Royalactin, the hidden ingredient in royal jelly.
What is it exactly about the substance royal jelly that allows it to transform normal bee larvae into the all-powerful Queen bee, and is it applicable or useful outside of the hive?
Up until quite recently royal jelly has contained a ‘mysterious’ and unidentified substance which was thought to be responsible for its transforming powers. Like most substances, royal jelly can be broken down via chemical analysis, where it can be seen to contain proteins, vitamins, minerals, amino acids etc. But a single ingredient which is not found anywhere outside of the substance continued to baffle scientists. Clearly the ingredient had some function and clearly royal jelly has the power to transform bee larvae, destined to become normal worker bees, into the all-powerful Queen.
Recently, Masaki Kamakura, working at the Toyama Prefectural University in Imizu in Japan, uncovered the substance ‘royalactin’, and conducted tests on its impact on animals and insects outside of the beehive. Kamakura was able to recreate the same effects outside of the hive as seen by bee larvae. When adding royal jelly to the diet of fruit fly larvae, the substance caused them to grow larger, live longer and lay more eggs. He also observed that the affects of royalactin appeared to diminish over time. By introducing it to larvae over set time intervals, there was a clear ‘decay’ curve exhibited, suggesting the substance gradually loses some of its powers with age.
We don’t know at this point what the impact of processing is on royalactin. Do we lock the substance in place when we freeze or freeze-dry the raw royal jelly, as we do with other nutrients? One thing we do know for sure is that fresh liquid royal jelly appears to lose whatever benefit comes directly from its royalactin, over a period of several days. Until we know more, the evidence suggests that freeze-dried royal jelly has the best chance of delivering the full benefits of the substance intact, which is good news for customers of The Natural Shopper, since freeze-dried is what we do! Learn more about royal jelly here.
It certainly lends to our theory that not all royal jelly is created equal. We’ve always made a noise about the importance of procession the substance within a few hours of it leaving the hive, and these studies conducted in Japan seem to support this. So buying something cheap, which has probably been pasteurized or just generally processed without a great deal of care and attention, is not really going to provide you with the same benefits as consuming a substance which has been handled with more care.