• Hahnbee Choi, Cert. CN

Eggs 101

What came first, the chicken or the egg? Science says it's the egg! But rather than the evolutionary biology of eggs, we're talking about egg benefits, nutrition, and more. With a centered yolk, a thick egg white, and a membrane, this encapsulated source of micro and macronutrients is built to support embryonic development and rich functional food.


Nutritional Benefits

Eggs are a staple in many human diets and add essential nutrients for pets. With eggs supplying all 11 essential amino acids, they are a high-quality source of protein. In addition, eggs also supply essential long-chain fatty acids, arachidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They are also rich in fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K and water-soluble vitamins thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9), cobalamine (B12), and choline. And minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, and zinc. While not technically dinosaurs, given that they descend from dinosaurs, it's fair to say that these modern dinosaur eggs give quite a nutritional punch.



Antioxidants

Eggs are also rich in antioxidants such as selenium (trace mineral), lutein (carotenoid), and zeaxanthin (carotenoid). Antioxidants reduce free radicals, a type of unstable molecule that may cause harm to healthy molecules. Free radicals are part of natural and healthy bodily functions but can also be influenced by external factors and lifestyles. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals by donating an electron, combating their harmful effects. This helps break the chain reaction that can harm other cells. Antioxidants are essentially the chill pill for the chaotic chaos that is free radicals. Each antioxidant has its unique biological properties and behaviors, with eggs containing antioxidants selenium, lutein, and zeaxanthin.


· Selenium: A micro-mineral essential for immune function, scavenges free radicals, regulates thyroid hormones, and compliments vitamins C & E. It also binds to mercury and allows the body to dispose of it. Cats have a fivefold higher selenium concentration than dogs, even when fed similar dietary intakes.

· Lutein: A type of organic pigment called carotenoid. It is closely related to Vitamin A and beta-carotene and is called the “eye vitamin.” It’s also been noted to stimulate an immune response.

· Zeaxanthin: A fat-soluble antioxidant and also a carotenoid. Protects retinal tissue and filters blue light.


And while not classified as antioxidants, amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine have been noted to have high antioxidant properties. Researchers have pointed out that egg yolks have two times as many antioxidant properties in their raw state.



How To Feed

Eggs can be fed cooked or raw and are appropriate to add to any diet so long as the animal does not have a sensitivity. Eggs are a super kibble booster and can be a source of vitamin D in DIY raw diets. Eggs can be fed daily, but feeding around 1-3 times a week is also exceptional.


And while it's as easy as cracking the shell and feeding, before you throw away the shell, save the membrane! The eggshell membrane is the thin, translucent layer between the egg and the shell, and it has been shown to aid in helping joint pain and function.


The membrane is filled with hydraulic acid, glucosamine, collagen, and chondroitin, aiding joint health. But it must be fed in its raw state and not heat processed as it may destroy its benefits.


Simply peel the membrane out by itself and feed. To get the membrane out, crack the eggshell a little bit, and then a little lip of the membrane should be available for you to gently but tautly pull. Another way is popping the air pocket at the bottom with a toothpick and slowly peeling it back. But this will only go for the side of the egg that has the air pocket. It takes some practice, but it is doable and a simple step to add some more goodness to the bowl.



What about eggshells?

It is not recommended to feed grocery store eggshells due to the chemical sanitization measures taken using sanitation agents such as chlorous compounds and quaternary ammonium compounds. If you have access to farm-fresh eggs (not from the grocery store), those shells will be appropriate to feed and can be a source of calcium carbonate.



Biotin Deficiency

Some owners are wary of feeding eggs due to biotin deficiency. This is due to avidin, a glycoprotein (carbohydrate plus a protein) found in egg whites that tightly binds to biotin (a water-soluble vitamin), thus making biotin unavailable for intestinal absorption.


Yes, technically, it’s a concern. But this is only when egg whites are exclusively fed in large amounts for an extended time. If the whole egg is fed, the yolk will provide high doses of biotin, and as long as egg whites are not a mainstay in the diet, it is safe to feed.


If it still concerns you, you can always feed just the yolk or a cooked egg as cooking eggs denatures avidin, thus impairing its ability to tightly bind biotin.


Sourcing

Chicken ggs are generally easy to source from grocery stores. But for more novel eggs such as quail and duck, search in places such as:


· H Mart: chicken, quail, and duck eggs

· Ranch 99: chicken, duck, balut, and quail eggs

· Gourmet Grocery Stores: chicken, quail, and duck eggs

· Local Farmers: chicken, quail, and duck eggs


Comparing Eggs

In general, eggs are similar. But there are minute differences in nutrition due to the size of the egg, species, nutrition, and genetics. Below are helpful visual and nutritional comparisons.


Image: Nutrients 2019, 11(3), 684; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11030684

Image: Nutrients 2019, 11(3), 684; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11030684


These modern dinosaur eggs are an accessible and affordable way to add quality nutrients to the bowl. And depending on where it's sourced, every part of the egg has a unique use. I hope you learned something new today & Always Keep Exploring!

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