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Discussion Starter #1
On the advice of Gatorbytes about a year ago, I started giving a supplement with Natural Eggshell Membrane (NEM) to my old dog. I started with the Fast-Jointcare-Plus brand and eventually shifted to Vitacost's brand. I've been very pleased with how it's helped, and I've very glad to have learned about it on this forum.

I think it's an under-appreciated supplement for seniors. There's a good video about NEM on Mercola's site here (though I don't use their brand of supplement):
Pet Joint Supplements | Healthy Joint Support - Mercola.com

I've recently been pondering whether I could just pull out the membranes from eggs we eat and save the membranes to feed to him. I have been saving eggshells with the membranes still in them in a zippie-bag in the freezer with this in mind, so I've got a bunch of them.

So....does anyone have any thoughts on whether I should just give the membranes to him as is? Would baking/steaming degrade the bioactive ingredients? Any thoughts on how many at a time?
 

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I bake the egg shells to add to Banshee's food. You have to bake htem to dry them out enough to grind. If you do this, you have to take into account the extra calcium you are adding to his food.

So you've seen good results on this? We give Banshee Dasuquin but the arthritis is in her back, not her joints so not sure how much good it's doing her.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yep, it's one of the supplements I think helped make a difference. We're doing a lot else (incl. adequan), but the vet thinks the supplements are probably at least a third of the benefit we're seeing. Of course it's all anecdotal --all I can say is tings just got better when it was added to the supplement list.

I feed good-quality kibble (Fromm), so I wasn't thinking of using the entire egg shell, thinking it might throw off the calcium/phosphorus ratio in the food. I was just going to pull out the little membrane clinging inside it and toss the rest of the ground shells out in the garden. Do you think there's a benefit to feeding the shell too? I recall reading that you learned from Carmen that they are bioavailable (good) sources of calcium, as opposed to the "rocks" in calcium pills -- which I found very interesting.
 

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There is a benefit if the dog needs calcium but I don't see one if they are on a balanced diet already. I"m not sure what to much calcium can do to the system as a whole. I use it in Banshee's food due to her CRF since she can't have bone.

How to you extract the membrane from the shell? I've never tried it. We save all our shells, for Boo and to put in with our tomatoes next year.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If you look at the cracked shell, there's a little skin on the inside of it after the egg content is out. I *think* that's the part of the egg they extract the NEM out of.

I noticed that after the empty shells were frozen, that inner membrane actually starts to peel away from the shell on its own--you can pull it out in little pieces. Seeing it peeling from the shell is what got me thinking about this.

It might also be that dunking the empty shells quickly in a hot water bath might help the membrane separate (like a tomato skin) -- haven't tried that technique yet, just hypothesizing here.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Oh, wow! That's very cool. Great find! The capsule is definitely a powder. I would bet they pasteurize it or otherwise process to remove pathogens.

I have a dehydrator, but I'm thinking it may not need to be ground up--just toss bits of it in with the meal? Store in a jar in the fridge, or in the freezer?

What do you think about the salmonella risk of raw egg for a senior?
 

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I think I feed raw eggs all the time and never had a problem. :) Salmonella is on the shell. So wash the shell if you are concerned. I freeze the shells while saving them and then bake them. Never had an issue feeding to my senior.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I'm finding that the membrane itself actually possesses antibacterial properties. Here's one article reporting experiments testing the antibacterial quality in China (bacteria couldn't attach to the membrane in its natural state, until it was degraded chemically or with autoclave):
Soluble eggshell mebrane protein: Antibacterial property and biodegradability - Springer

Some people use it as a kind of natural wound dressing, which also makes sense with the antibac aspect:
Don't Throw Away Those Egg Shells! : Historic Downtown Farmers and Artists Market.

By the way, here's more on NEM and arthritis:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/554518-egg-shell-membrane-for-joints/
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm thinking it can't hurt. It's just food.

This CDC paper says that after separation, the eggshell membrane "then partially hydrolyzed using a proprietary process and dry-blended to produce 100% pure Natural Eggshell Membrane (NEM®) powder."

Eggshell membrane: A possible new natural therapeutic for joint and connective tissue disorders. Results from two open-label human clinical studies

Sounds like they soak it in water, blend it and grind it--but I'm almost certainly oversimplifying. I'm not seeing any reason not to try it though.
 

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That's interesting. I have local eggs right now and I can peel the membrane right out of them. I give Rafi a raw egg (sans shell) every day. I guess I'll start adding in the membrane too!
 

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Banshee already gets it when we grind the egg shells. I wonder if baking it degrades the properties in any way.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Banshee already gets it when we grind the egg shells. I wonder if baking it degrades the properties in any way.
I couldn't find anything about it for NEM (other than the autoclave destroying the antibac property, but that's not the property we're interested in).

I did, however, go and look to see about the effect of heat on hyaluronic acid, which NEM is rich in and is likely one reason it's so helpful for joints. I found that heat degrades hyaluronic acid (here's an example of that claim:
Patent WO2012089537A1 - Hyaluronic acid compositions stabilised against the degrading effect of heat ... - Google Patents ). That leads me to infer heat likely would degrade the bioactive components of the NEM.
 

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I would imagine that heating it would not be good. What is the source of the powdered membranes? Rafi gets humanely raised, antibiotic-free eggs. The ones I have now are also organic and free range. I pulled it out of my egg this morning and fed it to him. How many per day could I give him? HE eats one egg per day and I eat one egg per day.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
My guess is that your organic eggs are probably better than the source in the capsules -- I would bet the supplement factories are getting waste eggs and eggshells for commercial mfr purposes to create large quantities of powdered NEM for the market. Of course, that's just a guess based on the economics of it--I have no way of knowing.

The doseage in the NEM capsules is 500 mg. If the membrane is dried out, maybe put it on a food scale? If not, I'd likely be inclined to just give the dog the 2 membranes a day you have.

This is all a bit of a guessing game, since I can't find anything about just feeding the membranes themselves instead of the supplement -- all the literature uses the supplement. It just really makes sense that you could get the benefit of the supplement from the food from which the supplement is made -- like eating cranberries instead of taking a cranberry capsule!
 

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Interesting information - thanks.

We feed raw free range chicken (and occasionally duck) eggs all the time. I've always given the whole egg, shell and all. For the shells w/membrane one boy will just eat them if I crush them a little with my fingers when cracking the egg open. The others I usually just set the shells up to dry overnight. No need to bake them to get them dry enough. Then I grind them up to a powder and toss in the food dish.

This is what I use to grind the shells w/membranes;

DSCF9549 by BlackDogsPhoto, on Flickr

This is the consistency when I feed it but I'm sure I could grind to powder;

DSCF9548 by BlackDogsPhoto, on Flickr
 

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Thanks Vinnie! I"m sure that would grind into a powder with a coffee grinder. Maybe I'll start doing that for Banshee.
 
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