Egg Protein

Macronutrient

OVERVIEW

Summary

Egg protein, like all proteins, consists of long chains of amino acids. If you work out hard, you simply need more protein to help repair and rebuild muscle tissues, and it can be hard to get all the protein you need from meals without consuming a lot of extra fat and calories at the same time. Thus, many active people turn to supplemental forms, like egg protein, to get the extra protein their bodies need.

Other names for Egg Protein

albumin

Where to find Egg Protein

Egg protein comes from eggs, of course, which come from chickens. Supplemental egg protein typically comes from egg whites, eliminating the excess cholesterol and fat found in the yolk.
Egg protein powder used to require a blender since it wasn’t very soluble. Today, special emulsifiers like lecithin are added that allow the egg protein to be mixed with a spoon.

PERFORMANCE BENEFITS

Why athletes use Egg Protein

Athletes need more protein than other people, it’s that simple. But it’s sometimes difficult to get the protein we need. Carbohydrates and fats are abundant, but you often need to search high and low for quality proteins. Fortunately, egg-white proteins — both supplemental and in the omelet pan — offer another tasty, nutritious option.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Signs of Egg Protein deficiency

Although a deficiency in the primary amino acids is unlikely, individuals who consume less dairy products and animal meats would require additional protein intake from alternative sources. And, active people, especially hard-training athletes and weight trainers, require greater amounts of protein than sedentary people.

Potential uses for Egg Protein

Research indicates that Egg Protein may be useful in the treatment of:

  • Catabolism (muscle wasting)
  • Impaired immune function

DISCUSSION

More about Egg Protein

Egg protein, like all proteins, consists of long chains of amino acids. If you work out hard, you simply need more protein to help repair and rebuild muscle tissues, and it can be hard to get all the protein you need from meals without consuming a lot of extra fat and calories at the same time. Thus, many active people turn to supplemental forms, like egg protein, to get the extra protein their bodies need.

Pure protein

Perhaps the most important use of egg protein is for building muscle and improving muscle recovery after intense workouts. This is because the egg white is almost pure protein. Thus, many protein powders include egg protein (albumin). Egg protein supplements are especially attractive because egg whites actually have low levels of protein each, so you’d have to consume quite a few to get enough protein — one egg white offers only around 3.5 grams of protein in contrast to 26 grams in a 4-oz serving of tuna or 30 in a cooked 4-oz chicken breast. In all fairness, though, who stops with just one egg white?!
Nevertheless, egg protein is one of the most complete proteins available — that means it has the ideal ratio of amino acids for use in the human body. If just one amino acid is too low in a protein source, the body is limited by that amino acid as far as how much protein (muscle) it can build in the body. Using something called the Protein Efficiency Ratio, we can see how well the body can use a food protein source to make proteins. Egg protein’s PER is 2.8. The PER and PDCAAS of egg protein is similar to milk proteins and only slightly lower than casein and whey.
Finally, you’ll hear the term Biological Value. This is just another way of assessing how well the body can use a protein source. Again, the BV of egg protein is very high (though whey protein is slightly higher.)

Blood-sugar control

High-quality protein, such as that in eggs, prevents the spike in blood sugar caused by eating carbohydrates alone. This realization has led many doctors to recommend increasing the amount of protein to help control blood sugar levels and thus diabetes and obesity, two health conditions that are becoming epidemic. A balanced meal (protein with carbs) leads to sustained energy since protein slows the use of carbohydrates for energy.

Other health benefits

Using protein supplements such as egg protein gives you the nutrition you need without the risks of diets high in animal foods, which often contain excess fat, cholesterol, and calories that can lead to increased risk of heart disease. Egg protein is also high in lecithin, a nutrient that may help the body break down fats and B vitamins, including folic acid as well as Vitamin D and E.
Egg protein, like all proteins, helps maintain a strong immune system. Science has shown low-protein diets impair immunity because immune system cells are largely constructed from protein.

In conclusion

Athletes need more protein than other people, it’s that simple. But it’s sometimes difficult to get the protein we need. Carbohydrates and fats are abundant, but you often need to search high and low for quality proteins. Fortunately, egg-white proteins — both supplemental and in the omelet pan — offer another tasty, nutritious option.

NOTES ON USAGE

Research shows that active people, especially hard-training athletes and weight trainers, require greater amounts of protein than sedentary people — this is scientifically documented, regardless of what some of the folks in lab coats try to suggest.

Amount

First, you must determine your daily requirements for protein, for both whole food and protein-containing supplements. Since the requirements for daily protein are much higher for those who are physically active than for sedentary folks, protein intake is suggested as follows:

  • For muscle growth in healthy, active males, the average protein requirement is reportedly between 1 and 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, divided equally throughout the day (e.g., a 180-lb intensely training athlete would ideally take in about 180 to 270 grams of protein per day, divided between 6 equally portioned meals, resulting in 30 to 45 grams per meal.)
  • For muscle-tissue maintenance and for most active women, protein intake is reportedly between .75 and 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, divided equally throughout the day (e.g., a 115-lb active woman would ideally take in about 90 to 115 grams of protein per day, divided between 6 equally portioned meals, resulting in 15 to 20 grams per meal.)
Timing

Depending on the daily protein requirements (as determined from above), supplemental protein should be consumed throughout the normal course of a day in place of a whole-food meal (in the form of an MRP or simply a protein supplement by itself with some whole food, such as an apple).

Tips

Make sure adequate amounts of protein are consumed within an hour after a workout and before bedtime. These two times are optimal because after a workout, an “open window” exists that allows for instant protein uptake/use, and consuming protein before bedtime is a more effective way of keeping the body in a positive nitrogen balance, allowing for a constant “muscle-building” state during rest.
Look for egg protein supplements that are processed at low temperatures to preserve the integrity of the amino acids within for optimal use by the body.

Synergists of Egg Protein

For proper absorption and use by the body, it may be best to consume protein as part of a meal (with carbohydrates and essential fats).

Safety of Egg Protein

If you’re eating raw egg whites, there’s a risk of salmonella bacteria, which is carried in poultry. Supplemental forms as well as cooked eggs do not carry the same risk as heating destroys the bacteria.

Toxicity of Egg Protein

No known toxicity.

Bans and restrictions

None reported.

RELATED RESEARCH

  • Applegate, E., “Introduction: Nutritional and Functional Roles of Eggs in the Diet,” J Am Coll Nutr 19.5S (2000) : 495S-8S.
  • Hasler, C.M., “The Changing Face of Functional Foods,” J Am Coll Nutr 19.5S (2000) : 499S-506S.
  • Puntis, J.W., et al., “Egg and Breast Milk Based Nitrogen Sources Compared,” Arch Dis Child 64 (1989) : 1472-7.
  • St Jeor, S.T., et al., “Dietary Protein and Weight Reduction: A Statement for Healthcare Professionals from the Nutrition Committee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism of the American Heart Association,” Circulation 104.15 (2001) : 1869-74.