Menu Cart
Menu

Dick and Alan's Beekeeping Blog

Dick and Alan's Beekeeping Blog

Royal Jelly: Crown Jewel of the Beehive

Did you know that a queen bee can lay up to 1,500 eggs per day? This is more than her own body weight! Did you know that a queen bee can live for 3 or 4 years, whereas a normal worker bee only lives for 6 weeks? Have you ever wondered what gives the queen bee this miraculous ability to reproduce and to live longer? Well, if you have, we are here to tell you that it is royal jelly.

What is Royal Jelly?

Royal jelly is a creamy, pale-yellow substance that worker bees secrete from glands in their head. It is fed to larvae and adult queen bees within the hive. For the first three days of their lives, all larvae in the hive are fed royal jelly. It is what happens after the third day that will determine if a baby bee will turn into a queen or not. Worker bees within the colony decide that they need to make a new queen when the existing queen is weak or has died. When they decide this, they will select several small larvae and feed them with extensive amounts of royal jelly. This copious feeding is what sparks the biological change within the larvae to develop into a queen. In comparison to a worker bee, a queen bee has the capacity to reproduce rapidly whereas a worker bee is not able to reproduce at all. Also, queen bees are not only significantly larger than worker bees, they also can live up to 35 times longer! So what does royal jelly contain that gives it this extraordinary ability?

Average Composition of Royal Jelly:

The composition of royal jelly will vary depending on geography and climate, but on average it contains the following:

  • 60-70% Water
  • 12-15% Protein
  • 10-16% Sugar
  • 3-6% Fatty Acids
  • 2-3% Vitamins, minerals, salts, and amino acids (including 10-HDA)

The proteins in royal jelly are called "major royal jelly proteins" or MRJPs for short. These are a family of proteins secreted by honey bees. The family consists of nine proteins, of which MRJP1, also known as royalactin, is the most abundant. It is believed that it is this royalactin that is responsible for changing a worker bee into a queen.

Should You Use Royal Jelly?

Royal jelly has been harvested for centuries and used as an ancient medicine and some believe that royal jelly can potentially help with a wide variety of different ailments. Today, royal jelly is known as an apitherapy nutritional supplement. As a nutritional supplement, it is commonly used as an alternative general health tonic that people take to help with aging (remember, queen bees live longer) and increase energy and stamina (queen bees reproduce rapidly). Although, it has not been scientifically proven as a medicine to treat disease or improve health, people take royal jelly for everything from fertility to helping create radiant skin.

How to Use Royal Jelly

We always recommend talking with your doctor before taking any new supplement. Royal jelly comes in a variety of forms including fresh, powdered and capsules. The most popular form is fresh royal jelly. The suggested daily dosage of fresh royal jelly is 1 to 2 teaspoons per day. If you are just starting with royal jelly, we recommend to start with a 1/4 of a teaspoon per day and work up to the 1 to 2 teaspoons. Royal jelly is also very potent and bitter. If its not a taste that you can swallow, we recommend mixing it with a little bit of honey to cut the bitterness.

The information provided above has not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is not approved to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. The information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use this information for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.