Effects of royal jelly on systemic inflammation: A clinical study

Effects of royal jelly on systemic inflammation: A clinical study

30 August 2022
Reading time: 8 min
Royal jelly is considered the most valuable bee product with an extremely complex composition and mechanisms of action that have not yet been fully discovered. However, its positive effects on humans are known, which were also scientifically confirmed at the end of last year with a clinical study conducted in Slovenia. The company Medex and the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Primorska participated in it. After 8 weeks of consumption of 2,000 mg of royal jelly in a capsule, a decrease in inflammatory processes, an increase in antioxidant levels, a decrease in total cholesterol and several hormones that reduce appetite were detected in the body of the participants.
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What is royal jelly?

Royal jelly is produced by young nurse bees, 5 to 12 days old, who have not yet flown. Royal jelly is the secretion of their hypopharyngeal (pharyngeal) glands, which lie in the bee's head right next to the brain, and with which they feed their brood and queen for the first three days.

After the third day, only the larva of the queen is fed with royal jelly, which is its only food for the rest of its life. The queen therefore develops into the larger and only fertile bee in the hive and lives as much as 10 times longer than worker bees.

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Composition and effects of royal jelly

Its composition is so complex that scientists have not yet been able to fully determine it. Royal jelly contains 66.05% water, 12.49% protein, 5.46% fat, mineral substances, and is also rich in B complex vitamins and vitamins C, D and E. The active ingredients of royal jelly are 10-hydroxy-2 -decenoic acid (10-HDA), bioactive peptides and glycoproteins (MRJP, apisimine, jeleins, royalactin), AMP N1 oxide, acetylcholine, polyphenols and hormones.

So far, the positive pharmacological effects of royal jelly have been proven by numerous scientific studies, which state, among other things, that royal jelly contributes to vasodilatation and lowers blood pressure, has antioxidant, antimicrobial and antitumor effects, has anti-inflammatory activity and inhibits inflammatory cytokines.

Most of the positive effects of royal jelly have been demonstrated in in vitro and in vivo models, however, only a few studies have investigated the effects in humans.

The latest human study

In order to confirm whether the consumption of royal jelly has an effect on pro- and anti-inflammatory factors and to confirm or deny the aforementioned effects of royal jelly from in vitro research on humans, researchers from the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Primorska - Zala Jenko Pražnikar, Ana Petelin , Saša Kenig, Maša Černelič Bizjak - and Medex companies - Rok Kopinč, Matjaž Deželak - within the framework of the public tender "A creative path to knowledge 2017 - 2020", co-financed by the European Social Fund of the European Union and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia, performed an interesting clinical study 1 in which healthy asymptomatic individuals were included.

To be more precise: they included individuals between the ages of 25 and 60 with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 23 kg/m2, who had no symptoms or diagnosed diseases and were not taking medication or nutritional supplements, and whose body weight it has not fluctuated in the last three months. With this they wanted include as many external factors as possible, which could influence the measurements of the selected parameters independently of the royal jelly.

How obesity is linked to chronic inflammation

People with a BMI above 25 kg/m2 usually have the first signs of a low level of chronic inflammation due to the increased proportion of body fat and thus increased risk of developing diseases, associated with systemic inflammation. Adipose tissue is not only a store of energy, but research increasingly indicates that adipose tissue functions as an endocrine gland (a gland with internal secretion) and that it is involved in immune processes in the body and actively participates in the regulation of systemic homeostasis.

When fat tissue increases disrupts the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory processes. More and more inflammatory cytokines are produced and less anti-inflammatory cytokines, such as e.g. adiponectin.

Inflammatory cytokines are released into the bloodstream and contribute to the development of systemic inflammation, which negatively affects various organs. An example is systemic resistance to leptin (a hormone that regulates "satiety") and insulin, inflammation of the liver and muscle tissue, inflammation of blood vessels and the pancreas. A low level of systemic inflammation is a type of precursor that can lead to various disease states such as: type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, fatty liver and some other diseases.

The course of the study and proven positive effects

Participants in the research are random divided into two groups: one group took a placebo and the other consumed the equivalent of 2000 mg of fresh royal jelly in the form of two capsules per day, one in the morning and one in the evening, on an empty stomach, half an hour before a meal. The test subjects did not know what they were taking, placebo or royal jelly (the capsules did not seem to separate), and neither did the professional staff who managed and participated in the research.

That's what we call it double-blind study design, which is important for the unbiasedness of the results and the exclusion of placebo effects. Anthropometric measurements and blood tests were performed before initiation, after 4 and after 8 weeks of taking, after that, the test subjects stopped taking it, and the researchers carried out measurements again in the 10th week to check the possible effects of royal jelly even after stopping taking it.


They found that in the group that consumed royal jelly there was to a statistically significant reduction in total cholesterol, by eight percent in eight weeks. They also detected a 21% decrease in C-reactive protein (it is a protein of systemic inflammation).

At the same time, it should be noted that the reduction of C-reactive protein is extremely important, since chronic inflammation, as a result of obesity, is the key link between obesity and the development of metabolic syndrome (meta-inflammation), and in addition, fat inflammation is at the forefront, since inflammation obesity also affects many other organs. In the group that consumed royal jelly, within eight weeks increased the amount of adiponectin by as much as 34 percent.


Adiponectin has an anti-inflammatory role, it is involved in metabolic regulation - it stimulates β-oxidation in skeletal muscles and glucose uptake. Although secreted from adipose tissue, adiponectin levels decrease in obesity. In addition, a 35% increase in bilirubin (a heme product, an endogenous anti-inflammatory antioxidant) was recorded.

In the group that consumed royal jelly, they also recorded 17 percent increase in leptin. Leptin is a hormone produced in fat cells that regulates hunger and satiety. It plays an important role in the regulation of energy intake and consumption, especially in the regulation of appetite. Because of this, it acts primarily on the area of ​​the hypothalamus that controls appetite. Absence of leptin (or its receptors) or leptin resistance leads to uncontrolled food intake, resulting in obesity.

The fact that all effects, with the exception of bilirubin, were measured 2 weeks after stopping the consumption of breast milk is also particularly encouraging, which indicates a long-lasting effect.


The colleagues of the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Primorska and the company Medex concluded that the daily consumption of 2000 milligrams of breast milk in just eight weeks had a positive effect on:

1. Lipid profile (primarily to lower total cholesterol),
2. Systemic inflammation, via a decrease in C-reactive protein and an increase in adiponectin,
3. The total antioxidant potential of the blood through the increase of bilirubin, an endogenous antioxidant and
4. Appetite through an increase in leptin - the hormone that triggers the feeling of satiety.

These truly extraordinary discoveries will certainly benefit many, as they actually prove that royal jelly regulates the state of the body and with these effects is more than just a natural shield of our immunity.

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1. Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: To determine whether consumption of royal jelly has an effect on pro- and anti-inflammatory factors, to confirm or deny the aforementioned effects of royal jelly from an in vitro human study.