Royal jelly, not to be confused with bee pollen, is a milky, jellylike compound secreted by nurse bees as food for the Queen and her larvae. Royal jelly is known more for boosting energy and stimulating immunity, but it contains nutrients that can affect brain chemistry. Anxiety disorders often stem from an imbalance of neurotransmitters, or brain chemicals, and are exacerbated by stress. Anxiety can be debilitating, so consulting your doctor before embarking on a supplement regimen is recommended.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
An imbalance of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenalin is a common cause of isolated bouts of anxiety or chronic anxiety disorders, as noted in “Human Biochemistry and Disease." Heightened anxiety often manifests as nervousness, irritation, fear, increased heart rate and sweating, stomach upset and insomnia 1. Anxiety disorders can sometimes culminate in panic attacks, which are extreme episodes of emotional and physical stress that can lead to heart attacks on rare occasion. High levels of daily stress can upset the nervous system and contribute to chemical imbalances and chronic anxiety. Certain nutrients in royal jelly can combat chemical imbalances in the brain.
- An imbalance of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenalin is a common cause of isolated bouts of anxiety or chronic anxiety disorders, as noted in “Human Biochemistry and Disease."
- High levels of daily stress can upset the nervous system and contribute to chemical imbalances and chronic anxiety.
Royal Jelly Nutrients
Niacin & Anxiety
Queen bees live exclusively on royal jelly and because it is so nutritious it allows them to grow twice as large and weigh about 60 percent more than the average worker bee, according to “Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Furthermore, they live about 40 times longer than other bees 2. Royal jelly typically yields about 13 percent protein, 15 percent carbohydrates and 6 percent lipids, including essential fatty acids. In terms of specific nutrients, royal jelly is rich in many B-vitamins, particularly pantothenic acid, niacin and riboflavin. Royal jelly is also a good source of vitamins C and B-12, folic acid, calcium, copper, iron, phosphorous, potassium, silicon, sulfur, acetylcholine, estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, inositol, all the essential amino acids and a variety of enzymes.
- Queen bees live exclusively on royal jelly and because it is so nutritious it allows them to grow twice as large and weigh about 60 percent more than the average worker bee, according to “Prescription for Nutritional Healing.
- " In terms of specific nutrients, royal jelly is rich in many B-vitamins, particularly pantothenic acid, niacin and riboflavin.
Royal Jelly and Brain Chemistry
In addition to its ability to enhance immunity, stimulate metabolism, elevate hemoglobin content in blood and aid digestion, royal jelly can alter brain chemistry primarily through the actions of pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid, or vitamin B-5, is often called the “stress vitamin” because it is used to synthesize coenzyme-A, which is needed to produce neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine and moderate stress and anxiety. Synthesis of the hormone melatonin, which is essential for regulating sleep cycles and promoting relaxation, also requires pantothenic acid. Niacin, or vitamin B-3, has the ability to reduce blood pressure, eliminate excess adrenaline and regulate hormones, which all combat the physiology of anxiety. Vitamin B-12 and folic acid also play important roles for mood and higher brain functions.
- In addition to its ability to enhance immunity, stimulate metabolism, elevate hemoglobin content in blood and aid digestion, royal jelly can alter brain chemistry primarily through the actions of pantothenic acid.
- Niacin, or vitamin B-3, has the ability to reduce blood pressure, eliminate excess adrenaline and regulate hormones, which all combat the physiology of anxiety.
Royal Jelly and Anxiety
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The nutrients in royal jelly display properties that could alleviate anxiety, although there is no validated scientific evidence that it is an effective treatment for any human disease or disorder. Royal jelly seems to be vital for the health and well-being of bees, but clinical studies are needed to better understand its effects on people. Other natural remedies, such as valerian root, may have a better “track record” of mitigating the symptoms of anxiety, but a health professional should be consulted to help you judge what's best for your situation.
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- “Human Biochemistry and Disease”; Gerald Litwack; 2008
- “Prescription for Nutritional Healing”; Phyllis Balch; 2010
- “Nutritional Sciences”; Michelle McGuire; 2007
- “Vitamins: Fundamental Aspects in Nutrition and Health”; G. Combs; 2008
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Bee Products J L. Silver Spring, Maryland; November 14, 2016.
- European Health Safety Authority. Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to: anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins (ID 1787, 1788, 1789, 1790, 1791); sodium alginate and ulva (ID 1873); vitamins, minerals, trace elements and standardised ginseng G115 extract (ID 8, 1673, 1674); vitamins, minerals, lysine and/or arginine and/or taurine (ID 6, 1676, 1677); plant‐based preparation for use in beverages (ID 4210, 4211); Carica papaya L. (ID 2007); “fish protein” (ID 651); acidic water‐based, non‐alcoholic flavoured beverages containing calcium in the range of 0.3 to 0.8 mol per mol of acid with a pH not lower than 3.7 (ID 1170); royal jelly (ID 1225, 1226, 1227, 1228, 1230, 1231, 1326, 1328, 1329, 1982, 4696, 4697); foods low in cholesterol (ID 624); and foods low in trans‐fatty acids (ID 672, 4333) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal. 2011;9(4):2083. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2011.2083.
- Chiu HF, Chen BK, Lu YY, et al. Hypocholesterolemic efficacy of royal jelly in healthy mild hypercholesterolemic adults. Pharm Biol. 2017 Dec;55(1):497-502. doi:10.1080/13880209.2016.1253110.
- Khoshpey B, Djazayeri S, Amiri F, et al. Effect of Royal Jelly Intake on Serum Glucose, Apolipoprotein A-I (ApoA-I), Apolipoprotein B (ApoB) and ApoB/ApoA-I Ratios in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double-Blind Clinical Trial Study. Can J Diabetes. 2016 Aug;40(4):324-8. doi:10.1016/j.jcjd.2016.01.003.
- Lambrinoudaki I, Augoulea A, Rizos D, et al. Greek-origin royal jelly improves the lipid profile of postmenopausal women. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2016 Oct;32(10):835-839. doi:10.1080/09513590.2016.1188281.
- Omer K, Gelkopf M, Newton G. Effectiveness of royal jelly supplementation in glycemic regulation: A systematic review. World J Diabetes. 2019 Feb 15;10(2):96-113. doi:10.4239/wjd.v10.i2.96.
- Taavoni S, Barkhordari F, Goushegir A, Haghani H. Effect of Royal Jelly on premenstrual syndrome among Iranian medical sciences students: a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled study. Complement Ther Med. 2014 Aug;22(4):601-6. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2014.05.004.
Owen Bond began writing professionally in 1997. Bond wrote and published a monthly nutritional newsletter for six years while working in Brisbane, Australia as an accredited nutritionalist. Some of his articles were published in the "Brisbane Courier-Mail" newspaper. He received a Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Saskatchewan.