Eggshell membrane is a natural substance that forms between the white of the egg and its shell. If you’ve ever de-shelled a hard-boiled egg, you’ll probably have noticed this clear film. But one thing you mightn’t have realised is just what a nutritional powerhouse it is.
A natural source of joint-supporting nutrients like glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate, hyaluronic acid, collagen and glycoprotein, eggshell membrane is an entirely unique biological matrix.
Little wonder, therefore, that eggshell membrane has been studied for its positive effects on various markers of health. Indeed, clinical research highlights the benefits of eggshell membrane for arthritis and the joint pain which is synonymous with the disease.
In this blog post, we intend to take a closer look at eggshell membrane and assess its usefulness as a dietary aid.
Eggshell Membrane for Joint Pain and Stiffness
By far the most studied area of research when it comes to eggshell membrane is for arthritis and joint health in general. This is not altogether surprising given the membrane’s constituents, which including fibrous proteins like collagen type 1.
Two of the most widely-reported studies were published almost a decade apart, in 2009 and 2018. While the former (published in the journal Clinical Rheumatology) focused on the usage of eggshell membrane in treating pain and stiffness from osteoarthritis of the knee, the latter (published in Clinical Interventions in Ageing) sought to determine whether the ingredient could alleviate exercise-inducted joint pain, stiffness and cartilage turnover.
The 2009 paper, a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, involved 67 patients randomly chosen to receive either 500mg NEM® eggshell membrane or a placebo daily for two months.
Amazingly, the supplementation group exhibited improved mean pain subscores (15.9% reduction, Placebo?=?0.036) and mean stiffness subscores (12.8% reduction, P?=?0.024) after just ten days of supplementation.
After 60 days, the improvement in pain response had been maintained (15.4%, P?=?0.038), while stiffness was further improved to 26.6% reduction (P?=?0.005), using the Western Ontario and McMasters Universities (WOMAC) Osteoarthritis Index.
In the “Discussion” section of the resulting paper, researchers claimed that “the study proved NEM® both effective and safe for treating pain and stiffness associated with OA of the knee” while pointing out that opting to employ eggshell membrane for this purpose “has the added benefit of avoiding the concerning side effects associated with long-term use of other osteoarthritis treatments such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).”
You can read the 2009 study in its entirety here.
Eggshell Membrane for Exercise-Inducted Discomfort
The 2018 study also used a daily eggshell membrane dosage of 500mg, administered once daily for two weeks while subjects engaged in a leg-based exercise on alternating days. Subjects, in this case, comprised healthy postmenopausal women in the 40-75 age bracket.
Although “immediate pain was not significantly different”, treatment responses were noted for recovery stiffness (Day 4), immediate stiffness (Day 7) and recovery pain (Day 8).
By the end of the fortnight evaluation period, recovery pain had almost returned to resting levels for the treatment group while placebo group recovery pain levels remained significantly elevated.
In other words, the physical aftereffects of intense exercise were mitigated thanks to NEM®. Furthermore, “a substantial chondroprotective effect was demonstrated from supplementation with NEM® through a lasting decrease in the cartilage degradation biomarker CTX-II.”
You can read the 2018 study in full here.
So what do this pair of studies tell us? Merely that the effects of eggshell membrane (and in particular the patent-protected NEM® ingredient) appear to be highly beneficial for treating exercise-induced joint pain and stiffness, and also pain and stiffness from knee osteoarthritis.
The logical question to ask is: Could NEM® be useful for other forms of arthritis?
Of course, these are not the only trials worth mentioning. In 2014, a German study showed that daily supplementation with – you guessed it – 500mg eggshell membrane could reduce painful symptoms of knee and hip osteoarthritis. One-quarter of patients enjoyed a 30% improvement in pain after ten days of treatment while more than three-quarters reported moderate or significant improvements at the conclusion of the two-month study period.
While more studies would surely be welcomed, the effectiveness of its ingredients in protecting cartilage, synovial membrane and sub chondral bone make eggshell membrane a worthwhile supplement for those interested in preserving and lubricating joints and cartilage, whether due to general age-related wear and tear or sports injuries.
With interest in natural alternatives for the treatment of joint pain and stiffness, including that caused by arthritis, continuing to attract interest, eggshell membrane appears to be worthy of close attention.
If you want to try it for yourself, possibly to avoid the diverse and severe side effects of conventional NSAIDs, or even as an adjunct, consider UnoCardio Sports, a new supplement that combines NEM® with high-potency omega-3 fish oil.
The reason these components are combined is because, like eggshell membrane, anti-inflammatory omega-3s have been well-studied for their beneficial effect on joint health, specifically due to their ability to decrease pro-inflammatory cytokines (one of the primary drivers of arthritis). Each serving of UnoCardio Sports provides a therapeutic dosage of 1,250mg omega-3 and 500mg NEM®.
While we’ve got you here, there’s a few articles we think you might be interested in:
A 2009 study showed Eggshell Membrane to be effective and safe for treating pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.