Earlier in my life, I had a number of unusual—and not always pleasant—jobs. One was the “pots and pans washer” in the kitchen of an upscale country club—a job that was several steps down on the totem pole from a dishwasher.
The one pot I only had to wash once a day was the very large stockpot. This monster sat on a burner in the middle of the kitchen and simmered all day long. It was filled with water in the morning, and cutoffs or skins from every imaginable vegetable were tossed into the pot. Beef bones, chicken skin and bones, and shrimp and fish heads also made their way into the pot.
By mid-morning, the amazing aroma from this stockpot filled the kitchen. This vegetable and bone broth became the soup du jour, and not only did it taste amazing, it was packed with nutrients.
At the time, there was one component of the broth that I thought was worthless: eggshells. Dozens of eggshells were tossed into the stockpot daily, mostly from the pastry chefs. Later, I learned that these eggshells—or more precisely, eggshell membranes—actually have some amazing benefits.
What Is Eggshell Membrane?
Eggshell membrane is the thin, white membrane that is found between the hard, calcified shell of the egg and the albumin (the egg white). Occasionally, you’ll see this membrane when a raw egg doesn’t crack properly. And you’ve probably also seen it when peeling a hard-boiled egg.
Eggshell membrane is primarily composed of type I collagen proteins, numerous glycosaminoglycans such as chondroitin sulfate, and a significant amount of hyaluronic acid. These are all essential compounds your body requires to build, repair, and maintain healthy joints.
Health Benefits of Eggshell Membrane
Eggshell membrane has many benefits when it comes to joint health and reducing pain and inflammation. Here are a few of the top health benefits of eggshell membrane:
Reduces Joint Pain and Inflammation
Research has shown that when eggshell membrane is taken at therapeutic doses, it can provide relief from joint pain in as little as seven days. The components in eggshell membrane reduce inflammatory compounds called cytokines, which trigger events leading to joint pain and destruction.
Prevents Exercise-induced Joint Pain and Stiffness
One study involved 60 healthy postmenopausal women given eggshell membrane or a placebo once daily for two weeks. On alternating days, they performed an exercise routine of 50 to 100 repetitions of steps per leg.
Using specific biomarkers, researchers were able to show that there was a very significant reduction in cartilage turnover (i.e. destruction) after just the first week.
Additionally, when compared to the women given a placebo, those taking the eggshell membrane continued to have a far more rapid recovery from any exercise pain by day eight. And by day seven, they also experienced significantly less stiffness.
Improves Osteoarthritis in the Knee
A recent study involved a group of 166 patients who had been suffering from arthritic knee pain for one-to-five years. Part of the group received a placebo and the others were given eggshell membrane. The study continued for three months.
By the end of just seven days, those taking the eggshell membrane experienced a 24% reduction in stiffness and 22% decrease in pain. And unlike those taking the placebo, their condition continued to improve.
After 30 days, they saw reductions in pain and stiffness of 33% and 35%, respectively. At 90 days, those taking eggshell membrane experienced a decrease in pain and stiffness averaging over 50%.
Take Advantage of the Health Benefits of Eggshell Membrane
Eggshell membrane (also known as natural eggshell membrane or NEM) is available in supplement form, and is the byproduct of the 600,000 tons of eggshells produced annually by the poultry industry.
Numerous studies confirm that, when taken at a therapeutic dosage of 500 mg a day, eggshell membrane not only provides relief from the pain and stiffness of arthritic joints and connective tissues, it can prevent the further breakdown of joint cartilage.
You can find eggshell membrane in standalone products, and it’s also added to high-quality joint-supportive supplements.