Source of Dietary Calcium: Chicken Egg Shell Powder

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Fatty Acid Synthase (FAS), Vitamin D, and Cancer
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Phosphate, activation, and aging
Preparing Powdered Eggshells for Calcium

Poult Sci. 2000 Dec;79(12):1833-8.
Mineral, amino acid, and hormonal composition of chicken eggshell powder and the evaluation of its use in human nutrition.
Schaafsma A, Pakan I, Hofstede GJ, Muskiet FA, Van Der Veer E, De Vries PJ.
Chicken eggshell powder (ESP) might be an attractive source of Ca for human nutrition. To study its nutritional value, we analyzed minerals, amino acids, and hormones in commercially available Slovakian ESP. The mineral composition was compared with three Dutch ESP samples that differed in feed and housing, a Japanese ESP, refined CaCO3, and an oyster shell supplement. Chicken eggshell powder contains high levels of Ca (mean +/- SD/g EPS: 401+/-7.2 mg) and Sr (372+/-161 microg) when compared with recommended or estimated daily intakes for humans 51 to 70 yr of age. Levels of potentially toxic Pb, Al, Cd, and Hg were very low as were levels of V, B, Fe, Zn, P, Mg, N, F, Se, Cu, and Cr. Large differences in the levels of F, Se, Cu, Cr, and Sr in the Dutch and Slovakian ESP indicated a strong influence of feed and environment. The small protein fraction of ESP contains high levels of Gly and Arg. Furthermore, small amounts of transforming growth factor-beta1 (0.75 to 7.28 ng/g ESP), calcitonin (10 to 25 ng/g ESP), and progesterone (0.30 to 0.33 ng/g ESP) were detected. Estradiol-17beta and calcitriol were below the detection limit of the methods used. Compared with ESP, refined CaCO3 was found to contain increased levels of Cd, and the oyster shell supplement showed increased levels of Al and Cd. Therefore, ESP seems to have a beneficial composition with about 39% of elemental Ca, relevant amounts of Sr, and low levels of Al, Pb, Cd and Hg. It may be used as a Ca source in human nutrition.

Br J Nutr. 2002 Mar;87(3):267-75.
Positive effects of a chicken eggshell powder-enriched vitamin-mineral supplement on femoral neck bone mineral density in healthy late post-menopausal Dutch women.
Schaafsma A, van Doormaal JJ, Muskiet FA, Hofstede GJ, Pakan I, van der Veer E.
Although bone metabolism is largely under genetic control, the role of nutrition is considerable. The present study evaluates the effects of chicken eggshell powder, a new source of dietary Ca, and purified CaCO3 on bone mineral density (BMD) of the lumbar spine and hip. Besides BMD we also looked at biochemical markers of bone and Ca metabolism. Both Ca sources were provided in combination with minerals and vitamins including Mg, cholecalciferol and phylloquinone. We designed a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to take place over 12 months. Healthy Caucasian women (n 85), selected by age (> or =50 and <70 years), from the databases of general practitioners were recruited by telephone calls. They had to be at least 5 years post-menopausal, with lumbar spine T-score being > – 2.5. At baseline, their mean habitual daily Ca intake was adequate. The women were randomly allocated to: eggshell powder-enriched (group A; n 24), purified CaCO3-enriched (group B; n 22), or a placebo product (group C; n 27). BMD was measured at baseline and then after 6 and 12 months of supplementation as were the biochemical markers bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, amino-terminal propeptide extension of type I collagen, deoxypyridinoline, calcitonin, intact parathyroid hormone, calcidiol, and urinary Ca. After 12 months of supplementation, only mean BMD of the femoral neck in group A was significantly increased (P=0.014) by 1.75% (95% CI 0.18, 3.32) compared with a decrease of -0.60% (95% CI -1.92, 0.72) in group C. This increase coincided with significant decreases in markers of bone resorption and formation. No significant changes were seen in BMD at other sites, including lumbar spine, nor in groups B and C. No differences were found between groups A and B, or B and C. The present study indicates that healthy late post-menopausal women with an adequate Ca intake at baseline may increase BMD of the hip within 12 months following supplementation with the chicken eggshell powder-enriched supplement.

Clin Calcium. 2005 Jan;15(1):95-100.
[Hen’s eggshell calcium].
[Article in Japanese]
Masuda Y.
In Japan, insufficient calcium (Ca) intake is serious problem for health which may be associated with the high prevalence of osteoporosis among the aged. The intake of most nutrients has been sufficient, however, the Ca intake has never been sufficient. Eggshell Ca has as much as 38% of Ca and low phosphorus content. Eggshell Ca was more soluble than Ca carbonate and was as much as milk products. Eggshell Ca has been shown to exhibit higher absorptivity and availability than Ca carbonate. Furthermore, it has been reported that eggshell Ca is more effective in increasing bone mineral density in ovariectomized osteoporotic rats. These results suggest that eggshell Ca could be beneficial for bone and we propose Ca fortified foods which contain eggshell Ca as a nutraceutical.

Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 2003;23(2-3):83-92.
Eggshell calcium in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
Rovenský J, Stancíková M, Masaryk P, Svík K, Istok R.
In this paper the most significant biological and clinical aspects of a biopreparation made of chicken eggshells are reviewed. Eggshell powder is a natural source of calcium and other elements (e.g. strontium and fluorine) which may have a positive effect on bone metabolism. Experimental and clinical studies performed to date have shown a number of positive properties of eggshell powder, such as antirachitic effects in rats and humans. A positive effect was observed on bone density in animal models of postmenopausal osteoporosis in ovariectomized female rats. In vitro eggshell powder stimulates chondrocyte differentiation and cartilage growth. Clinical studies in postmenopausal women and women with senile osteoporosis showed that eggshell powder reduces pain and osteoresorption and increases mobility and bone density or arrests its loss. The bioavailability of calcium from this source, as tested in piglets, was similar or better than that of food grade purified calcium carbonate. Clinical and experimental studies showed that eggshell powder has positive effects on bone and cartilage and that it is suitable in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

Bratisl Lek Listy. 1999 Dec;100(12):651-6.
Short-term effects of a chicken egg shell powder enriched dairy-based products on bone mineral density in persons with osteoporosis or osteopenia.
Schaafsma A, Pakan I.
Based on the high calcium content, chicken egg shells are an interesting source of calcium. We studied the short-term effects on bone mineral density (BMD) of the lumbar spine and hip in 9 women and one man (mean age +/- SD, 63.9 +/- 8.1 years) with osteoporosis or osteopenia. Also the effects on pain and general well-being were monitored. Ten women (62.5 +/- 5.0 years) from a population study on BMD served as a control group. During a study period of 4-8 months, the intervention group consumed twice daily a dairy-based supplement which resulted in a daily intake of, among others, 3.0 g of egg shell powder, 400 IU of vitamin D3 and 400 mg of magnesium. BMD of the lumbar spine (anteroposterior (AP) and lateral (LA) position) and hip were measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. After the intervention period, BMDs of the lumbar spine, total proximal femur and trochanter were significantly (p < 0.05) increased with (median) 4.4%: (range) 1.7 to 10.4% (lumbar spine AP), 5.7%: -1.3 to 15.9% (lumbar spine LA), 2.2%: -1.9 to 9.4% (total proximal femur), 1.8%: -1.8 to 9.0% (trochanter). Within a period of 4 months, an important reduction in pain was reported and as a consequence an improvement in general well-being. In the control group, BMDs of the lumbar spine AP and of the femoral neck significantly decreased over a period of 8 months with -0.7% (-1.3 to 0.2%) and -0.9% (-2.4 to -0.1%) respectively. Six women of the intervention group continued to use the supplement on their own free will and without any check on compliance, up to 24 months. They consumed the supplement only once daily except for the last three months when they were asked to take the double dosage again. After 24 months BMDs did not differ from baseline. This study shows that egg shell powder is a source of bioavailable calcium. Furthermore, this pilot study indicates that the chicken egg shell powder enriched dairy-based supplement increases BMD of subjects with a low bone mass in the short term and as a consequence delays bone demineralisation for a longer period.

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4 Responses

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  1. William says


    What happened to the raw carrot post?

  2. Team FPS says

    The effect of raw carrot on serum lipids and colon function

  3. Daniel Thaler says

    When I eat the shell from a hard boiled egg, i.e. after ten minutes of steaming or boiling, it’s not like biting into a brittle egg shell with sharp edges, etc. It immediately pulverizes into a powder and after about 30 seconds of effortless chewing just take a gulp of water, gone. It just disintegrates in your mouth, so I know it is highly soluble and easily absorbed by my body. I’m going to continue to eat them when I eat a hard boiled egg. It might be a different story with a raw egg shell as far as the chewing, etc. It is NOT like eating a piece of chalk or some other bonehead comments I have read.

  4. Travis says

    Do you make your own egg shell powder Rob? I’m definitely going to start. We go through plenty of eggs and just throw this important part away usually.