult bees to bee larvae as a nutritional supplement. Because of its high protein content and other nutritional properties, royal jelly is often used by humans as a dietary supplement in non-Western medical practices. A 2012 study found that when taken continuously over an extended period (this study lasted for six months), royal jelly may have helped elevate red blood cell count and improve glucose tolerance and mental health in study participants. However, research is still very minimal and remains officially inconclusive. While the FDA discourages purveyors of royal jelly from advertising its nutritional and medicinal properties, the ingredient is still often sold in health food stores and online by specialty food companies.

Swanson sells royal jelly in pill form, and claims the ingredient supports immune health, boosts energy levels, maximizes vitality, and promotes overall well-being—all of which echo the improved physical and mental symptoms of the participants in that study. Beekeeper’s Naturals includes “skin-beautifying” royal jelly in their Superfood Honey, intended for topical and edible use. It’s also a primary ingredient in the company’s Brain Fuel product, which claims to enhance memory, performance, and cognition.

At this point, as royal’s jelly’s potency for humans remains unrecognized by the FDA. Like many dietary supplements, taking it is neither strongly recommended nor discouraged. It’s important to note that like bee pollen, royal jelly has been linked to negative reactions in some people, especially those who are allergic to pollen or bee stings, have asthma, or have low blood pressure. As with all supplements, if you’re interested in taking royal jelly, it’s always best to consult a medical professional before adding it to your daily routine.

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