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Chicken eggs are healthy, but did you know that eggshells have health benefits also? Through the years I have frequently given my four Weimereiners and Bassador (half Bassett hound and half Labrador—quite a specimen) hard boiled eggs including their shell. I never realized the true value of the shell and shell membrane.

NEM® is a dietary supplement ingredient derived from chicken eggshells that contains naturally occurring glycosaminoglycans, proteins and other nutrients necessary to maintain good health to joints. There is published clinical research that shows that NEM helps improve joint flexibility and comfort within 7–10 days.

There are other dietary supplements found on the Internet, in health food stores and in the mass market that make claims of reduced pain and stiffness in joints quickly, but many products do not have credible scientific substantiation to support their statements.

Many people feel tight in their back or legs, and have a hard time getting up in the morning or out of a chair because of the loss of flexibility. It may be caused by injury or the wear and tear on joints produced by inflammation. Intense athletic sports with injuries can also pose many joint problems. Athletes experience wear and tear from exhaustive workloads, and can also benefit with supplements that can help nourish joints.

With proper education, motivation and making lifestyle and dietary changes, the body can increase flexibility and mobility with a greater range of motion. Joint renewal is possible. Exercise, good nutrition and the use of dietary supplements that complement a healthy diet are helpful to rejuvenate the body and bring life to the joints.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON JOINTS AND CARTILAGE The bone surfaces that touch each other are surrounded by articular cartilage and synovial fluid bathes them. There are cells in the cartilage called chondrocytes, which help to repair and regenerate the cartilage. Smooth articular cartilage and free flowing fluid helps the joints to move with ease. Glycosaminoglycans are a complex mix of carbohydrates and proteins found within joint cartilage, joint fluid and connective tissue. These glycosaminoglycans provide the building material for the chondrocytes to rebuild from damaged tissue.

The wear and tear that occurs with joint injuries can increase the amount of fluid in the joints, increasing swelling and pain. In addition, weak muscles can further deteriorate the joints and friction begins to occur between the bones causing them to reduce their ability to slide smoothly. Without thinking, many Americans pop a pain reliever and rub in some medicated ointment without considering alternative ways to reduce inflammation such as exercise, change in diet or supplements to support their health. If you have joint problems, it may be a good time to regroup and reevaluate your situation and look at all that you are doing that effects your joints negatively or positively.

NEM may be unfamiliar to many consumers, but its obtained from a very well-known food source—chicken eggs. Eggs are amazing since they contain many important nutrients including complete protein. The eggshell membrane is connective tissue and also contains rich compounds for joint health such as glycosaminoglycans (including glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid), collagen, calcium, proteins and amino acids. NEM comes from eggshells processed at USDAinspected

facilities with strict standards and the ability to trace the eggs back to their original farms. Investigating the value of eggshells and observing their rich source of nutrients lead scientists to believe that they could improve health in humans. Using natural eggshells also helps the economy and with the reduction of waste, since Americans have been shown to dispose of over 600,000 tons of eggshells every year with most tossed into landfills taking up precious space.

After the original investigation, open-label human trials were initiated to evaluate the efficacy and safety of NEM in patients with joint and connective tissue disorders. One study showed a significant improvement at seven days from baseline measures in flexibility and at 30 days for general pain. There were no adverse reactions that occurred during the study. Research continued with a double arm, open label human trial. In this study, patients were observed to have a significant reduction in pain at seven days and the treatment response continued through the 30 days of the study. Again, there were no adverse effects and the eggshell product was well tolerated by the patients. These results increased the researcher’s confidence to conduct a follow-up clinical study.

An eight week randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of NEM for the relief of the pain and stiffness associated with moderate osteoarthritis of the knee was performed. Sixty seven patients received either NEM at 500 mg daily, or a placebo for two months. Evaluation was done with the Western Ontario and McMasters Universities (WOMAC) Osteoarthritis Index along with pain and stiffness.

The WOMAC assessment is a questionnaire with questions related to the severity of joint pain, joint stiffness, and questions associated with the ability to perform certain physical activities. The end results were compared to baseline measures (before treatment with NEM was initiated) and to the placebo group.

The WOMAC assessment is a measurement that has been validated, reliable and a well-respected tool for the evaluation of clinically important changes in health status. The results of the study demonstrated a significant improvement in pain and stiffness within 10 days and lasted through the 60 days of the study. In addition there were no significant adverse effects reported from taking NEM.

Safety research has been performed including an LD50, which shows no adverse effects using high doses in animals. Also, research shows that there is no cytotoxic or mutagenic effects. Another study showed that NEM had no potential for allergic skin contact sensitivity in humans.

The most common glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements currently sold on the market have research to support their use. Although, the Glucosamine Unum In Die (once-a-day) Efficacy (GUIDE) trial with 318 patients in a sixmonth European trial demonstrated a small five to six percent improvement in the total WOMAC Index score over placebo for glucosamine sulfate. There was a glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) that included 1,583 patients over a six-month trial, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This study did not show any significant improvement in the WOMAC Osteoarthritis Index in the overall patient population for glucosamine, chondroitin, or their combination.


The Exercise Factor
A key factor for joint health is exercise with permission from a health care practitioner. Well-respected medical and research institutes including the Mayo Clinic conclude that arthritis patients need to exercise to improve joint flexibility and strength.

It may be mentally challenging to think about an exercise routine when you are not feeling well and are fatigued, but making a plan one step at a time will help. Make an appointment with yourself and write out a plan. Confirm with your doctor that it is a good approach. Exercise also helps to relieve tension and anxiety, which will really help.

Many people think that exercise will worsen joint stiffness and pain, but that is not the case. It is the lack of exercise that can make joints stiffer because the muscles surrounding tissue need to be strong to bring support to the bones and joints. A greater amount of stress is added to joints when muscles are weak and not toned.

Diet is so important, although a person with aching joints will normally not see an immediate improvement. More vegetables and fruits, less saturated and trans fat, reducing red meats and increasing omega-3 fatty acids is beneficial. Increasing the ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids in the diet changes the inflammatory chemical pathway reducing inflammation. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, mackerel, halibut, tuna, lake trout and soybeans, tofu, flax seed oil, and walnuts.

Investigate the research on the dietary supplements that have research to support joints. You can find research free online at It may be time to change your mind set and get motivated about changing the health status of your joints. Begin a new day setting time to investigate all that you can do to improve your joints since you have a life ahead of you to play and enjoy movement. Diet, exercise and supplements such as NEM to support a healthy diet can help make a major difference in your life.

Judi Quilici-Timmcke, MS

Judi holds a Master's Degree in Dietetics and Exercise Physiology. She was in private practice , as a clinical nutritionist for 12 years in Colorado, including 2 1/2 years for the University of Colorado - Boulder's Human Performance Lab.

She presently operates as a technical consultant for companies in the dietary supplement industry. She performs exhaustive literature reviews on dietary supplements, writes third party scientific reports, formulates products, writes structure/function, gives scientific and educational presentations and investigates opportunities for new and unique ingredients. She has been appointed as a scientist for the AMC Cancer Center in Denver, Colorado, supporting their nutrition research. She also writes nutrition articles for magazines, completed the book New Nutrients Against Cancer and a second with Dr. Tom Slaga on Calcium D-Glucarate. She currently speaks on various nutrition topics on Channel 29 (FOX) News in Florida every week and regularly on radio programs.