Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Food Is the Most Powerful Medicine Because Food Can Ultimately Change Your Genetic Code: The Story of Royal Jelly and the Queen Bee

Food is Your Most Powerful Medicine

“Eat in the Season Thereof”

Food is our most powerful medicine. That is a very powerful statement. Here’s how it works. Food can affect hormones. Hormones are natural steroids that can go inside the cell and communicate with the cell. Inside the nucleus are genes. Hormones can change the genetic code. So there you have a simple description of why food is your most powerful medicine because food can ultimately change your genetic code. 

Here is a powerful example of what I mean.

The Story of Royal Jelly and the Queen Bee

    During the first three days of larval development, baby Bees destined to become workers of the colony are fed a diluted form of royal jelly-the royal milk liberally mixed with honey. This rich brood food is supplied so generously, the tiny young larvae actually lie in a pool of it within their individual brood cells. The mass feeding of royal jelly comes abruptly to an end after three days. The quality of brood food changes, and the quantity supplied is reduced sharply.

    During the remainder of their larval development, baby worker bees are fed bee bread (bee pollen) and honey. Food is given as needed. During the final stages of larval life, the development of the worker larva's sex glands is suppressed. Her sex glands will remain immature and useless for the whole of her life. However, her hypo pharyngeal glands, the glands that will secrete the royal jelly to feed the queen, mature and develop fully. Should royal jelly, even in diluted form, continue to be supplied to these baby workers, a queen would be produced.

Throughout her entire larval and pupil periods, a future queen is supplied with highly nutritive, hormone-rich royal jelly. Nurse bees instinctively supply abundant royal jelly to the larvae deposited in the peanut-shaped queen brood cells past the three-day period of mass feeding of royal jelly to all larvae. Without the rich royal milk, a baby queen bee would fail to develop properly. The end result would be merely another worker for the hive. Royal jelly alone is what transforms larvae in queen brood chambers into queens.  As she continues to feed on royal jelly past the three-day cutoff for workers, the queen grows a modified stinger. Unlike those of worker bees, the queen's stinger is curved, not straight. The queen's guard bees take care of hive defense, so the queen herself will never need to sting an intruder or give her life to protect the entrance to the hive. Because the queen uses her stinger only to defend her royal right to rule, she can also retract it after shooting out venom. Unlike a worker bee, the queen does not die after stinging.

There are other major differences in the developmental process, too. As an adult, the queen will have no wax glands. The worker bees build the comb. The queen will have no pollen baskets on her back legs. The workers forage for the foodstuffs of the hive, nectar and pollen, and for propilis. And the queen will have no hypo pharyngeal glands to secrete royal jelly. Nurse bees produce royal jelly.

The queen cells on the comb amidst the capped worker brood cells are the peanut-shaped cells. The queen's sex organs progress to fully ripe maturity as she passes through the larval and pupil stages of her development.

When she emerges as a royal adult queen, her body is noticeably larger and clearly superior to that of her sisters, the sexless workers of the hive. An average queen bee measures 17 millimeters and weighs 200 milligrams, compared to 12 millimeters and 125 milligrams for worker bees. Royal jelly gives the royal beauty a 42 percent increase in size and a 60 percent superiority in weight over the workers of her court.
Nature builds in yet another advantage. Because the queen is so necessary to the colony, her royal development to full adulthood is accomplished in just sixteen days, thanks to her richly royal diet, compared to the twenty-one days it takes a worker to reach maturity. She has another advantage, too. Her life span is measured in years while a worker bee's life span is measured in weeks. A queen lives forty times longer than the ladies of her court. In the wild, a queen lives productively for five to seven years. Worker bees are worn out and die on an average between the ages of six weeks to eight weeks. Workers are expendable. The queen is not. During her remarkably extended life span, the queen will lay up to 2,000 eggs per day. Each batch of brood has a total weight greater than two and a half times the queen mother's own body weight.
The queen feasts on royal jelly her entire lifetime. This miraculous food alone is what insures the queen's superior development and incredible longevity. Remember, a queen does not start off with an inborn genetic superiority. The direct feeding of each and every cell of her body with richly nutritive royal jelly is what first creates and then sustains the queen's superiority for the whole of her extra-long life.

     Now remember the only difference between the worker bee and queen bee was not genetics, but food. “Food is your most powerful medicine.”

(Royden Brown's Bee Hive Product Bible, Avery Publishing 1993,  p. 105-107, ISBN 0-89529-521-0)

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