New publication: Relieving pain in arthritis patients

Egg shell membrane is the film lining the inside of the shell

Osteo-arthritis (OA) is a painful and disabling inflammation of joints. Although there is no cure for this condition, food supplements may produce pain relief. Evidence for this was published recently in the Journal of Medicinal Food in an open-access article in which Applegg participated.

The Question

  • OA of the knee affects approximately 10% of men and 20% of women above the age of 60.
  • As no definitive cure exists, treatment mainly consists of pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy.
  • Egg-shell membrane is the thin white film that appears when peeling an egg. It is a rich source of precursors for the repair of tissue damaged by OA.

Q: Is egg shell membrane  a nutritional remedy for AO?

The Experiment

Applegg and JLK Nutrition performed a placebo-controlled, double-blind investigation into the benefits of egg shell membrane (Eggbrane®, DEPP BV, The Netherlands) for the relief of pain caused by knee-OA. Of 150 OA patients, a random selection of 75 consumed a daily capsule with egg shell membrane. The remaining 75 patients consumed the same capsule filled with a placebo.

Over a period of 84 days, patients regularly completed two Pain rating scales:

  1. A simple numerical pain rating scale to score the general impression of the pain experienced during the past day, and
  2. The Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Scores scale, a collection of questions that address knee pain and discomfort experienced during specified activities.

To save OA patients from commuting to a central location, they could produce ratings at home on tablets, smart phones or computers using Applegg’s online in-home use test technology.

Results: The combination of 2 rating scales proved essential for a full understanding of pain relief and patients’ response behavior: The specific KOOS questions showed that egg shell membrane caused a long-lasting quality of life improvement during various daily-life activities (see Figure) and sports. This demonstrates the clear benefit of supplementing the diet with egg shell membrane.

Remarkably, this effect was not present in the generic numerical Pain ratings. Instead, these ratings showed a placebo effect: a gradual pain decline for both groups. Apparently, pain is easier recalled and reported when questions refer to specific pain in specific situations.

Improved quality of life after egg shell membrane use

Conclusions

  • Daily ingestion of 300 mg mildly processed egg shell membrane reliefs complaints caused by arthrosis of the knee joint. The effect is consistent and long-lasting.
  • The study demonstrates the feasibility of performing online ingredient-effect studies with physically disabled subjects.
  • Even when ingredient effects exist, experimental evidence depends on the quality of the (online) test

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