The amount of research demonstrating the benefits of physical activity to body and mind is staggering. Recently, a team of experts in movement science referred to physical activity as a “super-drug” for the prevention and treatment of chronic medical conditions1. Who could argue this truth? I see it every day in my transformational consulting practice.
There are many barriers to physical activity, including the perception that there is “no time”, or engaging in exercise that doesn’t provide the critical “feel good” payoff that fuels the desire for further exercise. Many a shiny new treadmill in North America subsequently becomes a place to deposit clothes, for that very reason.
Discomfort in the joints also puts a real damper on the desire to be active. Up to one-third of all visits to a primary care doctor involve some sort of musculoskeletal complaint, and a bulk of those complaints are directed at knee and shoulder discomfort2. These can run the gamut from mild “weekend warrior”-type complaints to full-on osteoarthritis. Although there may be many causes and mechanisms surrounding different types of joint discomfort, there is a common thread – chronic inflammation.
The story of chronic, low-grade inflammation is a story of the immune system, as well as physical and nutrition, and all three are connected. Sedentary behavior and unhealthy dietary choices can ratchet-up low-grade inflammation, including the production of pain-promoting and mood-compromising immune chemicals called cytokines. In my new book, Your Health Destiny (HarperOne, 2015), I underscore that just the right amount and type of exercise is critical to healthy immune system functioning.
Dietary choices also go a long way towards reducing the low-grade inflammation that contributes to compromised health. Whole foods, deeply-colored greens, berries, spices such as turmeric (with its well-known anti-inflammatory chemical called curcumin), omega-3 essential fats, and fermented foods are all part of my plan. I also make specific reference to an anti-inflammatory food that is often overlooked – eggs. For various unfounded reasons, healthcare practitioners once scared patients away from eggs. Then the research shifted to say that it’s “safe” to eat eggs. We now know that eggs can actually have anti-inflammatory properties; human research shows that daily egg consumption can curb the aforementioned cytokines that cause so many problems3.
There is also remarkable research concerning the ability of the egg membrane (also called the eggshell membrane) to significantly reduce inflammation4-6. The egg membrane sits between the shell and the egg white; visibly, if you cracked open an egg, it is the shiny part that sticks to the inner part of the shell. Although researchers aren’t sure precisely how the egg membrane reduces inflammation, research suggests that the natural chemical constituents such as collagen, elastin, transforming growth factor, glycosaminoglycans, desmosine, and indodesmosine are involved in immune system signaling.
Emerging clinical studies report impressive results when egg membrane powder is orally consumed, with improvements in overall pain, joint discomfort and range of motion being noted quickly, sometimes within days7-9. Pain relief supplements from Genuine Health are unique in that they contain the most potent form of eggshell membrane: BiovaFlex® that provides results in just 5 days: 2 days faster than other eggshell membrane products – making it the fastest and most effective natural pain relieving ingredient on the market.” Not only do these formulas relieve pain, they help to restore the structural integrity of the joints, and are safe with no side-effects. For these reason, I advocate these supplements as part of my anti-inflammatory diet plan.*
*Although egg membrane has been the subject of safety and toxicology testing10, I also underscore that supplements consumed for specific medical conditions, and to rule out allergies/contraindications, should be under the recommendation of a healthcare provider.
Eva M. Selhub is lecturer in medicine at Harvard Medical School and operates a private practice as a comprehensive medical specialist and transformation consultant. She is author of Your Health Destiny (HarperOne, 2015).
1. Adapted Physical Activity for the Promotion of Health and the Prevention of Multifactorial Chronic Diseases: the Erice Charter. Romano-Spica V, Macini P, Fara GM, Giammanco G; GSMS – Working Group on Movement Sciences. Ann Ig. 2015 Mar-Apr;27(2):406-14.
2. Hong E, Kraft MC. Evaluating anterior knee pain. Med Clin North Am. 2014 Jul;98(4):697-717, xi.
3. Ballesteros MN, Valenzuela F, Robles AE, Artalejo E, Aguilar D, Andersen CJ, Valdez H, Fernandez ML. One Egg per Day Improves Inflammation when Compared to an Oatmeal-Based Breakfast without Increasing Other Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Diabetic Patients. Nutrients. 2015 May 11;7(5):3449-63.
4. Benson KF, Ruff KJ, Jensen GS. Effects of natural eggshell membrane (NEM) on cytokine production in cultures of peripheral blood mononuclear cells: increased suppression of tumor necrosis factor-α levels after in vitro digestion. J Med Food. 2012 Apr;15(4):360-8.
5. Shi Y, Kovacs-Nolan J, Jiang B, Tsao R, Mine Y. Peptides derived from eggshell membrane improve antioxidant enzyme activity and glutathione synthesis against oxidative damage in Caco-2 cells. J Med Food 2014;11:571-80.
6. Shi Y, Rupa P, Jiang B, Mine Y. Hydrolysate from eggshell membrane ameliorates intestinal inflammation in mice. Int J Mol Sci. 2014 Dec 9;15(12):22728-42.
7. Ruff KJ, DeVore DP, Leu MD, Robinson MA. Eggshell membrane: a possible new natural therapeutic for joint and connective tissue disorders. Results from two open-label human clinical studies. Clin Interv Aging. 2009;4:235-40.
8. Ruff KJ, Winkler A, Jackson RW, DeVore DP, Ritz BW. Eggshell membrane in the treatment of pain and stiffness from osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study. Clin Rheumatol. 2009 Aug;28(8):907-14.
9. Danesch U, Seybold M, Rittinghausen R, Treibel W, Bitterlich N. NEM brand eggshell membrane effective in the treatment of pain associated with knee and hip osteoarthritis: results from a six center, open-label German clinical study. J Arthritis 2014;3:3.
10. Ruff KJ, Endres JR, Clewell AE, Szabo JR, Schauss AG. Safety evaluation of a natural eggshell membrane-derived product. Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Mar;50(3-4):604-11