Royal Jelly Supplements:
Do They Really Work?

Royal jelly supplements are popular among health enthusiasts as well as martial artists. The special food that turns regular bees into queens, it has a long history of use in Chinese medicine.

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But does it work for what you want it to?


What Is Royal Jelly?

Royal jelly is a milky white secretion that worker bees make. It is fed to all worker bee larvae for the first three days of their development, and then they eat pollen and honey. However, queen bee larvae eat only royal jelly for their entire development. And this is what turns them into queens.

Royal jelly's makeup us about 67% water, 12 % protein, 12% sugars, and 5% fat, and 1% minerals, 2% other stuff.[1] It has lot of vitamins and miners, in addition to the particular amino acids and other ingredients which trigger the bee-to-queen change.[2]


Here is a box filled with vials of royal jelly supplements.


Why Take Royal Jelly Supplements?

Vials of royal jelly supplements, like this one, are used for a burst of energy or for other purported medicinal purposes.

Royal jelly turns regular bees into queens, which are about twice as big as normal worker bees and live vastly longer than normal worker bees. Workers can live from 6 weeks to 6 months, but a queen generally lives from 3-5 years.

Thus, many restorative and curative qualities are attributed to royal jelly. And that is why people take royal jelly supplements.

Royal jelly is variously purported to lower cholesterol, to be an antibiotic, and to extend your normal lifespan.[3] It's also supposed to make both men and women more sexually potent.

Bruce Lee would consume little vials of royal jelly to give himself an energy boost before filming his fight scenes. He used them throughout the filming of The Game of Death, whenever he needed a pick-me-up.[4]


Do They Really Work?

As you might have guessed from all the times I've written the words 'purported' and 'supposedly', I'm not that impressed with royal jelly. It has a cool factor as an ancient-and-powerful Chinese medicine, but cool factor does not make you stronger.

From a scientific standpoint, several clinical trials have found that royal jelly supplements are slightly effective for lowering cholesterol. However, all of them have such poor methodology (not documenting diet, weight, and other medications taken), that the best I can say is, um, 'more studies are needed'.[5]

I've personally bought some and used it before doing martial arts and weight training. I didn't feel anything. It tasted like slightly odd water.

Also, most commercially available royal jelly supplements actually contain only small to negligible amounts of royal jelly.[6] So, you may not even be taking enough to cause an effect when you take your supplement.


If you want to get stronger, start a weight training program. If you need more energy right now, get some espresso or an energy drink. I think you'll be disappointed with royal jelly.


WARNING:

Some people are highly allergic to royal jelly, and break out in hives or worse. If you try it, make sure that it's not in a high stress situation and you have a friend on hand to take care of you in case your body doesn't like it.

Not many people are allergic. But, hey, play it safe.

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References:
1. Fugh-Berman, Adriane. 2003. The 5-Minute Herb And Dietary Supplement Consult. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Pp. 272.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Lee, Bruce, and John Little. 1998. The Art of Expressing The Human Body. [comp. and ed.] by John Little. The Bruce Lee library, Vol. 4. Tokyo [et al.]: Tuttle Publishing. Pp. 169.
5. Fugh-Berman. Pp. 272.
6. Ibid.

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