Don't throw away all those minerals - use them!

Citric acid to extract calcium

A cheap way to boost bones, skin elasticity and joints

Eggshells are made out of 19 minerals and the inner egg membrane is rich in collagen. So ideally, consuming them will be good for your bones and joints. The most abundant mineral is calcium and it is easy to make a good calcium citrate supplement out of them. Calcium citrate is one of the most popular forms of calcium to take because it is more acidic and thus able to bond to the cells that transport it to the bone tissue. It is no good just grinding up the eggshells because they will be too alkaline and will behave like an antacid instead. For people who suffer from weakening bones (osteoporosis) there may already be a problem with insufficient hydrochloric acid in the stomach. This is why extracting calcium from eggshells using vinegar, lemon juice, vitamin C or citric acid makes perfect sense. 

How much calcium would be needed?

Three eggshells will deliver enough calcium to meet your daily requirements for a week. On average it will provide about 7 x 250 mg doses of elemental calcium. It will also make other minerals that are present in our bones and teeth such as magnesium, boron, copper, manganese, molybdenum, sulphur, silicon and zinc available to us.



Why do we include the membrane?

The eggshell membrane is made out of collagen for connective tissue support and sagging skin, glucosamine and chondroitin to build cartilage in joints and hyaluronic acid - a substance that draws moisture into the joints and skin. Hyaluronic acid and collagen are present in expensive skin creams. Ideally we should peel off this membrane when we eat eggs and somehow consume it or use it on the skin. (I don't have any gourmet recipes - it's just a suggestion!)

Organic eggs are best to use because the shells are richer in minerals

When we can get organic farm eggs, it is certainly worth using every bit of natural goodness. Here are two methods that will deliver an acidic and more absorbable form of calcium to keep your bones and joints from crumbling and will also give you a free natural face lift! The creamy residue can be used as a rejuvenating facial treatment. You will immediately feel the effects.

First option: Leech Calcium off a hard boiled egg with an acidic solution

Same egg 2 hours later

boiled egg in acidic solutionPlace one or two hard boiled eggs in a jar of white vinegar for a few days and the calcium carbonate will dissolve off the shell and into the vinegar, along with many of the trace elements. It is best to use a boiled egg because cooking will kill off any bacteria that may be present. You can also peel the eggs and then place the shells in the vinegar. As you can see in the picture, the egg loses a layer of calcium after two hours and the glass gets fizzy. A creamy white and rather sour solution develops after a day or two.  Strain off the solution and keep it in the fridge. Drink some before your main meals. This provides a substantial source of calcium as well as other minerals and trace elements. When calcium is delivered in an acidic carrier it is easier to assimilate. Some people object to the taste, so they may prefer the second method, using citric acid. With this technique you will also get a small amount eggshell membrane extracts.

Second method - for making a large quantity to keep and freeze


This method produces a creamy, bland tasting liquid, rich in extracts from the shell as well as membrane. Three eggshells provide a week's supply of calcium citrate for an adult – plus all the extra minerals that can be absorbed at this pH. It also provides valuable joint and connective tissue support. The liquid can be added to your cottage cheese or smoothies or taken as is. Use the gritty residue after filtration as it is excellent for skin exfoliation and rejuvenating face pack. It works miracles for the tired, patchy skin on your face and hands. After you rinse it off you will understand what I mean about the "secret" ingredients in the membrane!

The basic method to produce the creamy extract and the grit

grind the baked eggshellsCredit: Sue Visser

  1. Keep your eggshells and when you have about a dozen, (for 1 month’s supply) bake them in the oven on a metal tray at a low temperature to sterilize them. Raw eggs are often infested with bacteria like salmonella, so they need to reach a temperature of at least 180 degrees C. This is best to do when you switch off the oven after a baking or roasting session. Be careful not to burn them! If you do, the residual albumen and membranes burn easily and let off a ghastly smell and will taste awful. 
  2. Crush the eggshells into small pieces and place them in an electric coffee grinder or blender attachment. Process them for a few minutes to make a fine powder. If you don't have such a device, place the shells in a plastic bag and crush them as fine as you can, using an empty glass bottle or rolling-pin.
  3. Take a large, deep bowl of at least 3 litres capacity and tip 100 ml of the eggshell powder into it. Add 100 ml of citric acid and 1 litre of water.
  4. Give the mixture a stir from time to time. It will fizz up each time. After two days, you will see the water become white and creamy. Allow 2 - 4 days soaking time. It can then be strained through a fine cloth, placed in a sieve above a bowl. You need to drip and squeeze out the milk and it is very messy process, but worth the effort. Keep it in a bottle in the fridge and take a dose (about 25 ml) before dinner every day or add it to yoghurt, "amasi" (kefir) or a smoothie. Alternatively, pour the creamy mixture into an ice tray. Use one cube at a time and they will last a long time without spoiling.
  5. The residue inside the cloth is a gritty paste that becomes your facial treatment. Dab some of it on your face and hands and massage it in well. You can also roll it into little balls and dry them out to use every day. Dip one in water and use it as a skin scrubber or exfoliator. 
  6. Some people may find they need more magnesium. If the supplement makes you feel constipated, you can add a pinch of Epsom salts or milk of magnesia to the mixture.

The gritty paste can also be mixed into pet food.

This is ideal for larger dogs, horses, cattle and - chickens!