Egg protein is derived primarily from egg whites and is a complete protein, providing adequate proportions of all of the body’s required (essential) amino acids.1 It is highly ranked for protein quality and digestibility,2 and is relatively high in branched-chain amino acids, which are used primarily to make and repair muscle tissue. Egg protein is sometimes used in protein supplements and protein-enriched foods.
Egg protein contains a compound called avidin, which is well known to interfere with the absorption of biotin, a B-complex vitamin.3 Ordinarily, people who eat eggs are not exposed to enough avidin to have a significant impact, and avidin is also neutralized with heat. However, those who eat raw egg whites on a daily basis or people using large amounts of egg protein supplements might need to be concerned. Because of this issue, some egg protein supplements are heated during processing and are promoted as “avidin-neutralized.”
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3 StarsReliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
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1 StarFor an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
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Egg protein may help build muscle and improve post-exercise recovery in athletes.
Some protein supplements (particularly from whey) have been linked to increased muscle building in athletes and more efficient repair of muscle injuries after exercise. The branched-chain amino acids in egg protein appear to be well used by muscle tissue after exercise, but researchers found that athletes taking 20 grams of egg protein or more after a workout were not able to use all of the protein and instead increased the excretion of protein breakdown products by the kidneys. In another study, supplementing with 15 grams of egg protein per day for 8 weeks did not have any effect on muscle mass or function in adult female athletes. A preliminary study found that post-exercise fatigue was unaffected by up to 20 grams of egg protein prior to exercise in long-distance runners.
2 to 5 grams of hydrolyzed egg protein per day
People with high blood pressure might be able to lower their blood pressure by using egg protein.
Egg protein is broken down into short amino acid chains via enzymatic action in the digestive tract or during processing through hydrolysis. Some of these small peptides (short amino acid chanis) have been found to inhibit angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE), an enzyme involved in blood vessel constriction, while others act as antioxidants in the blood vessels. Hydrolyzed egg white protein has been found to lower blood pressure in animal models of hypertension. However, findings from clinical trials has been mixed. A dose-finding trial was performed in 92 subjects with normal, high-normal, or mildly elevated blood pressure and found 2 grams of hydrolyzed egg protein per day for seven days reduced daytime systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and 5 grams per day reduced nighttime blood pressures, in those with mild hypertension. In a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial (in which subjects participate in treatment and placebo phases, in random order) that included 75 subjects with mild hypertension, taking 3 grams of hydrolyzed egg protein per day for six weeks had no effect on arterial stiffness or blood pressure.
How It Works
How to Use It
The ideal intake of egg protein has not been determined, but a typical serving of egg protein powder is 30 grams and provides about 20 grams of protein.
Where to Find It
A typical egg has about 13 grams of protein, most of which (about 11 grams) is found in the white portion. Some egg protein extracts have limited amounts of other nutrients such as cholesterol, fats, and phospholipids. Most egg protein supplements are simply dried egg white powder, and a 30-gram serving typically provides about 20 grams of protein. Hydrolyzed egg protein has been broken down into small amino acid chains through enzymatic processing, and may have a slightly higher protein content than dried egg white powder. Egg protein may be found in protein supplements, high-protein food bars, and meal replacements powders.
While protein deficiency is a problem in many parts of the world, it is uncommon in the developed world, since protein-rich foods like meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and legumes are generally abundantly available. There is no such thing as an egg protein deficiency.
Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
Egg protein contains a compound called avidin, which interacts with biotin, a B-complex vitamin and prevents its absorption. Avidin is neutralized with heat. Unprocessed egg protein supplements may contain significant amounts of avidin and long-term use could cause a biotin deficiency.
Interactions with Medicines
Eggs cause allergic reactions in some people. The symptoms of an egg allergy range from digestive upset or a mild skin rash to a life-threatening constriction of the airways. People with egg allergies should avoid all forms of egg protein.
Because raw egg protein can cause biotin deficiency, people taking egg protein supplements long term should consider supplementing with biotin. Symptoms of biotin deficiency can include skin, hair, and nail changes; loss of muscle function; and seizures.
1. Lemon P. Beyond the zone: protein needs of active individuals. J Am Coll Nutr2000;19:513S-521S.
2. Hernandez M, Montalvo I, Sousa V, Sotelo A. The protein efficiency ratios of 30:70 mixtures of animal:vegetable protein are similar or higher than those of the animal foods alone. J Nutr1996;126:574-81.
3. Rodriguez Melendez R. Importance of biotin metabolism. Rev Invest Clin 2000;52:194-9. [in Spanish]
Last Review: 03-24-2015
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The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2022.