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Royal jelly is a secretion that bees feed to some larvae to spur them to develop into queen bees. Many people eat royal jelly without experiencing negative side effects, but some have allergic reactions. Effects might include bronchial spasms, skin irritation and asthma attack. In extreme cases, people experience severe anaphylactic shock, which can lead to death.
Due to the potential risks, small children, pregnant women, immunocompromised people or anyone with bee or honey allergies should not eat royal jelly, according to the Health Services website of Columbia University. While it’s not certain that people in these groups will experience negative symptoms after eating royal jelly, the potential risks outweigh any benefits.
The Best Children's Vitamins
Another reason not to feed children royal jelly is that it might offer no benefits. Many of these conditions are unlikely problematic for a typical child. Further, the university says no conclusive evidence exists to support claims that royal jelly actually provides any of these benefits.
Royal jelly does contain some beneficial ingredients, such as:
- according to the “Practical Guide to Natural Medicines.” However
- the guide points out that cheaper options exist for obtaining these nutrients
- not the least of which is a healthy
- balanced diet 12
Concerns on Gummy Vitamins
If you’re worried about your child’s nutrient intake, talk to a pediatrician or nutritionist to find healthy foods that supply nutrients rather than feed your child royal jelly or other unproven supplements. Suitable sources of B-vitamins, for example, are leafy, green vegetables, which don’t have an accompanying risk of severe allergic reaction 2. Also, leafy, green vegetables supply other healthful nutrients, such as fiber, that benefit your child. If your child’s pediatrician recommends it, you also can supplement your child’s diet with an appropriate multivitamin.
- If you’re worried about your child’s nutrient intake, talk to a pediatrician or nutritionist to find healthy foods that supply nutrients rather than feed your child royal jelly or other unproven supplements.
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- “Practical Guide to Natural Medicines”; Andrea Peirce; 1999
- MedlinePlus: B Vitamins
- 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.
Stan Mack is a business writer specializing in finance, business ethics and human resources. His work has appeared in the online editions of the "Houston Chronicle" and "USA Today," among other outlets. Mack studied philosophy and economics at the University of Memphis.