Int J Mol Sci. Published online Jan 8.
Copyright © by the authors. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Royal jelly RJ is a yellowish-white and acidic secretion of hypopharyngeal and mandibular glands of nurse bees used to feed young worker larvae during the first three days and the entire life of queen bees.
RJ is one of the most appreciated and valued natural product which has been mainly used in traditional medicines, health foods, and cosmetics for a long time in different parts of the world.
It is also the most studied bee product, aimed at unravelling its bioactivities, such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-aging, immunomodulatory, and general tonic action against laboratory animals, microbial organisms, farm animals, and clinical trials.
Here, we highlight the recent research advances on the main bioactive compounds of RJ, such as proteins, peptides, fatty acids, and phenolics, for a comprehensive understanding of the biochemistry, biological, and pharmaceutical responses to human health promotion and life benefits.
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This is potentially important to gain novel insight into the biological and pharmaceutical properties of RJ. Keywords: royal jelly, bioactive compounds, functional properties, proteins, fatty acids, phenolics 1. RJ is an active research domain because it is essential for larval development and queen reproduction in honeybee colonies through the metabolism of sugars, lipids, and proteins [ 78 ].
Thereby, the larger body size, longer lifespan, and fertility of queens compared to worker bees are potentially correlated to the special diet of RJ [ 9 ].
RJ has been produced in large scale for commercial purposes to date, and its market value is significantly higher than other bee products, such as honey or pollen, thus, it is a major income source for beekeepers [ 410 ].
Beekeepers have made great efforts to develop the technique to improve RJ production and to select for high-producing strains of honeybees. For instance, the increase in the production of RJ in China over the last 40 years has been achieved by the development of genetic selection of high RJ-producing bees RJBs from Italian bees [ 111213 ], and the development and implementation of production techniques to increase and optimize RJ production [ 141516 ].
The health-promoting benefits and pharmaceutical properties of RJ from animal models to humans have been widely investigated.
RJ is a nutritional modification of honey and bee bread Figure 1and it is commercially available on a large scale as health food and cosmetics in Asia, especially in China and Japan [ 910 ].
To date, the importance of RJ has attracted attention around the world, which is evidenced by the growth in the number of publications and citations in the core collection of the Web of Science Figure 2.
Recently, the origin and function of RJ, such as major royal jelly proteins MRJPs for the development of the larvae [ 21 ], antimicrobial properties [ 9 ], medicinal value [ 2022 ], proteins and peptides [ 23 ], the potential applications for cancer treatment enlarged prostate 37 year old 24 ], and health aging and longevity [ 25 ] have been reported.
To better understand the biochemistry, biological, and pharmaceutical response to health and life benefits of RJ, we update the knowledge from the research advances of the biological activities and pharmaceutical applications of RJ and its bioactive ingredients that are associated with farm animals, micro-organisms, laboratory animals, insects, and clinical trials in humans.
Here, our major focus is on the bioeffects of RJ, such as enlarged prostate 37 year old, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, wound healing, anti-aging, immunomodulatory, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-hyperlipidemic, anti-hypertension, hepato-renal protective, neuroprotective, estrogenic, and fertility effects.
This evidence is a potentially valuable resource for further studies of the health potential properties of RJ for both humans and honeybees.