Royal jelly attenuates nonalcoholic fatty liver disease by inhibiting oxidative stress and regulating the expression of circadian genes in ovariectomized rats

J Food Biochem. 2020 Mar;44(3):e13138. doi: 10.1111/jfbc.13138. Epub 2020 Jan 1.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has a high incidence in postmenopausal women and is accompanied by insulin resistance, obesity, and dyslipidemia. Royal jelly (RJ), a natural substance derived from hive, possesses numerous health-beneficial properties. Here, we evaluated the effects of RJ (150, 300, and 450 mg kg-1 day-1 , 8 weeks) on NAFLD in ovariectomized (OVX) rats. Based on the results, RJ ameliorated the degree of anxiety, improved serum lipid profile, and attenuated the hepatic steatosis and liver injury in OVX rats. Furthermore, the protective effects of RJ could be attributed to its antioxidant properties, which enhance the levels of hepatic antioxidant enzymes. The qRT-PCR results also suggest that RJ improves the disturbances of circadian genes by downregulating their expression, including that of Per1 and Per 2, in the liver of OVX rats. Altogether, our findings suggest that RJ may be a promising agent for the treatment of NAFLD. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: Postmenopausal women are at an increased risk of NAFLD. Currently, there are no licensed therapies for NAFLD. Although hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is reported to inhibit the development of NAFLD, it causes unexpected adverse effects. As HRT is controversial, the use of natural supplements to counteract the detrimental effects of menopause has recently attracted more attention. RJ is a natural product secreted from the hypopharyngeal and mandibular glands of worker bees. The present study illustrates the protective effect of the natural product, RJ, and its underlying mechanisms on NAFLD. This is the first study to assess the effect of RJ on NAFLD under estrogen deficiency. Such findings contribute to the further utilization of RJ, which might serve as a promising therapeutic option and natural food for the treatment of NAFLD.

Keywords: Royal jelly; menopause; nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; ovariectomized rat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bees
  • Fatty Acids
  • Female
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* / drug therapy
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Rats


  • Fatty Acids
  • royal jelly