Summary: Seniors often need additional joint support including glucosamine and chondroitin plus hyaluronic acid. Egg shell membranes are an expensive supplement that contains not only those two. According to PubMed, eggshell membranes have a high content of bioactive components, as well as properties of moisture retention and biodegradability which have potential use for clinical, cosmetic, nutraceutical and nanotechnology applications. The eggshell membranes have been also used for biosorption of heavy metals and dyes.
Chemistry: Eggshell membrane is primarily composed of fibrous proteins such as collagen type I. However, eggshell membranes have also been shown to contain glycosaminoglycans, such as dermatan sulfate and chondroitin sulfate and sulfated glycoproteins including hexosamines, such as glucosamine. Other components identified in eggshell membranes are hyaluronic acid, sialic acid, desmosine and isodesmosine, ovotransferrin, lysyl oxidase, lysozyme, and β-N-acetylglucosaminidase.
Between November 2003 and February 2004, two open-label clinical studies in Missouri assembled 39 patients with various joint and connective tissue disorders, to measure the effect of doses of EM after 7 and 30 days. 34 patients completed the study, and utilizing a 0 to 10 analog Likert scale, reported increased flexibility, and decreased general and range of motion-associated pain. Subsequently, between December 2004 and January 2006, at three clinical sites in Missouri, 67 patients suffering moderate osteoarthritis of the knee were divided into two groups. One group was administered a placebo and the other received 500 mg of EM per day. Both the clinicians and the patients were blinded as to whether they were part of the placebo group or the EM group (a double-blind trial). Measurements were taken at 10, 30 and 60 days, using the WOMAC Index, which is a self-administered questionnaire addressing pain, stiffness and function or disability. Only 57% of the enrolled subjects completed the study, which was lower than anticipated. The treated group reported up to 26.6% improvement over placebo for pain and stiffness with no significant improvement in function and overall WOMAC.
Although this study is not a very strong result, suffering from a small group size and a very high non-completion rate as well as showing an unexpectedly small effect, this study has resulted in significant growth in the promotion and sale of egg membrane dietary supplements.