12 June 2014
The Short Answer (TSA)
Royal Jelly is food or nutrition rich substance fed to honey bee larvae and adult queen bees. Royal Jelly is also harvested and sold as a human dietary supplement.
Royal Jelly is secreted from the glands of worker honey bees and fed to all young bee larvae during the first three days of life. But after the third day, royal jelly feedings stop except for a small group of larvae chosen by the worker bees to become queens.
Because this small group is continually fed a diet of nothing but royal jelly, they grow into reproductive female adults – queens. So, how and when royal jelly is fed to each member of the growing brood will determine which bees become workers and which become reproductive queens.
A protein, sometimes called royalactin, is believed to be active ingredient in royal jelly that causes larvae to develop into reproductive queens. The worker bees produce so much royal jelly that the developing queens are literally bathed in it. This excessive production is fortunate because it allows excess amounts to be harvested.
So, royal jelly isn’t just for queens. This nutrition rich substance is harvested and processed into dietary supplements for human beings. While many disputed claims are made about the health benefits of royal jelly, this substance is really and actually extremely rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins and fatty acids required in human nutrition.