Calcium is one of the most abundant minerals in the body. It is not only important for bone health but also is responsible for our heartbeat, nerve impulses, blood clotting, and hormone secretions. The human body does not make calcium, and expends as much as 100 mg a day through our skin, nail, hair, and sweat. (1)
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that women over 50 take 1200 mg of calcium a day. Excess calcium can cause numerous problems in the body especially if calcium is not accompanied by magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K2. These nutrients help keep the body in balance and prevent calcium buildup in the coronary arteries. (1)
Health risks increase when consuming calcium supplements in the form of limestone, oyster shell and bone meal. This risk continues to multiply if the body is not getting the necessary vitamin K2. If the body has excess calcium, the kidneys have to work harder to remove the calcium, creating an increased risk of artery calcification in those who suffer from low kidney function. (1)
Excess calcium can lead to numerous health problems that are prevalent in today’s society
Medical problems associated to excess calcium include: kidney stones, Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, hypothyroidism, colon cancer and Crohn’s disease. Learning to supplement calcium in a healthy way, will provide the body necessary nutrients to function, but eliminate the risks that occur from following mainstream calcium recommendations. (1)
Gaining nutrients from food sources is the best way to provide the body necessary nutrition in its natural form. Supplements do not make up for eating a poor quality diet. One study found that women who received their daily calcium from food sources had healthier bones and greater bone density. (2)
Study shows that receiving calcium from food sources like eggshells produces healthier bones!
A 2003 study highlighted eggshell powder as a natural source of calcium, strontium and fluorine and found that it has a positive effect on bone metabolism. Prior studies found that eggshell powder was effective in combating rickets, improving cartilage growth, reducing pain, and protecting against the breakdown of bone. (3)
Taking calcium carbonate in the form of powdered eggshell has been shown in studies to be better than food grade purified calcium carbonate. Clinical studies are showing that eggshell powder not only has a positive impact on bone and cartilage, but also helps prevent and treat osteoporosis. (3)
Several studies show that eggshell powder is better than food grade purified calcium carbonate and not only prevents osteoporosis but can treat it!
In 1881 and 1882, Dutch scientist, von Nathusius published analyses of eggshells produced by various birds. Very early in the study it was found that the shells were composed of 97 percent calcium carbonate. (4)
Consuming eggshells may be new to some people but animals will inherently seek out egg shells as a calcium source. Chickens need high quantities of calcium for their body to build and lay one egg. It is not uncommon to see chickens eat their own eggs as a way to replenish their calcium needs. Feeding animal’s powdered eggshells is a great way to assure that their calcium needs are being met. Many pet foods contain oyster shells and limestone for calcium supplementation, but animals prefer a more natural and sustainable source. (5)
Eggshell powder consumption FAQ
For many households, consuming eggshell powder may be a new concept, prompting several questions. Frequently asked questions include:
Can I feed my pets eggshells?: Traditionally dogs and cats would eat eggs from a birds nests without worry or concern about choking on eggshells. Domesticated animals may not have the same access to nests and therefore seeing an animal eat an eggshell can produce frightening thoughts of a beloved pet choking. Eggs are nature’s perfect food and an excellent source of calcium and protein for your pet. Sprinkling a half a teaspoon of crushed eggshell on your pet’s food can help them develop strong bones and teeth. (6)
Are eggshells safe for human consumption?: Absolutely! Several different studies have assessed whether eggshells are a viable source of calcium for humans. One study even compares the nutritional components of eggshells raised from caged, organic and pastured eggs compared to mainstream calcium supplements. (7) Another study evaluated hip bone mass density of post-menopausal Dutch women. The study concluded that one year of consuming eggshell powder increased bone density in post-menopausal women. (8)
Are eggshells a good source of calcium for humans?: Not only are eggshells a good source of calcium but they are also a good source of strontium and fluorine. Strontium increases bone formation and prevents bone loss associated with osteoporosis. (9) Fluorine increase bone density, fights infections and reduces tooth decay. (10)
Eggshells vs. oyster shells for calcium supplementation?: Commercial calcium supplements are often made of dolomite, oyster shell and bone meal. These supplements often contain metals and lead. Calcium supplements made of calcium phosphate, calcium lactate and calcium gluconate contain very small amounts of calcium. (11) Studies show that eggshell powder is better than food grade purified calcium carbonate! (3)
What happens in the body after consuming eggshells?: There should be no obvious effect after consuming ground eggshells. The eggshells will go through the digestive process as it does any other whole food item, taking nutrients from the shells and processing the nutrients throughout the body. Some suggest that you should never consume more than 1 tsp. of eggshell powder per day or it may irritate sensitive digestive tracks. (12)
How to make and use eggshell powder?: You can grind eggshells wet or dry. To grind them wet: use a blender and fill the blender with eggshells and then fill half way up the eggshells with water. Blend and then drain. To grind dry: You can either leave shells sitting out until thoroughly dry or you can bake them for 10 minutes at 200 degrees Fahrenheit (or longer at a lower temperature in a dehydrator). Once eggs are perfectly dry, place in a coffee grinder and grind to a powder. According to sources, you should consume 1 tsp. of powder daily, divided up amongst meals. You can mix a small amount with water or a smoothie or even add into foods such as bread, pizza, soup or spaghetti. (12)
Are there other food sources for calcium carbonate?: If eating eggshell powder is outside of your comfort zone, there are other food sources for calcium. Raw milk and cheese from grass fed animals, leafy green veggies, the pit of citrus fruits, carob, sesame seeds and wheatgrass are all good sources of calcium. (1)
How to use eggshells in compost?: Adding eggshells to compost will help build calcium in the soil. Without calcium, plants do not grow as fast, and vegetables such as tomatoes and squash can develop blossom rot. Crushing the eggshells before composting will speed up the break down in the compost. (13)
Other uses for eggshells?: Eggshell powder is good to have on hand to use for an abrasive cleaner for pots and pans or other household cleaning projects. Be cautious not to use on surfaces that scratch easily. Eggshell powder is perfect for cleaning cast iron skillets or glass casserole dishes. Adding eggshell powder to your soil is not only good for plants but slugs and cutworms don’t like it and will therefore leave your plants alone. You can also add eggshell powder to your coffee grounds to cut down the acidity of your coffee and make your coffee sweeter. (14)
There are numerous benefits to using eggshell powder. Instead of discarding your shells, keep them and incorporate them into your diet and daily life.
Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. SUBSCRIBE here to get more from Raw Michelle!
Sources for this article include: