Eggshells – A Bioavailable Source of Calcium

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1-mxRQOqBo]

The Calcium “Myth”

Each and everyone of us have been told that we need calcium to build stronger bones, and this nutrient has been blasted on the airwaves, promoting the mass consumption of milk and dairy products. I do believe that raw dairy products are beneficial, but the conventional pasteurized dairy is what is being touted as the healthy source of our daily calcium, and this just isn’t true.

If you are only focusing on calcium for building strong bones, you are going to increase your risks for developing fractures and osteoporosis later on in your life. This is because many minerals work together synergistically to combine a strong support system for bone health and growth. Calcium is an important nutrient; however, there are minerals that are essential that you may be missing out on while only focusing on drinking your milk.

Get your bones in shape! Photo courtesy of TeamSugar.com

Bone Building Nutrients and Their Sources

Let’s look at the most important minerals and nutrients you need to grow stronger bones. Listen to that last part of the sentence–stronger bones, not just denser bones. Density and size of bone doesn’t always equal strength.

Incorporating these nutrients are quite easy to do, and do not provide much effort or money to place into your healthy lifestyle.

Vitamin D. I’ve written about Vitamin D before (specifically Vitamin D3), and you are probably already aware of the importance that Vitamin D has in our body. This vitamin is usually added to milk to fortify it, as it helps increase the absorption of calcium into our bodies. However, sometimes this is in the form of Vitamin D2, not D3 which is what you need, or even worse, it isn’t absorbable by the majority of your body.

I have a few plants growing outside, and they require sunlight at all times. Humans require sunlight as well; not as much as the plant kingdom, but it still provides this incredible vitamin for us when we expose our bare skin to it a few minutes a day. When sunlight hits our naked skin (meaning arms and legs and face uncovered–not necessarily your entire body, unless you have a private place to yourself…), it converts the cholesterol in our skin to Vitamin D and regulates over 3,000 genes in our body. It also helps facilitate and transport the calcium in our diet to the bones and muscles that need it.

Vitamin D can be found in food sources in small quantities, and also in supplement form. However, the best source is from the sunlight, and is completely free. Dr. Joseph Mercola, from Mercola.com, advises to go outside in the sun just until your skin turns a light shad of pink. This is when all the Vitamin D that your body can produce has been produced, and any more exposure to the sun can lead to free radical production and damage to your body. One food source of Vitamin D comes from egg yolk, which also provides a high quality protein.

Vitamin K. This vitamin is almost like Vitamin D, except it acts a “binder”, in a way, to help ‘insert’ the calcium that you take in from food sources into your bones. It is essential that you receive this vitamin in the forms of K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is found in most green, leafy vegetables, and K2 is found in fermented foods raw, fermented dairy products (natto, kefir, yogurt, aged cheese). K2 is probably the most significant, whereas K3 (synthetic version) can have adverse health effects due to the likelihood of toxicity.

Protein. Most people believe that those who consume more protein will actually secrete it in their urine, and lead to the leeching of calcium from your bones. This is true, but increasing your levels of calcium intake, along with your protein intake, will compensate for the loss and help you build stronger bones. In the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was reported that those who consumed the most protein had a 7.5-8% higher bone mineral density and strength than those who consumed less. Today’s conventional animal protein (those that are NOT organic, do not have access to grass or free range) can challenge your body’s pH levels, leading to an acidic reaction in your body. This will steal important minerals from your bones. Therefore, when choosing an animal protein, be sure to try and get local, free range and preferably organic (if dairy, perhaps raw).

Folic Acid and B Vitamins. In The Journal of New England Medicine, they showed that increased intake of B vitamins in the diet led to lower homocysteine levels in the body. This hormone raises the risks of bone fractures. Good dietary sources include green vegetables, carrots, avocados, cantaloupe, apricots and almonds.

Omega 3 Fats. This fat, found primarily in fish, flax and chia seeds, has been shown to provide stronger bone density in a study recorded in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Exercise. Believe it or not, but this is an essential nutrient. We must all try to aim for as much physical exercise during our day unless we want our bodies to slowly rust. Numerous studies have shown that weight bearing exercises and resistance training can help build strong bones and protect bones from becoming thin and weak. Squats and weight training are very powerful sources of this nutrient.

Organic and free range eggs are the way to go.

Egg Shells as a Bioavailable Calcium Source

Even though calcium isn’t the only mineral we need for strong bones, it is an important nutrient to consume to ensure adequate protection of them. Eggshells are about 90-95% calcium carbonate, and is easily absorbable by our bodies, unlike most dairy products and fortified foods today. This is a completely safe and health source of calcium that anyone can incorporate into their diets.

Find a source of locally grown, free range and organic eggs. The likeliness that you contract salmonella from raw eggs and egg shells are actually quite low, and in fact decrease when choosing local, free range organic eggs. In fact, nutrient quality (such as omega-3 fatty acids) are much more available in these eggs, compared to ones you find at the store.

Use the eggs as you normally would, and instead of discarding the egg shells, run them under clean, cool water. Make sure to get all the egg white out of the egg shell. You can then boil the egg shell in hot water, if you feel as though you need to kill any bacteria, and then place it in a place to air dry. Then, using a blender or coffee grinder, pulverize the egg shell into a powder.

1/2 tsp. of dry, powered egg shell contains around 400 mg of calcium. The average person should consume around 1000 mg of calcium, which is easily done if you are eating a proper diet. A good source of calcium that is bioavailable, besides egg shells, include any green leafy vegetable, as well as sardines (which contain mercury, but not as much as other fish–consume with knowledge 1-2 times per week, unless you can find a source that tests mercury free).

Use 1/2 tsp. in drinks, smoothies, cereals, recipes, etc. Excessive intake of calcium can lead to muscle cramps, so be sure to eat a banana or a magnesium source food to negate these effects.

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Next post, I will discuss what you want to avoid at all costs if you are trying to protect or build your bones. Some fascinating bits of information you do not want to miss, so stay tuned for Thursday’s post.

For now, this is The Healthy Advocate.

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17 Responses to “Eggshells – A Bioavailable Source of Calcium”
  1. bill 12 July 2010 at 10:12 am #

    Unfortunaley I have been tossing all my organic eggshells without appreciating their calcium supplementation benefits. One questionI have is whether to take magnesium at the same time or wait later in the day to take in magnesium. Just took a neuturion ciurse and there is a conflcit between opitimal absorption of either when both calcium and magnesium are taken at the same time. Like to hear your toughts. Thanks

    • Brandon May 12 July 2010 at 1:06 pm #

      Hi Bill,

      Usually when I use eggshells as a calcium supplement, I put it in my green smoothie along with half of a banana, spinach, and other low-glycemic fruits and vegetables that are full of magnesium. I also get my magnesium intake throughout the day through my diet, without having to take a supplement. Getting magnesium this way, from the source, shouldn’t provide too much trouble with the absorption of calcium.

      If you are going to take a magnesium supplement, you can probably take it 30 minutes after taking the eggshells. Also be sure to get plenty of potassium and protein in the diet, as these are incredibly important adis in the body’s repair and rebuilding process and can aid calcium, both directly and indirectly. Be sure to speak with your trusted medical advisor before jumping into anything that you’re not sure about. Magnesium is incredibly important for balancing the calcium intake from the eggshells as it helps prevent muscle cramping. So glad to hear you are taking natural actions in your health!

      -Brandon

  2. Lillea 6 August 2010 at 1:20 am #

    It’s nice to have a healthy use for eggshells! That reminds me: I have a (purchased) supplement in my cupboard made of ground emu eggs! I had forgotten about that. But it makes sense to simply create our own.

    Is the powder you create quite fine so it dissolves easily? Do you ever notice the taste and texture of it in your smoothie?

  3. Brandon May 6 August 2010 at 1:23 am #

    Hey Lillea,

    I have never seen a supplement like that on the market! That is quite amazing. Is it for calcium?

    When I do grind my eggshells, it does form a fine powder. However it won’t dissolve in liquids. When I put it in my green smoothies, you can’t notice it at all, which is very fortunate. On its own, however, tastes terrible Not recommended! ;)

  4. Lillea 6 August 2010 at 1:31 am #

    Hi Brandon,

    Yes, really interesting that someone out there created a supplement like this. It’s for calcium. They add vitamin D3 to it, but that’s it. It’s made by a Canadian company called “e3 Emu Products”.

    http://www.e3emuproducts.com/EncapsulatedEggshell.html

    I hadn’t seen the website until just now, when looking at the bottle. They have some interesting products.

  5. Colleen 9 August 2010 at 11:17 pm #

    There was a recent medical warning about calcium supplements causing heart attacks in older women. I am older, and have osteoporosis, so began searching for an alternative. Eggshells seem to be the only answer, as all calcium supplements come from rocks. My question is, do you think soaking eggshells in vinegar is a good thing, or is it better to just eat it?
    Thank you for your post.

    • Brandon May 10 August 2010 at 12:13 am #

      I have heard about that warning Colleen. Also, too much calcium in the body, especially when it isn’t balanced out by magnesium and vitamin K, can lead to calcification in the arteries. Are you trying to soak your egg shells in vinegar to clean them? If so, that would be a great idea! I usually just used left over eggshells from hard-boiled eggs, so I know that their clean. Also, they come from a local, free range organic farm, so I know that makes them even better. I then allow them to dry (making sure to remove any excess egg white in the shell) and pulverize them to a powder consistency in the food processor.

      Thank you so much for you comment Colleen! I hope to know how well you do on your road to recovery, health and wellness. Keep me updated! :)

  6. Lauraina 21 August 2010 at 6:04 am #

    Hi, Brandon,

    I recently learned from a friend (who is a chef, he studied at a school that was all about food and nutrition) that if I put egg shells in vinegar then it will dissolve the egg shells. This also neutralizes the vinegar, so he then adds more vinegar and adds this concoction to salad dressings, which is a nice way to boost calcium intake. I guess that is what Colleen meant when she made the post about eggshells in vinegar.

    Cheers,
    Lauraina

    • Brandon May 22 August 2010 at 1:16 am #

      Thank you Lauraina. I never knew that. I’ll be trying that soon.

      -Brandon

  7. Dee 27 August 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    Hi Brandon,

    Great Blog! Making a powder with the eggshells sounds like a great idea. Another thing you can do with eggshells that I learned from Dr. David Williams newsletter is to make an eggshell broth. Instead of rinsing the eggshells (in order to retain the membrane which is good for the joints) I cover them with filtered water, add a splash of vinegar, and slowly simmer them for about 8 hours. Cool, discard the eggs and strain the water into glass jars. I then refrigerate and use the water for drinking a couple times a day. A splash of lemon makes it taste just fine. Dr. Williams adds bones to the eggshells when cooking then uses it as a stock for soup.

    • Brandon May 27 August 2010 at 2:57 pm #

      Wow Dee, thank you! I will definitely be looking into this doing this today.

  8. Sharon 31 July 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    I have been making my own eggshell calcium. I just love it, but I have been doing it for about a month and have not noticed it helping my nails like I thought it would. I did not soak the organic eggshells, I just dried them and ground them up with my vitamix and added a tspn to my smoothie each
    morning. I add a banana and other things. Is this form of calcium hard for
    the body to use?? I love the idea and will continue, I notice though my legs
    feel stronger so maybe if I was depleted it will take awhile to notice big changes. I make my own kefir and make a smoothie with the whey. I love my kefir and it is so great to know it is live. I like to stay with foods to create good health. It is a challenge and a joy. I am open to comments.

    • admin 31 July 2011 at 2:31 pm #

      Hi Sharon,

      When helping with nails, hair and skin, it’s also important to think about other nutrients beside calcium, like vitamin E, sulfur and protein. Omega-3 fats are also great for nails. You can find these nutrients in nuts and seeds (vitamin E), eggs (sulfur) and protein in a wide variety of different foods. The body can use this calcium quite well, but it also requires vitamin D (from the sun) in order to take into the bones and muscles. I hope this helps! Good luck on your journey to fantastic health.

      -Brandon

  9. jerry 9 July 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    Hi Brandon!

    I read you helpful article on eggshell. I gleened from it all that I could transferring information notes to my own file notes. I suffer with arthritis and a firm with a quick acting formula, when one reads the ingredients it reads NEM that is eggshell. And so I decided to do a search in order to look into a means of absorbing the goodness in eggshell quickly. Thank you for your kind help towards all the Net users out there.

    AS to you, Brandon, I did notice from your photograph that you do look thin.

    If you haven’t looked into these matters sources as yet may I suggest that you go to iherbs.com and look up various probiotics that can help. One new formulation that I have my eye on has 16 probiotics and sells for about $30, and has very good reviews.

    Also, there is a book ‘Food combining for health’ by Doris Grant that should be of good help to you.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jerry Mecham
    Perth, Western Australia

    • admin 13 July 2012 at 9:05 am #

      Thanks for you comment, Jerry! Thank you for all the information you provided me, and potential readers.

      Also, I see that you’re from Perth. What a wonderful, beautiful city that must be to live in. Have been wanting to visit for some time now. :)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Cat Care – The Best, The Easiest, The Most Natural | Cat Lovers - June 20, 2010

    [...] Eggshells – A Bioavailable Source of Calcium « [...]

  2. Healthy Bone Week, Day Two: Osteoporosis Drugs and Healthier Options « - August 6, 2010

    [...] P.S. Be sure to check out this video that I did on eggshells and how you can use them in your diet for a bioavailble source of calcium. If you don’t consume dairy products, local, free range and organic egg shells may be a good option. You can also read the blog post about eggshells I did here. [...]

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