Aim: Menopause transition is associated with chronic conditions such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Concerns about the long-term safety of menopausal hormone therapy make alternative natural methods an appealing approach to management. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of royal jelly (RJ) on cardiovascular and bone turnover markers in clinically healthy postmenopausal women.
Methods: A total of 36 postmenopausal healthy women were studied in a prospective follow-up study. Participants received 150 mg of RJ daily for three months. Circulating cardiovascular risk markers [lipid profile, antithrombin-III (ATIII), Protein C, Protein S, Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1 (PAI-1)] and bone turnover parameters [Total calcium, phosphate (P), parathormone (PTH), total type-1 Procollagen N-terminal (P1NP), Osteocalcin and serum collagen type 1 cross-linked C-telopeptide (CTX)] were compared between the baseline and the three-month visit.
Results: The RJ used in this study was particularly rich in medium chain fatty acids, compounds with hypolipidemic properties, which comprised 63% of the dry weight fatty content. RJ treatment resulted in a significant increase in high density lipoprotein - cholesterol (HDL-C 60.2 mg/dL ± 12.3 versus 64.7 mg/dL ± 13.9, 7.7% increase, p = 0.0003), as well as in a significant decrease in low density lipoprotein - cholesterol (LDL-C, 143.9 ± 37.5 versus 136.2 ± 32, 4.1% decrease, p = 0.011) and in total cholesterol (224.4 ± 38.6 to 216.1 ± 36.5, 3.09% decrease, p = 0.018). No statistical significant changes were found in the remaining cardiovascular or the bone turnover parameters.
Conclusions: The intake of RJ 150 mg for three months is associated with significant improvements of the lipid profile of postmenopausal women. RJ supplementation may offer an alternative method of controlling the menopause - associated dyslipidemia.
Keywords: Cardiovascular; cholesterol; menopause; osteoporosis; royal jelly.