Here at our fertility clinic, we have noticed an increased interest in the use of royal jelly to boost fertility. Use of royal jelly is commonly advised by acupuncturists. Below, I explain what royal jelly is and how it can aid fertility.
Royal jelly, secreted by nurse honeybees, promotes the development of the larvae destined to become queen bee. Royal jelly is sold as a nutritional or dietary supplement, most commonly in freeze-dried capsules. Many health benefits have been claimed for royal jelly, including the following:
- Lowering cholesterol levels
- Reducing the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Serving as a general tonic for rejuvenation
- Improving immune system function
Royal jelly is considered a “dense food’ with antioxidant properties. It contains essential amino acids, many B-complex vitamins, Vitamin C and trace minerals. Its composition includes:
- Water: 60-70%
- Crude proteins: 12-15%
- Simple Sugars: 10-16%
- Fatty Acids: 5%
As far as fertility is concerned, royal jelly has been implied as having hormonal balancing properties. Claims are made that it may improve the number and quality of oocytes. In a sheep study, researchers found that pregnancy and lambing rates were higher in animals given royal jelly. Royal jelly appeared to have estrogenic effects. A study in male rabbits showed improved testosterone levels and sperm production when given in the summer months, which is a time when rabbits typically become infertile. Remember, animal models or studies do not always relate to the same benefits in humans.
Currently, human studies in women are lacking. A small study on human patients found that intravaginal royal jelly led to higher pregnancy rates in patients choosing intrauterine insemination (IUI) for low sperm count/motility. Still, more studies need to be done before a benefit to female fertility can be established.
As royal jelly is produced by bees, it should be not used by patients with a known bee allergy. Royal jelly may lead to a high rate of allergic symptoms in individuals with a history of asthma or atophy. There is no current data on the safety of royal jelly in pregnancy or in nursing mothers and no long-term safety data is available.
To be safe, consult your doctor before taking anything that contains royal jelly, especially if you have a history of allergy or asthma,
Dr. Carmelo Sgarlata is a leading Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist at the Reproductive Science Center of the San Francisco Bay Area. With over 25 years of experience and well over 1,000 babies born through his guidance, Dr. Sgarlata has become well known in the community where he lives and practices. His areas of special interest include Operative Laparoscopy and Hysteroscopy, Ovulation disorders including diminished ovarian reserve and recurrent pregnancy loss.