The astronomical increase of the world’s aged population is associated with the increased prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases, heightened disability, and extremely high costs of care. Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a widespread, age-related, multifactorial neurodegenerative disease that has enormous social and financial drawbacks worldwide. The unsatisfactory outcomes of available AD pharmacotherapy necessitate the search for alternative natural resources that can target the various underlying mechanisms of AD pathology and reduce disease occurrence and/or progression. Royal jelly (RJ) is the main food of bee queens; it contributes to their fertility, long lifespan, and memory performance. It represents a potent nutraceutical with various pharmacological properties, and has been used in a number of preclinical studies to target AD and age-related cognitive deterioration. To understand the mechanisms through which RJ affects cognitive performance both in natural aging and AD, we reviewed the literature, elaborating on the metabolic, molecular, and cellular mechanisms that mediate its anti-AD effects. Preclinical findings revealed that RJ acts as a multidomain cognitive enhancer that can restore cognitive performance in aged and AD models. It promotes brain cell survival and function by targeting multiple adversities in the neuronal microenvironment such as inflammation, oxidative stress, mitochondrial alterations, impaired proteostasis, amyloid-β toxicity, Ca excitotoxicity, and bioenergetic challenges. Human trials using RJ in AD are limited in quantity and quality. Here, the limitations of RJ-based treatment strategies are discussed, and directions for future studies examining the effect of RJ in cognitively impaired subjects are noted.
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