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Can you eat eggshells? Yes! Eggshells are edible and are an excellent source of calcium. Not only are eggshells edible, but they also have a wide variety of applications. They are used as an ingredient in animal feed, fertilizer, and compost.
Composition of an Eggshell
Eggshells have a thin outer coating called the bloom, which prevents bacteria from getting inside the shell. Underneath the shell is a membrane that separates the eggshell from the albumin or egg white.
Eggshells are almost entirely made of calcium carbonate (95%). The remaining 5% is composed of a mix of proteins and other minerals.
Health Benefits of Eggshells
Here’s why medicinal intake of eggshell powder is good for your body:
1. Eggshells are a great source of dietary calcium
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, with about 99% of it present in bones and teeth. Calcium is an essential nutrient that is necessary for many functions in human health. One of its primary functions is to strengthen bones.
This mineral is found in a variety of foods, including dairy products, foods fortified with calcium, and some vegetables. However, people do not usually consume enough of these products to fulfill their daily calcium requirements.
Half of an eggshell can provide the amount of calcium needed per day in adults. The recommended daily intake is 1,000 mg of calcium in adults (calcium recommendations vary with age and gender). Older adults have higher calcium needs than younger adults.
Moreover, the calcium from eggshells is better absorbed by the body than unadulterated calcium carbonate. One study found that the absorption rate of the former is 34.8%, greater than that of the latter. (1)
2. Eggshells help strengthen bones
Eggshell powder, which is basically crushed eggshells, consumed as a calcium supplement has shown significant and beneficial effects in decreasing bone loss.
Bone mass density tends to decrease with advancing age. This bone loss is especially severe for postmenopausal women who often develop osteoporosis or osteopenia as a result of it. Thus, calcium supplementation becomes all the more necessary to counter this loss.
Clinical studies conducted on postmenopausal women and patients with osteoporosis/osteopenia revealed a link between intake of calcium derived from chicken eggshell and improved bone mineral density of the hips and lumbar spine, provided calcium was consumed along with other bone-building nutrients, namely, vitamin D3 and magnesium. (2)
In another study on a group of postmenopausal women, eggshell calcium was more effective in increasing bone mass than pure calcium carbonate. (1)
3. Eggshells may improve joint health
A few studies have shown eggshell membrane supplementation as treatment for symptoms related to osteoarthritis and to alleviate joint pain or stiffness. (3) Eggshell membrane is primarily composed of the protein collagen.
However, more research is needed in this area to determine the effectiveness of eggshell membrane supplementation in joint health.
Using Eggshell Powder as a Calcium Supplement
An alternative to buying a commercial calcium supplement is making eggshell powder at home by using a rolling pin and a sieve.
You can then add the eggshell powder into various dishes, such as bread, pizza, and pasta, without changing the texture or flavor. The eggshell powder can also be dissolved in vinegar, lemon, and orange juice.
- Boil the eggs first to remove any bacteria that may be lurking on the outer shell.
- It is important to get the right amount of calcium to consume. Too much calcium can cause hypercalcemia, kidney damage, and kidney stones.
Eggshells are a cheap and effective source of dietary calcium. If you have trouble meeting your calcium needs, supplementing with eggshell powder may be an effective way to meet your needs.