Natural eggshell membrane (NEM®) is a supplement that is derived from hen eggshell membrane. It contains naturally occurring glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and proteins, that are useful for maintaining healthy articular cartilage and surrounding synovium and connective tissue. Studies have demonstrated that NEM® can improve symptoms of pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis (OA) within 7–10 days of starting supplementation.
A very recent independent, multicenter, randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study corroborates these previous findings. The study was conducted across 8 different university medical centres and a total of 166 patients (male, 32; females, 134; age ≥ 40 years) with grade 2 or 3 OA of the knee for 1-5 years participated.
The study researchers employed the Likert version of the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) questionnaire. A lower score on any WOMAC scale denotes a better outcome. The study patients were randomized to receive either NEM® (n=83) 500 mg once daily or placebo (n=83) for a duration of 30 days. the placebo group at the end of 30 days crossed over (remaining blinded) and were supplemented with NEM® (500 mg) for an additional 60 days.
Significant reductions in WOMAC-stiffness at day 7 (P=0.034 vs. placebo) and WOMAC-total (P=0.004), WOMAC-pain (P=0.023), WOMAC-stiffness (P=0.001), and WOMAC-function (P=0.001) at day 30 (vs. placebo) were observed in patients supplemented with NEM®. In addition, the 90-day NEM® supplemented group had larger proportion of patients (48%, P=0.022) experiencing greater decreases (≥ 20%) in WOMAC-pain compared to the 60-day NEM group (30%). The study reported no serious adverse events in the NEM® supplemented group.
This is the largest study to date conducted to evaluate NEM® for grade 2 and 3 knee OA. The study has observed persistence of clinically meaningful benefits for 90 days. Given the current substantial evidence, NEM® could be considered as a valuable, safe, natural supplement for the management of knee OA.
Eskiyurt, N., et al. J Arthritis 8: 285.