Pain is one of the most frequently mentioned words in the offices of North American medical centers. All Canadians have experience with acute pain at one time or another; from cuts and bruises to belly aches, minor aches come, and thankfully, they go. But then there is chronic pain…
Among the chronic pain conditions, joint pain is exceedingly common. This runs the gamut from joint discomfort experienced by active “weekend warriors” to the overwhelming numbers of North Americans living with osteoarthritis. In fact, osteoarthritis, which typically sets its course in those 40+ will be experienced by 1/3 of those 65 years or older, and by almost everyone in their 70s.
With good reason many consumers are interested in natural health product solutions to address joint pain, and Eggshell membrane (EM) represents one of the most effective natural health products used for joint care. EM is a mesh-like material that sits between the hard shell and the egg white. It acts like a shock absorber, much like the way cartilage works in our own joints. Indeed, the eggshell membrane is a rich source of collagen structures, and the small protein units (peptides) that are found in our own joints.
Research involving eggshell membrane showed that it can reduce the pain of general joint discomfort by 73%. In the placebo-controlled trial involving patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, EM supplementation significantly reduced pain. The researchers concluded that an individual taking EM would be 5 times more likely to experience a 50% improvement in pain compared to glucosamine. Additional clinical research continues to support EM as an effective joint care supplement.
Scientists have made some strides in understanding “how” and “why” EM works. As much as the constituents of EM might resemble those in human cartilage, it would be impossible to rebuild and restore lost or damaged cartilage in just a matter of days. It turns out that EM has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Health Canada allows for the claim “helps to reduce blood C reactive protein levels, a clinical marker of inflammation” for an EM blend called BiovaFlex®. Unlike other Eggshell membranes that have been effective in about 7 days, there is a more rapid response to BiovaFlex® – with a clinical reduction in pain noted in just 5 days. This may be due to its high concentration of water-soluble bioactive peptides, collagen, elastin, desmosine, isodesmosine, glycosaminoglycans, and transforming growth factor. Some of these constituents may dampen pain signalling.
Importantly, the water-soluble bioactive peptides found in BiovaFlex® have been shown to influence quality of life. Reducing pain should translate into a return to normal, enjoyable activities! Researchers concluded that “daily consumption of 450 mg water-soluble eggshell membrane was associated with improved joint function, comfort during daily activities and increased physical activity”. Put simply, the study participants could once again do whatever they loved doing – in only 5 days!
Chronic pain should always be evaluated by medical professionals. There are many natural health product choices that can be effective in reducing pain and improving quality of life. For more information, visit the website Health Canada’s Natural and Non-Prescription Directorate (www.hc-sc.gc.ca) or see your healthcare provider.
Tracey M. Beaulne is a naturopathic doctor and Director of The Tummy Clinic in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. www.thetummyclinic.com
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