Can you eat an eggshell? (3 Things to know)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, Can you eat an eggshell? We will discuss whether it is safe for a person to eat an eggshell as a calcium source and the right way to make eggshells a source of calcium. 

Can you eat an eggshell?

You can eat an eggshell. Consuming eggshells is considered safe if taken in controlled amounts and can help greatly in calcium deficiencies. The calcium carbonate in eggshells reacts with hydrochloric acid in the stomach to make calcium and carbon dioxide. Eggshells can be a natural and cheaper substitute for calcium supplements. Apart from being calcium-rich, eggshells also contain several minerals like strontium, fluoride, magnesium, and selenium which all help to maintain good bone health.

What is the eggshell made of?

An eggshell is the hard outer covering of an egg made up of mainly Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3), proteins, and some other minerals. A thin layer on the eggshell is called bloom or cuticle, while there is another layer or membrane that keeps the contents inside safe. The bloom keeps bacteria and dust away from the eggshell. 

The eggshell has a bumpy and grainy surface because of pores that run across it. The eggshell has over 17000 pores. Despite its seemingly tough surface, the eggshell is semi-permeable; it allows the exchange of air and moisture to and from the environment. 

How to use eggshells?

For anyone looking to increase the intake of calcium in their diet will go towards calcium supplements. Instead, half an eggshell can help with calcium deficiencies as studies show that naturally occurring calcium carbonate is more effective. It can improve joint health and even illnesses like osteoporosis due to its high calcium content.

Other than making your bones strong, eggshells are also proven to remineralize the enamel of teeth.

What are the risks involved when eating an eggshell?

Firstly, you shouldn’t be eating large chunks of eggshells as their sharp edges might hurt your throat. The correct way would be to make it into a fine powder and consume it according to your requirement.

Secondly, raw eggs can give you Salmonella so the eggshell used must be from a boiled egg or if shells from raw eggs are used then they should be thoroughly washed and heat-treated at 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thirdly, eggshells contain toxic metals like lead, aluminum, cadmium, and mercury. Although chicken eggs have the least amount of these toxic metals and so it is safe for consumption.

Lastly, you should be consuming the right amount of calcium because too much of this mineral may cause kidney damage and other health issues. Use a kitchen scale to measure how many grams are needed for your diet. 

Can you eat eggshell membrane?

Apart from having large amounts of calcium, the eggshell also has a thin membrane that is visible when you boil an egg. This membrane is mainly composed of the protein collagen and regular intake of it may improve joint health. When preparing eggshell powder you can leave its membrane in.

The membrane of an eggshell has anti-inflammatory properties and can help in joint connective tissue disorders like arthritis and lupus. Medications for these illnesses have side effects like gastrointestinal problems and cardiac risks.

How to consume eggshells?

  • Take the eggshell of a boiled egg and dry it before making it into a fine powder using a pestle and mortar or a blender.
  •  Sieve the powder to get rid of any chunks. 
  • An adult requires about 2.5 grams of calcium which is half an eggshell, in a day you can measure the grams needed using a kitchen scale. 
  • The powder can be added to juices, yogurt, bread, or even pizza and you will not be able to taste it.
  • Although, you should control your intake of calcium supplements even in the form of an eggshell and talk to your physician before taking it.

Do you need calcium supplements?

Some individuals are more prone to being calcium deficient. For the best advice, you should consult a health practitioner.  Postmenopausal women, people who take corticosteroids, and those who have a vegan diet are at risk of being calcium deficit. 

Other individuals who have osteoporosis, Crohn’s disease, or bowel inflammatory disease may also need calcium supplements in their diet. 

You need to watch the intake of calcium in your body, an excess dose can bring more harm than good. The body needs 1000-1200 mg of calcium in a day. 

If your body gets excessive amounts of calcium it can cause the body to have constipation, hypercalcemia, calcium build up in the tissue, and as well hinder the absorbance of other minerals including iron and zinc.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question, Can you eat an eggshell? We discussed whether it is safe for a person to eat an eggshell as a calcium source and the right way to make eggshells a source of calcium. 

Citations

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/eggshells-benefits-and-risks
https://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/eggs/eggcomposition.html
https://www.bhg.com.au/how-to-prepare-and-eat-eggshells
https://www.myrecipes.com/extracrispy/can-you-eat-eggshells#:~:text=Yes%2C%20you%20read%20that%20right,to%20increase%20your%20calcium%20intake.&text=Crushing%20up%20eggshells%20into%20a,pleasant%20way%20to%20eat%20eggshells.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.