Drone milk: boosts testosterone and has an anabolic effect too

Traditional healers in Eastern Europe have been giving drone milk to older men as an anti-aging remedy or aphrodisiac for centuries. It’s even possible that drone milk actually works, researchers at the University of Szeged in Hungary write in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. According to their animal studies, drone milk has anabolic and androgenic properties.

Drone milk is not the same as Royal Jelly. Honeybees make Royal Jelly as a special nutrient for the queen bees, but give drone milk to worker bees, or drones. Drones are male and one of their tasks is to provide the sperm to fertilize the queen’s eggs.


Drone Milk is available as a supplement on the market. The Russian company Apidom produces Frozen Drone Larvae Royal Jelly; the Romanian Biofarm manufactures Apilranil Potent. The Hungarians used fresh drone milk for their experiments, which they had obtained from a professional beekeeper.

The researchers gave castrated rats 11, 110 or 1100 mg drone milk per kg bodyweight for 10 days, and discovered that the 110 mg dose had androgenic and anabolic effects. The human equivalent of this dose would be 17.8 mg per kg bodyweight. So if you weigh 80 kg, you’d need about 1420 mg fresh drone milk daily.

Drone milk [DM] caused the rats’ penis to grow and increased the weight of their levator ani muscle, both indications of anabolic and androgenic effects. Synthetic testosterone [T] worked better than drone milk, and the anti-androgen flutamide [F] negated the effects of drone milk.


Drone milk had an indirect effect. It boosted the concentration of testosterone.


The researchers identified two fatty acid esters in drone milk: methyl palmitate [first structural formula below] and methyl oleate [second structural formula below]. When they gave these substances to their rats, the researchers noticed that 25 microgr methyl palmitate [MP] per kg bodyweight had an anabolic effect and caused growth of the levator ani.




They only observed androgenic effects when the rats were given both methyl palmitate and methyl oleate [C]. This combination also raised the rats’ testosterone level.

The researchers suspect that methyl palmitate and methyl oleate stimulate the production of DHEA in the adrenal glands. This hormone can then be converted into testosterone. Flutamide not only blocks the testosterone receptor but also inhibits the enzymes that are involved in the biosynthesis of DHEA. This would explain why flutamide cancels out the anabolic and androgenic effects of drone milk.

Androgenic effect of honeybee drone milk in castrated rats: Roles of methyl palmitate and methyl oleate.



Numerous honeybee (Apis mellifera) products have been used in traditional medicine to treat infertility and to increase vitality in both men and women. Drone milk (DM) is a relatively little-known honeybee product with a putative sexual hormone effect. The oestrogenic effect of a fraction of DM has recently been reported in rats. However, no information is available on the androgenic effects of DM. The purpose of the present study was to determine the androgen-like effect of DM in male rats and to identify effective compounds.


A modified Hershberger assay was used to investigate the androgenic effect of crude DM, and the plasma level of testosterone was measured. The prostatic mRNA and protein expression of Spot14-like androgen-inducible protein (SLAP) were also examined with real-time PCR and Western blot techniques. GC-MS and NMR spectroscopic investigations were performed to identify the active components gained by bioactivity-guided fractionation.


The crude DM increased the relative weights of the androgen-dependent organs and the plasma testosterone level in castrated rats and these actions were flutamide-sensitive. DM increased the tissue mRNA and protein level of SLAP, providing further evidence of its androgen-like character. After bioactivity-guided fractionation, two fatty acid esters, methyl palmitate (MP) and methyl oleate (MO), were identified as active compounds. MP alone showed an androgenic effect, whereas MO increased the weight of androgen-sensitive tissues and the plasma testosterone level only in combination.


The experimental data of DM and its active compounds (MO and MP) show androgenic activity confirming the traditional usage of DM. DM or MP or/and MO treatments may project a natural mode for the therapy of male infertility.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID: 24607508 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24607508

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