What is royal jelly?
Royal jelly is one of the richest substances found in Nature. As the seasons change, its exceptional content in rare nutrients makes it invaluable for effortlessly overcoming bouts of fatigue and finding new energy.
It is produced from a very sweet, whitish substance secreted by worker bees between their fourth and fifteenth day of life. It is the sole source of nutrition for larvae destined to become queen bees, and for adult queens once they leave the colony.
Royal jelly is considered an exceptional substance because of its rich content in essential nutrients. The jelly is a kind of thick, whitish paste with a faint smell but a hot, acidic taste which makes it particularly difficult to swallow in its fresh, non-lyophilised (non-freeze-dried) form (1).
In particular, it helps to:
- Boost weak immune systems, especially during changes in season.
- Restore energy, drive and vitality in periods of fatigue and exhaustion, due to its comprehensive and complex composition.
- Restore youthfulness to the skin and nails (hence its widespread use in many specialist cosmetics).
What are the exceptional components found in royal jelly?
The chemical compounds found in royal jelly are quite extraordinary, comprising a wide variety of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. According to the scientific literature, however, it is the fatty acid 10HDA – the content of which varies between 3% and 5% - which is the most active compound.
Carbohydrates in royal jelly
10%-20% of royal jelly is made up of carbohydrates, the main ones being fructose and glucose, which account for around 90% of total carbohydrates. It is not uncommon to also find galactose, maltose, trehalose, turanose and palatinose (2).
Proteins in royal jelly
Proteins are a major constituent of royal jelly. Free amino acids (especially proline, lysine, glutamine and glutamic acid) are present in significant quantities (3-4), as are remarkable proteins called Major Royal Jelly Proteins (MRJP).
Produced by the bees’ glands, these rare proteins belong to the family of apalbumins (5) and play a role in the function of the bees’ cognitive system. Royal jelly is also the only known source of an anti-microbial protein called royalisin (6).
Last but not least are the jelleins which are composed of 8-9 amino acids.
Lipids in royal jelly
Royal jelly does not contain large quantities of lipids but those it does contain are of exceptional quality. The most prominent fatty acid is 10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid (10H2DA), a quite remarkable compound. There is also gluconic acid (24 %), 10HDA (22 %) and various dicarboxylic acids (5 %) (7).
Unlike the majority of animal and plant-source fatty acids, those in royal jelly are short-chain (8-10 carbon atoms), recognised for their beneficial effects on the gut mucosa.
Vitamins and minerals in royal jelly
Royal jelly contains a number of vitamins, particularly all the B group vitamins. It also contains several minerals including potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and copper.
Where does royal jelly come from? How is it produced?
Royal jelly is the sole source of nutrition for queen bees and larvae in the first days of life, and is thus particularly rare. Fortunately, a technique has been developed in recent years to make it more accessible.
Producing royal jelly is a painstaking task which requires great patience on the part of the apiarist. A number of fundamental conditions are required:
- Having a healthy, high density colony, as a weak hive produces very little royal jelly.
- Ensuring the hive has sufficient food in the form of honey or concentrated syrup.
- Isolating the queen in order to ‘orphanise’ the colony and thus stimulate production of royal jelly for rearing a new queen.
- Grafting larvae into queen cells using appropriate tools and specific beekeeping skills.
- Collecting the royal jelly after three days by scratching the wax deposited by the bees from the queen cells.
The royal jelly offered by SuperSmart is freeze-dried and encapsulated using a modern technique which leaves its precious components unchanged. This process results in it losing almost two-thirds of its weight in water: 100mg of freeze-dried jelly is equivalent to around 300mg of fresh jelly.
What are royal jelly’s mechanisms of action?
Royal jelly’s mechanisms of action come from its composition and exceptional diversity. More powerful than honey (8), its antioxidant effects are believed to be comparable to those of vitamins C and E, as a result of its high peptide and free amino acid content (9).
Royal jelly is considered a tonic in traditional Chinese medicine, while in Eastern Europe, it is regarded as an excellent adaptogen (a substance which increases the body’s resistance to stress).
Like honey and propolis, it has been used by humans since antiquity. Multiple traces have been found of associations between humans of the Neolithic age and wild bees (10), long before apiculture was created concurrently by various civilisations, such as the Maya or ancient Rome, around 2400 BC.
Some believe its potential benefits for human health are based on the effects it induces in larvae: it is royal jelly which is responsible for the development of the queen’s reproductive organs and which accelerates her emergence from her cell (15 days for the queen compared with 21 for a worker bee). The exceptional fertility and lifespan enjoyed by the queen bee is thus due to royal jelly.
Can royal jelly be combined with other substances?
Royal jelly combines well with ginseng, green propolis, Robuvit®, a French oak extract used for reducing fatigue, and Asc2P 250 mg, a potent and stable form of vitamin C.
Should it be kept in the ‘fridge?
There is no need to refrigerate freeze-dried royal jelly.
Who is likely to benefit from royal jelly?
Everyone can benefit from royal jelly, but it may be particularly useful for sportspeople, pregnant women, the over-40s, delicate individuals and those suffering from fatigue or recurrent illness.
What advantages are offered by this particular supplement?
The royal jelly sold by SuperSmart offers at least three key advantages:
Its convenient format: royal jelly has a particularly unpleasant taste making it impossible for children to swallow … SuperSmart’s product comes in no-fuss, easy-to-take capsules.
Its 100% organic source. Apiculture has become more difficult nowadays due to the fragility of bee colonies and the use of phytosanitary products in the environment. That’s why this supplement is produced without the use of any organophosphates, chemical repellents, paradichlorobenzene or antibiotics near the hives, something which cannot be said of many cheaper royal jelly supplements.
Its precise content in 10HDA. This supplement’s content in 10HDA, the most beneficial fatty acid in royal jelly, is guaranteed at 4%. Scientists have shown that the percentage of 10HDA is related to the source of the royal jelly: good quality jelly has a higher level of this fatty acid. Most royal jellies tested contained a maximum of just 2-3.4 % 10HDA.
What is the ideal dose?
A dose of 2-3 capsules a day is recommended as a course of treatment that can be repeated several times a year if required.
It is usually taken before breakfast, for between four and six weeks.
This product should not be used as a substitute for a varied, balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to follow the directions for use, the recommended daily dose and the ‘use-by’ date. It is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or for children under 15. Keep out of reach of young children. Store in a cool, dry place.
1. Krell R. Value Sadded Products from Beekeeping, Numéro 124. Food and Agriculture Organization;1996.409p.
2. Sesta G. Determination of sugars in royal jelly by HPLC. Apidologie. 2006 Jan;37(1):84– 90.
3. Sabatini AG, Marcazzan GL, Caboni MF, Bogdanov S, Almeida S Muradian Lb. Quality and standardisation of royal jelly. J ApiProduct ApiMedical Sci.2009;1(1):1–6.
4. Boselli E, Caboni MF, Sabatini AG, Marcazzan GL, Lercker G. Determination and changes of free amino acids in royal jelly during storage. Apidologie. 2003 Mar;34(2):129–37.
5. Scarselli R, Donadio E, Giuffrida MG, Fortunato D, Conti A, Balestreri E, et al. Towards royal jelly proteome.PROTEOMICS.2005 Feb 1;5(3):769–76.
6. Fujiwara S, Imai J, Fujiwara M, Yaeshima T, Kawashima T, Kobayashi K. A potent antibacterial protein in royal jelly. Purification and determination of the primary structure of royalisin.JBiolChem.1990Jul5;265(19):11333–7.
7. Ramadan MF, AlSGhamdi A. Bioactive compounds and healthS promoting properties of royal jelly: A review. J FunctFoods.2012 Jan;4(1):39–52.
8. Nagai T, Sakai M, Inoue R, Inoue H, Suzuki N. Antioxidative activities of some commercially honeys, royal jelly, and propolis. Food Chem. 2001 Nov;75(2):237–40.
9. Guo H, Kouzuma Y, Yonekura M. Isolation and Properties of Antioxidative Peptides from WaterS Soluble Royal Jelly Protein Hydrolysate. Food Sci Technol Res. 2005;11(2):222–30
10. Chauvin R, editor. Traité de biologie de l’abeille. Paris: Masson et Cie; 1968. 152p.
|Daily dose: 3 capsules
Number of doses per pack: 30
|3:1 organic, freeze-dried royal jelly standardised to 4% 10-HDA
||300 mg |
| Other ingredients: acacia gum, rice bran. |
Adults. Take 2 capsules with breakfast and another with lunch, if required. Each capsule contains 100mg of organic, freeze-dried royal jelly
The oak has historically been the most prized of all the trees. Robuvit®, obtained from French oak wood (Quercus robur) through a water extraction process, contains a number of flavonoid compounds: gallic acid, ellagic acid, castalagin, vescalagin and in particular, roburins (A, B, C, D, E) which account for the unique and multi-beneficial properties of this particular wood.
Significantly reduces fatigue and improves mood
Chronic fatigue is a multi-faceted condition which can affect anyone at any stage of life, regardless of age, sex or socio-economic status. Symptoms range from poor quality sleep to lack of energy, exhaustion, muscle fatigue and various other problems for which there are as yet no treatment standards.
Apart from supplementing with vitamins and mineral combinations, particularly magnesium and some amino acids, medicinal substances are often used to remedy the symptoms of chronic fatigue but they can have side-effects and do not provide a real solution to the problem.
According to data recorded by 89 GPs on 1,428 consultations, prevalence of fatigue is 25%. Fatigue is an important symptom because of its association with physical, psychological and social problems. Prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is estimated to be 3.28%. It occurs more frequently between the ages of 40 and 59 and is four times more common in women than in men.
Symptoms include :
• poor memory and concentration;
• sore throat;
• swollen lymph glands in the neck and armpits;
• unexplained muscle pain;
• pain which moves from one joint to another, without swelling or redness;
• unrefreshing sleep;
• extreme exhaustion for more than 24 hours following physical or mental activity.
Secondary symptoms include hypersensitivity to noise, abdominal pain, gastro-intestinal discomfort, weight loss, dizziness and mood swings …
Robuvit®, an oak wood extract standardised in roburins, offers genuine hope for the millions of people suffering from CFS. Possible mechanisms of action include functional changes in ribosomes, the small molecular entities located within cells which produce new proteins in the body.
Changes in ribosomal function have been observed in individuals infected with the Epstein-Barr virus, which is strongly associated with CFS.
Support for ribosomal biogenesis and function may thus prove to be a completely new approach to managing CFS.
Even for those without CFS, Robuvit® can be considered a new-wave supplement for maintaining cellular protein synthesis.
Findings from clinical studies
In a clinical study of 80 CFS sufferers, 38 were given Robuvit® for six months, with the remaining 42 serving as controls. Participants were evaluated using the Multidimensional Assessment of Fatigue (MAF) questionnaire developed by the University of Washington. Results clearly showed improvements in fatigue and oxidative stress in those taking Robuvit®.
A human study involving 91 subjects, published in the journal Panminerva Medica in March 2014, had previously identified all Robuvit®’s properties.
In this six-month study, 48 subjects were given 200mg of Robuvit® a day, with 43 serving as controls.
Specific CFS questionnaires, as well as the Brief Mood Introspection Scale (BMIS), were used to assess mood variations in CFS patients. Participants had to have at least five CFS symptoms to be included in the study. Researchers also measured oxidative stress and found increased levels in 61 of the 91 subjects. Assessment was repeated at 3 and 6 months.
The study showed that taking Robuvit® produced reductions in primary CFS symptoms of:
• 18 % in weakness and exhaustion;
• 44 % in sleep problems;
• 29 % in short-term memory loss;
• 62 % in muscle pain;
• 51 % in joint pain;
• 33 % in headaches and neuralgia;
• 47 % in swollen glands in the neck and armpits.
Notable decreases in secondary symptoms were also observed, particularly in hypersensitivity (to noise, diet, drugs), dizziness, depression, weight changes, mood swings and allergies. Reduces skin allergies
Allergies and hypersensitivity as CFS symptoms were recently investigated in a human study involving 30 female volunteers - 14 in a control group and 16 in a test group – in which the effects of Robuvit® supplementation on cutaneous reactions (redness and swelling) were evaluated.
The supplemented volunteers were given 300mg of Robuvit® a day for three days plus an intracutaneous injection of histamine. At the end of the three days, researchers observed a significant reduction in the histamine-induced swelling and redness in the test group, indicating an anti-histamine effect for Robuvit®. Boosts antioxidant capacity in plasma
Robuvit® also has significant antioxidant activity and acts at a sub-clinical, cellular level, distinguishing it from other products which simply tackle symptoms. Its antioxidant properties were highlighted in a pilot study which evaluated markers of oxidative stress, antioxidant enzyme activity (SOD, catalase, glutathione peroxidase) and total antioxidant capacity in plasma.
Scientists found that a daily dose of 300mg for one month significantly reduced serum levels of Advanced Oxidation Protein Products (AOPP) and lipid peroxides, and noticeably increased total antioxidant capacity in plasma. Supports markers of liver function
In a 12-week, placebo-controlled study of 61 patients (32 receiving Robuvit® and 29 controls), a 200mg daily dose of Robuvit® (or 300mg/day for those weighing over 80 kilos) normalised levels of ASAT, ALAT, alkaline phosphatase and gamma GT, and reduced plasma oxidative stress. May improve lymphatic function
A small, eight-week pilot study has just been published which suggests that a 300-600mg daily dose of Robuvit® may reduce lymphoedema in legs and improve microcirculation and tissue oxygenation.
In brief, supplementing with Robuvit®:
• reduces general fatigue at a cellular level;
• maintains smooth functioning of energy metabolism;
• ensures increased ribosome production and thus structural protein formation;
• boosts antioxidant capacity in plasma;
• decreases fasting blood glucose from 97.6mg/dL to 87.5mg/dL in four weeks;
• lowers levels of homocysteine in the blood (a marker of cardiovascular risk) from 10.4 µmol/litre to 8.7 µmol/litre;
• reduces symptoms of fatigue states, making them more manageable;
• contributes to a better quality of life given that fatigue states are often associated with ageing, including premature ageing.
Other promising but as yet unpublished research has also highlighted its ability to:
• regulate circulation in the feet of diabetics suffering from microangiopathy; Oral toxicity studies show that taking Robuvit® is completely safe and is compatible with all other nutritional supplementation. No side-effects have been observed in clinical studies.
• improve sperm quality, a four-week daily dose of 300mg having been shown to reduce free radical generation, increase semen volume and numbers of spermatozoa;
• support endurance athletes, with research suggesting that 300mg/day taken for two weeks while training may significantly lower the time it takes to complete a marathon or triathlon, and at the same time reduce free radical levels in blood one hour post-exercise and protect blood cells from haemolysis.
The average dose is one 100mg Robuvit® vegetarian capsule, once or twice a day. In cases of long-standing chronic fatigue, usually associated with oxidative stress, treatment should be continued for three to six months.
|Daily dose: 2 capsules
Number of doses per pack: 30
|Amount per dose
|Robuvit® (Extract of Quercus robur standardised to 20% Roburins)
|Other ingredients: magnesium stearate, maltodextrin, silicon dioxide, microcrystalline cellulose.
adults. Take 2 capsules a day.
Each capsule contains 100 mg of Robuvit®.