How to Select Bee Products – what should I take?
We’ve covered the topic of ‘what to look for when buying royal jelly’ in other forums, but it’s always worth revisiting since it’s probably the most important and often the most misunderstood aspect of purchasing bee products, and in particular, royal jelly.
Let’s start by outlining the different forms in which royal jelly appear for purchase -
• Fresh Liquid
• Powder – freeze-dried (lyophilized), usually in a capsule
• Soft Gel
• Fresh but mixed with another substance, usually honey
• In a creme, for topical applications
Fresh Liquid royal jelly
We know from our research that fresh liquid royal jelly contains approximately 67% water and must be kept refrigerated or frozen. The question arises however, “what happened between the beehive and the final packaging?”
It’s nice to think that the fresh liquid royal jelly you are using in your drinks and cereals was properly handled before it came to you, but the chances of a safe passage from the hive to your table are pretty slim, at least when it remains in liquid form through the various stages.
This is important. Firstly, the vast majority of royal jelly is imported from Asia, usually China. It is either imported in powder form for subsequent processing at a facility here in the USA or it is imported in liquid form. The powdered royal jelly is processed at a facility in China using a technique called lyophilization which we’ll cover in a moment. But what happens to the liquid royal jelly, if it is to be exported that way? – well, it is usually handled like any other type of food product with water content, it is ‘pasteurized’. We all know what the pasteurization process involves, – heat. Royal Jelly contains live enzymes and it is critical that these enzymes remain intact, nutritionally speaking. But that isn’t likely to happen when the product is pasteurized.
The upshot is, when the “fresh” liquid product arrives at your favorite USA bee product manufacturer, it has already been mistreated and much of the benefits of the royal jelly product have been neutralized through the pasteurization process. That isn’t to say that it still won’t have some nutritional benefit, but it’s not what it should be.
Oddly enough, I’ve researched several of the USA’s leading bee product processors, and from the four I spoke with directly, not one of them acknowledged that their royal jelly was pasteurized, in fact they each firmly denied it. In one instance, I purchased several cases of sample products from a leading producer of bee products and their warehouse re-packed and shipped the products in a container that had been used originally to ship royal jelly to them for reprocessing. Clearly marked on the outside of the shipping container were the words “royal jelly – pasteurized at source”. This company had vehemently denied that their product was pasteurized!
Of course there is some royal jelly produced here in the USA and it is possible in some cases to have a product reach your table that has not been pasteurized, but the chances are very slim. And if you ask the supplier, clearly, if the product has been pasteurized, then in most cases the information you will receive will be false – I have proof of that. [Note! - Our Products Never See HEAT! - More on that later].
So what is the best way to preserve the nutritional integrity of royal jelly -?
Also known as lyophilizing, freeze-drying is a dehydration process which removes the water from a substance by exposure to dry, freezing air. No heat or chemicals should be involved. Lyophilized royal jelly is a freeze-dried powder in which all the nutrients of fresh royal jelly are still present. In this state it can be stored at room temperature and thus has more uses and a longer shelf life, up to three years. It can be transported and exported without the need for pasteurization or irradiation. It is simply a natural product in its pure state, without the water content and with the full benefits of royal jelly intact.
(Certain ‘marketing’ companies try to make the case that freeze dried royal jelly is somehow inferior to liquid royal jelly, when all the time they know full well that their product has been pasteurized and mixed with other preservatives, often chemicals).
Once the product is in powder form it is more stable and can be capsulated for consumption. This is the safest way to consume your royal jelly products and to have access to their full range of health benefits.
Naturally it is critical that USA processors work with trusted suppliers and that the processes are tested and verified, otherwise, it could be the same low quality substance that arrives in liquid form. Garbage in, garbage out.
So basically, all royal jelly products are derived from one of the above two types of raw ingredient. Quality control is aided by the implementation of a standard termed 10-HDA, which is talked about here
So having covered the various processing methods it’s time to make a choice on a product, right? Well not quite. Let’s talk a little about the misconceptions surrounding dosage.
There are some companies offering liquid royal jelly in a capsule with only 150mg of active product. It stands to reason that when you come across a product like our 1000mg Royal Jelly that you’re going to ask yourself “is that dosage too high for me?” The answer is simply no. In fact the real answer is that the 150mg dosage is too low, way too low. People assume that supplements are like conventional prescription meds and that you can ‘overdose’. That might be the case with some esoteric supplements but with most products it just isn’t the case. Let’s use an example that’s easy to understand. One can buy herbs and spices in capsule form like garlic, ginger, ginseng, turmeric, curry etc etc. If you took a 500mg capsule of lets say ginger, would taking 10 capsules cause you to have some ill effect?, or even 100 capsules? No it wouldn’t, assuming of course that you were not allergic to the product in the first case. 100 capsules of 500mg weight would give you a total of 50 grams of active ingredient. I regularly make food dishes using at least that amount of fresh ginger, garlic, herbs, spices etc etc.
Now if I were taking that amount as a dietary supplement I probably wouldn’t want to take it in capsules. 100 capsules of any product would be excessive, but you see my point. It’s the same with bee pollen. Some people are happy taking their 500mg capsule daily, and that’s fine. But other people prefer much higher dosages so they buy their bee pollen in granules in tubs/jars/bags etc and use it by the spoonful. Remember that a slightly heaped teaspoon is around 5 grams, or 5000mg, so it’s equivalent to around 10 capsules with 500mg of powder. Some people use 2, 3 often more teaspoons of bee pollen daily. Royal Jelly is the same, though it’s going to be more expensive to consume in higher volume than bee pollen. I regularly add a full teaspoon or two to fruit smoothies. So I use 10,000 mg of royal jelly in a smoothie drink quite frequently. Now when you compare back to the company selling 150mg capsules, you have to wonder if there’s anything much to be gained from such a low dosage. Remember that the FDA haven’t approved and suggested any ‘recommended daily amount’ for bee products, but they have for other vitamins like Vitamin C and D and Calcium. If you look at calcium, the RDA is 1000mg. Now royal jelly contains many components such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids. How much vitamin A would there be in a 150mg capsule do you think?…well not much. Or not much of any of the other vitamins really. So I would personally recommend starting with at least a 1000mg capsule and working up if you see/feel the need. Now the standard common sense disclaimers apply, that you should first ensure that you are not allergic* to the product and obviously consult with your health practitioner first.
* a quick note about bee product allergies – there are some documented cases of people having negative reactions to bee products, and most of the more serious reactions appear with bee venom, which we do not sell. From experience, we’ve sold a lot of bee products over the 10 or so years that we’ve been in business and we have only four cases where a person asked to return the product due to a ‘reaction’, and in each case they claimed to have had mild face flushing symptoms after taking the product. Nothing more serious than that. But you should still be careful if you’re new to bee products. Pop open a capsule and place a small amount of the powder on the back of your tongue to see if anything mildly adverse happens, before taking a full 1000mg or more.
So the upshot is I would recommend taking at least 1000mg royal jelly, less bee pollen, less propolis and less honey.
In the early days of starting this business I undertook a lot of research with different products from different companies. I also did a great deal of research into the chemical compositions of the various bee products and looked closely at documented uses and medical test data from a wide range of sources. I put together a specification of what I believed to be the absolute optimal ratio’s of the 4 bee products and developed our product Total Bee Plus based around my findings and my own personal product trials. If you take the recommended daily dosage of Total Bee Plus you’re taking 5000mg of active ingredient daily, around 1 teaspoon, and you are consuming the products in the optimal ratio based on my research. So with 120 capsules in a bottle, 4 caps per day, you have a one month supply delivering 5 grams (5000mg) of active ingredient each day. If you set about trying to replicate these dosages by purchasing the four individual products and somehow combining them yourself, you’d end up spending at least three times what it costs to purchase ‘Total Bee Plus’ from us. So it’s potent and great value too.
Many people ask how it is we are able to offer Total Bee at such a low price. It’s almost the same price as our 1000mg royal jelly capsules, but contains more active ingredient and more capsules per bottle. Well it’s mostly down to manufacturing volume, the raw ingredients are the same high quality regardless of whether you buy Total Bee or you can buy our royal jelly/bee pollen/propolis/honey separately using the links.
So I would recommend Total Bee Plus ahead of any other bee product, whether you are a newcomer or a hardcore bee product user. You can always take more or fewer capsules per day or you can supplement the Total Bee with fresh bee pollen of fresh royal jelly for example. But at the core you should build your supplement regimen around Total Bee Plus.
What other competitive products are there? – There’s a couple of companies that have tried to emulate what we do with Total Bee Plus but they haven’t come close, and I know exactly why. There’s one product sold via a company that claim to be a ‘bee farm’ but they outsource their capsule manufacture just like most small companies do. They’ve tried to copy Total Bee Plus but hit a brick wall on trying to get the optimal ratio in a single capsule. Their caps contain much less royal jelly, so they’ve approached it purely from a price and cost of manufacture standpoint and not quality/effectiveness, as we do.
Still eager for more information? – one of the questions we are asked quite frequently relates to the ‘Other Ingredients’ shown on the label of ours and most other vitamin supplement products. So I’ve written a blog post explaining what those other ingredients are and why we use them. Basically everything we use is vegetable based and naturally occurring, but if you want the full low-down then take a read here.