Eggshell membrane shown to protect cartilage thickness in study

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Image © iStockPhoto
Image © iStockPhoto

Related tags: Inflammation

Eggshell membrane was found in a new study to ameliorate cartilage degradation in a rat arthritis model. The study, performed with Stratum Nutrition’s NEM ingredient, was the first to show this effect, the company said.

Study details

The study was published in Korean Journal of Nutrition and Health​. Researchers associated with the Traditional & Biomedical Research Center within Daejeon University evaluated three doses of NEM (including the human equivalent dose of 52 mg/kg) in a rat model of osteoarthritis.  As in prior research, NEM demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects, in this case on the inflammation biomarkers Interleukin 1-beta (IL-1b) and C-Reactive Protein (CRP).  And, for the first time, chondroprotective effects were revealed from NEM treatment.

NEM was found to reduce circulating cartilage degrading enzymes known as Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMPs) and was shown to reduce serum levels of the cartilage degradation biomarker CTX-II.  Importantly, the demonstrated chondroprotective effects were validated through histology, wherein a blinded pathologist evaluated cartilage thickness and joint space width both microscopically and via micro CT scan.

“We are particularly excited about the chondroprotective effects shown with NEM and we have filed patent applications internationally surrounding this use for eggshell membrane,”​ said Dr Kevin Ruff, senior director of scientific & regulatory affairs for Stratum Nutrition which distributes NEM globally. The ingredient is produced with a joint venture partner.

Stratum has done previous research on NEM (Natural Eggshell Membrane) that delves into the ingredient’s anti inflammatory mode of action. The NEM matrix contains hyaluronic acid, glycosaminoglycans (GAGS), collagen and other beneficial proteins. NEM is principally composed of proteins (50-70%), which includes collagen types I, V and X. Stratum says the collagen, as well as the other proteins, appear to work as a unit along with the GAGS to help support a healthy inflammatory response.

Add-on effect


Inflammation is seen as the root condition for arthritis and other negative changes in joint function.  A number of ingredients, NEM, curcuminoids, and others, have been put forward to address this inflammation response, but being able to show mechanical benefits in terms of connective tissue thickness and elasticity is something new.

“This most recent study further confirms research we had done on the mode of action and on its anti inflammatory effects.  The chondroprotective data was the first evidence we’ve had of that,”​ said April Knell, Stratum’s marketing coordinator.

At the moment, the ingredient is marketed for general joint health via a ‘supports healthy inflammation response’ type of structure function claim.  The new study, while persuasive, does have the patina of the arthritics disease model, so crafting a claim will take some work, Knell said.

“We are still trying to determine ourselves what we are going to be able to say about this,”​ she said.

Source: J Nutr Health
2015, Volume 48, Number 4, Pages 310-318
“Effects of natural eggshell membrane (NEM) on monosodium iodoacetate-induced arthritis in rats”
Authors: Boo Yung Sim, et al

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