Eggshell Membrane Reduces Joint Discomfort Post-Exercise?

Mar 12, 2018

Researchers are pointing to a new study that suggests that a proprietary eggshell membrane ingredient may provide joint-recovery benefits post-exercise. The clinical trial,1 recently published in Clinical Interventions in Aging, is also the first to use the cartilage degradation biomarker CTX-II to evaluate the efficacy of a joint-health intervention in healthy subjects. 

NEM is a natural eggshell membrane ingredient from Stratum Nutrition (St. Louis). The company’s website states that the ingredient is designed to not only support joint flexibility but to help promote future joint health. Jason Theodosakis, MD, contributing author to this study, explained: “This triple-action NEM ingredient contains naturally occurring hyaluronic acid, chondroitin, and glucosamine, as well as three types of collagen, peptides, and amino acids—providing defense for joint health." 

As the authors note in the study, exercise becomes an increasingly important aspect of overall health and joint health as people age, but with age comes decreased flexibility, joint and bone frailty, and reduced balance. The authors also point out that many existing studies support exercise as a way to relieve osteoarthritis symptoms, especially in the knees and hips. But even moderate exercise, the authors write, can result in joint stiffness and discomfort.

One of the main goals of this study was to determine whether oral supplementation with the eggshell membrane ingredient could reduce exercise-induced joint damage, or cartilage turnover (as indicated by the cartilage degradation biomarker CTX-II, assessed via urine samples), either directly after exercise or 12 hours post-exercise. A secondary outcome of the study was to determine whether participants supplemented with the eggshell membrane ingredient experienced reductions in exercise-induced joint pain and stiffness.  This parameter was evaluated using a participant questionnaire.

In the double-blinded study, 60 healthy, postmenopausal women with no reported prior joint pain were supplemented with either 500 mg NEM eggshell membrane or the equivalent dosage of a placebo once daily for a period of two consecutive weeks. During the study, participants completed a moderate exercise regimen consisting of 50-100 steps per leg on alternating days. The study authors evaluated cartilage degradation at one and two weeks of supplementation.

Participants who received the NEM ingredient demonstrated improved recovery from exercise-induced joint pain by day 8 of the study, reduced stiffness by day 4, and reduced post-exercise discomfort by day 7. The placebo group, meanwhile, did not show any significant differences in immediate pain, recovery pain, and recovery stiffness compared with baseline.

In addition, participants supplemented with NEM showed a lasting decrease in cartilage degradation. The authors state that this is the first evidence suggesting that the biomarker for cartilage degradation, CTX-II, can be used to evaluate the chondroprotective efficacy of joint therapeutics in healthy individuals.

Kevin J. Ruff, PhD, MBA, CCRP, senior director of scientific and regulatory affairs, Stratum Nutrition, commented on the study results in a press statement: “This study is significant not only for the growing body of research supporting NEM’s fast-acting benefits for joint health, but importantly for demonstrating these same benefits for the first time in individuals with truly healthy joints. The novel trial design employed in this study has even received a Notice of Allowance from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.”

References: 
  1. Ruff, KJ et al., “Beneficial effects of natural eggshell membrane versus placebo in exercise-induced joint pain, stiffness, and cartilage turnover in healthy, postmenopausal women,” Clinical Interventions in Aging, vol. 13 (February 2018): 285-295