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. It is commonly used to supplement various diseases, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, and Alzheimer's disease. 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. This is potentially important to gain novel insight into the biological and pharmaceutical properties of RJ.
Keywords: bioactive compounds; fatty acids; functional properties; phenolics; proteins; royal jelly.