One of the most interesting and valuable parts of the common chicken egg is often tossed out with the breakfast trash. The shell of a healthy egg is lined with a thin membrane containing more than 400 proteins, each with its own capabilities. Over the past several years, natural eggshell membrane (NEM) has become a focus for investigation by both scientists and nutritionists seeking to understand its potential health benefits as a dietary supplement.
What Is NEM and How Is It Made?
Natural eggshell membrane is, as the name implies, a naturally occurring substance that lines the interior of eggshells. You may have seen it when you crack a shell and look inside. In nature, the membrane acts as an extra layer of protection for the embryo inside, the way lamination on car windshields protects us if the glass is compromised.
NEM is obtained from the interior shell of chicken eggs farmed in the United States that, after use, are destined for landfills. Because of that, harvesting NEM does not affect the nation’s egg supply. The membrane is separated from the shell using steam, and is partially hydrolyzed in a gentle enzymatic bath increasing your body's ability to digest and absorb the nutrients. The membrane is then dried and powdered. Finally, it is added to capsules for consumption as a dietary supplement.
NEM contains glycosaminoglycans, such as dermatan sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and sulfated glycoproteins including hexosamines, such as glucosamine.
NEM can easily be degraded by overprocessing, such as the use of solvents, which can blunt its therapeutic effects. Therefore, it must be handled with care to preserve the proteins it contains. The process is safe for the environment and minimizes the risk for degeneration.
Benefits of NEM as a Dietary Supplement
We often take a reactive approach to health maintenance, addressing emergencies as they arise, but neglecting the larger, overall health picture. This approach to joint pain will not work. Did you know that the only warning sign of joint damage is the pain you experience once the damage is already done?
This “have a pain, take a pill” approach may offer temporary fixes, but not permanent solutions. By building a foundation from wholesome, nutritious food and strategic dietary supplementation, you can support your active joints before you experience symptoms keeping your joints healthy and you moving for a lifetime!
NEM is an excellent source of type I, V, & X collagen, calcium, chondroitin, and natural glucosamine—all substances our bodies need to maintain joint health, mobility, flexibility, and range of motion in our daily activities. NEM also offers a more budget-friendly alternative to purchasing an array of joint and bone health products separately, like glucosamine, chondroitin, or hyaluronic acid.
What Do Clinical Studies Say about NEM?
Much recent research has focused on the value of NEM as a dietary supplement for joint health. Here’s what two recent studies had to say:
A 2019 study by Hewlings and colleagues published in the Journal of Medicinal Food used a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind design to evaluate the effects of NEM supplementation on patients with joint issues. They found that the NEM group experienced statistically significant increases in walking capacity and ability, as well as decreases in joint stiffness sustained through the 12-week study period. 
A 2021 study by Kiers and Bult examined 150 subjects with joint issues. Patients were randomized to two groups–-treatment with NEM, or a placebo. After the 12-week study period, subjects were re-evaluated for metrics such as discomfort, symptom severity, quality of life, ability to do sports or recreational activities, and ability to perform daily life tasks. Subjects were asked to self-report their scores. The study found that “...the ingestion of an EM hydrolysate (NEM) significantly enhanced average individual physical capacity (walking distance and ability) and reduced stiffness by the fifth day of supplementation. These effects were maintained over 12 weeks.” 
Is NEM Supplementation Right for You?
Mobility and flexibility are essential for optimal joint function. But age, joint wear, and repetitive motion can all compromise joint function. These can result in stiffness, discomfort, limited motion, and reduced activity. Why wait until symptoms begin to chip away at your quality of life?
NEM dietary supplementation offers an easy and safe way to support your body’s own natural processes for maintaining joint health. The proteins contained in NEM help keep joints hydrated and lubricated to optimize range of motion and reduce stiffness. The collagen, chondroitin, and glucosamine naturally occurring in NEM are the same substances your body needs to cushion high-impact joints like the knee, so you can keep up with the demands of your active lifestyle.
Supplementation with NEM is even good for the environment. Each year millions of eggs are discarded by egg producers. Use of these shells in dietary supplements helps to ease the burden on the nation’s already strained landfills.
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Solutions For The Entire Body
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