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Darkhorse 08-21-2007 10:14 AM

Raw Eggs for Your Health -- Major Update
I know it's kinda old, but it made me feel better about my protein shakes LOL.

Raw Eggs for Your Health -- Major Update

By J. Mercola, D.O.

As many of you know, I am a fond proponent of using raw eggs as a major food in your diet.

Raw whole eggs are a phenomenally inexpensive and incredible source of high-quality nutrients that many of us are deficient in, especially high-quality protein and fat.

Eggs generally are one of the most allergic foods that are eaten, but I believe this is because they are cooked. If one consumes the eggs in their raw state the incidence of egg allergy virtually disappears. Heating the egg protein actually changes its chemical shape, and the distortion can easily lead to allergies.

So, if you have not been able to tolerate eggs before you will want to consider eating them uncooked.

But when one discusses raw eggs, the typical reaction is a fear of salmonella. So let me begin this update, my first that comprehensively addresses the immediate concern of nearly everyone who hears this recommendation.

"Well What About Salmonella? Won't I Get Sick If I Eat Raw Eggs?"

Salmonella is a serious infection, and it is believed that in the US over two-thirds of a million cases of human illnesses a year result from eating contaminated eggs. If you want more information on salmonella the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an excellent page on this disease.

So why on earth would any competent health care professional ever recommend eating uncooked eggs?

When you carefully analyze the risk of contracting salmonella from raw eggs, you will find that it is actually quite low. A study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this year (Risk Analysis April 2002 22(2):203-1 showed that of the 69 billion eggs produced annually, only 2.3 million of them are contaminated with salmonella.

So simple math suggests that only 0.003 percent of eggs are infected. The translation is that only one in every 30,000 eggs is contaminated with salmonella. This gives you an idea of how uncommon this problem actually is.

While it is likely that I will consume more than 30,000 eggs in my lifetime, most of you will not. However, inevitably someone out there will find a salmonella-contaminated egg, so it is important to understand how to seriously decrease your risk of infection.

Salmonella infections are usually present only in traditionally raised commercial hens. If you are purchasing your eggs from healthy chickens this infection risk reduces dramatically. Remember, only sick chickens lay salmonella-contaminated eggs. If you are obtaining high quality, cage-free, organically fed, omega-3 enhanced chicken eggs as recommended above, the risk virtually disappears.

But let's say that for some reason, even after following that advice, you still obtain an egg that is infected. What do you do? Well, before you eat eggs - raw or not -- you should thoroughly examine them for signs of infection. I have provided some guidelines at the bottom of this section for you to use in this process.

You might still be a bit nervous and say, "What if I follow these guidelines and still get an infection?"

Salmonella Is Generally a Benign Self-Limiting Illness In Healthy People

The major principle to recognize here is that if you are healthy a salmonella infection is not a big deal. You may feel sick and have loose stools, but this infection is easily treated by using high-quality probiotics that have plenty of good bacteria. You can take a dose every 30 minutes until you start to feel better, and most people improve within a few hours.

Revised Recommendations For Raw Egg Whites

Earlier this summer, I posted an article that suggested that one should not eat raw egg whites. This is the traditional nutritional dogma as raw egg whites contain a glycoprotein called avidin that is very effective at binding biotin, one of the B vitamins. The concern is that this can lead to a biotin deficiency. The simple solution is to cook the egg whites as this completely deactivates the avidin.

The problem is that it also completely deactivates nearly every other protein in the egg white. While you will still obtain nutritional benefits from consuming cooked egg whites, from a nutritional perspective it would seem far better to consume them uncooked.

Since making the recommendation in July, I have more carefully studied this issue. Two groups brought me to back this: pet owners who feed their pets raw foods and Aajonus Vonderplanitz, who wrote the raw food book We Want to Live. Both feel quite strongly that raw eggs are just fine to eat.

After my recent studies it became clear that the egg’s design carefully compensated for this issue.

It put tons of biotin in the egg yolk. Egg yolks have one of the highest concentrations of biotin found in nature. So it is likely that you will not have a biotin deficiency if you consume the whole raw egg, yolk and white. It is also clear, however, that if you only consume raw egg whites, you are nearly guaranteed to develop a biotin deficiency unless you take a biotin supplement.

The following tables list the amounts of biotin in some common foods, as well as recommended daily amounts:

Food Serving Biotin (mcg)
Liver, cooked 3 ounces* 27
Egg, cooked 1 large 25
Yeast, bakers active 1 packet (7 grams) 14
Wheat bran, crude 1 ounce 14
Bread, whole wheat 1 slice 6
Cheese, camembert 1 ounce 6
Avocado 1 whole 6
Salmon, cooked 3 ounces* 4
Cauliflower, raw 1 cup 4
Chicken, cooked 3 ounces* 3
Cheese, cheddar 1 ounce 2
Pork, cooked 3 ounces* 2
Raspberries 1 cup 2
Artichoke, cooked 1 medium 2

Adequate Intake (AI) for Biotin
Life Stage Age Males (mcg/day) Females (mcg/day)
Infants 0-6 months 5 5
Infants 7-12 months 6 6
Children 1-3 years 8 8
Children 4-8 years 12 12
Children 9-13 years 20 20
Adolescents 14-18 years 25 25
Adults 19 years and older 30 30
Pregnancy all ages - 30
Breastfeeding all ages - 35

There is a potential problem with using the entire raw egg if you are pregnant. Biotin deficiency is a common concern in pregnancy and it is possible that consuming whole raw eggs would make it worse.

If you are pregnant you have two options. The first is to actually measure for a biotin deficiency. This is best done through urinary excretion of 3-hydroxyisovaleric acid (3-HIA), which increases as a result of the decreased activity of the biotin-dependent enzyme methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase.

It might take you some time to get used to using raw eggs. I personally have shifted to consuming them "Rocky style" one egg with the yolk intact and swallowing them whole. Usually two eggs at one sitting.

Alternatively, you could have your raw eggs in a protein shake or Living Fuel Rx or take a biotin supplement.


Guidelines To Ensure That You Are Consuming Fresh High- Quality Eggs

You can go to the American Egg board for a great overview of eggs.

Always check the freshness of the egg right before you consume the yolk.

If you are uncertain about the freshness of an egg, don't eat it. This is one of the best safeguards against salmonella infection.

If there is a crack in the shell, don't eat it. You can easily check for this by immersing the egg in a pan of cool, salted water. If the egg emits a tiny stream of bubbles, don't consume it as the shell is porous/contains a hole.

If you are getting your eggs fresh from a farmer it is best to not refrigerate them. This is the way most of the world stores their eggs; they do not refrigerate them. To properly judge the freshness of an egg, its contents need to be at room temperature. Eggs that are stored in the fridge and opened immediately after taking them out will seem fresher than they actually are. Eggs that you want to check the freshness of should be kept outside the fridge for at least an hour prior to opening them.

First, check all the eggs by rolling them across a flat surface. Only consume them if they roll wobbly.

Open the egg. If the egg white is watery instead of gel-like, don't consume the egg. If the egg yolk is not convex and firm, don't consume the egg. If the egg yolk easily bursts, don't consume the egg.

After opening the egg you can put it up to your nose and smell it. If it smells foul you will certainly not want to consume it.

How to Start Using Raw Eggs

If you are not used to eating fresh raw egg yolks or fresh raw fish, you should start by eating just a tiny bit of it on a daily basis, and then gradually increase the portions.

For example, start by consuming only a few drops of raw egg yolk a day for the first three days. Gradually increase the amount that you consume in three-day increments. Try half a teaspoon for three days, then one teaspoon, then two teaspoons. When you are accustomed to that amount, increase it to one raw egg yolk per day and subsequently to two raw egg yolks per day. Eventually, you can easily eat five raw egg yolks daily.

Fresh raw egg yolk tastes like vanilla and is best combined with your vegetable pulp. You can also combine it with avocado. Only stir it gently with a fork, because egg protein easily gets damaged on a molecular level, even by mixing/blending.

TALO 08-21-2007 10:28 AM

So if your not allergic to eggs then there it really dosen't matter if there cooked or not.Cause I can't stand raw eggs, and personally after eating eggs almost everymorning I'm starting to not like cooked ones either...Which sucks, cause they are the perfect breakfast food.

And how are you going to know if your egg was laid from a healthy chicken or not, when you buy them from the store.

hrdgain81 08-21-2007 10:39 AM

yeah its hard to eat the same foods over and over again talo.

any suggestions on how to actually get raw eggs into your stomach 0311. I've done it before, and they always come right back up :biglaugh:

ChinPieceDave667 08-21-2007 11:03 AM

I had to eat raw eggs as a kid because I was under weight. I haven't tried it since.

EricT 08-21-2007 11:30 AM

I'm sorry but Mercola is a class A quack. He doesn't know what the f*** he's talking about. 1 in 30,000 eggs infected is not accurate because different parts of the country have different infection rates. It may be 1 in 10,000 where you live. Even if 30,000 were correct it would say nothing about YOUR chances of being infected. The CDC in 2000 estimated that 1 in 50 people would be exposed a year. 1 in 50. I doubt it's gotten better. Just cuz your exposed doesn't mean you will get seriously ill but Mercola is way off with his happy go lucky logic.

Another thing is you don't "deactivate" proteins. You "denature" them. Just because a protein is a little or a lot denatured doesn't mean that it is not biologically usefull. In fact, despite of the "raw-food" pseudo science he's spouting cooking and denaturing some of the animal proteins we ate is one of the things that helped us survive as a species. FIRE baby. It INCREASED the protein available. When it comes to protein quantity means a lot. Including with eggs.

If you don't cook your eggs you are giving up as much as FORTY percent of the protein. If I've got the math right, which is not my strong suit. Basically cooked eggs are used with about 92% efficiency and raw eggs with 52%. As far as it being denatured...your body breaks it down into short peptides and aminos anyway. You don't absorb whole proteins in their biologically "natural" form and use them that way. You use the individual building blocks of the whole proteins to make your own proteins. There may be some health benefits to certain proteins being consumed in their denatured form but it ain't about protein quality as such. Raw eggs are just not used as efficiently by the body.

Egg protein powders are pasteurized so there is no danger there. As far as the BV of the powders I don't know if they are the same as a cooked egg or if they compare more to a raw egg.


Originally Posted by Mercola
While you will still obtain nutritional benefits from consuming cooked egg whites, from a nutritional perspective it would seem far better to consume them uncooked.

Instead of assuming that what "seems" to be true is true all one needs to do is look up the actual DATA that is available for things like this :)

LOL, I'm getting deja vu.

Darkhorse 08-21-2007 11:39 AM

Any studies to provide Eric off the top of your head? I ask because myself and A LOT of people I know who've been training for years have been ingesting raw eggs for years without any problems?

EricT 08-21-2007 11:41 AM

Yeah I've posted some before. I'll try to find something. You know I wouldn't state figures without an actual study or two :biglaugh:

Darkhorse 08-21-2007 11:42 AM

Cool, BTW, I edited more in my post..


I ask because myself and A LOT of people I know who've been training for years have been ingesting raw eggs for years without any problems?
And where are you getting those figures from?

EricT 08-21-2007 11:47 AM

Well that kinda fall's into the category of "famous last words".

Which figures are you asking about, buddy rabbit?

But yeah, if problems mean you don't get sick then sure. One you may have skated on the salmonella exposure or two you are a young healty male so unless it was a huge dose you may not have gotten sick from it.

NO, it's basically the fact that you are giving up a whole lot of the protein I'm talking about. And protein quality is not nearly as important protein availablility. Even if protein "quality" really is in question here, which I doubt.

Pieter Evenepoel, Benny Geypens, Anja Luypaerts, Martin Hiele, Yvo Ghoos4, and Paul Rutgeerts
Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Gastrointestinal Research Centre, University Hospital Leuven, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium ABSTRACTEgg proteins contribute substantially to the daily nitrogen allowances in Western countries and are generally considered to be highly digestible. However, information is lacking on the true ileal digestibility of either raw or cooked egg protein. The recent availability of stable isotope-labeled egg protein allowed determination of the true ileal digestibility of egg protein by means of noninvasive tracer techniques. Five ileostomy patients were studied, once after ingestion of a test meal consisting of 25 g of cooked 13C- and 15N-labeled egg protein, and once after ingestion of the same test meal in raw form. Ileal effluents and breath samples were collected at regular intervals after consumption of the test meal and analyzed for 15N- and 13C-content, respectively. The true ileal digestibility of cooked and raw egg protein amounted to 90.9 ± 0.8 and 51.3 ± 9.8%, respectively. A significant negative correlation (r =, P < 0.001) was found between the 13C-recovery in breath and the recovery of exogenous N in the ileal effluents. In summary, using the 15N-dilution technique we demonstrated that the assimilation of cooked egg protein is efficient, albeit incomplete, and that the true ileal digestibility of egg protein is significantly enhanced by heat-pretreatment. A simple 13C-breath test technique furthermore proved to be a suitable alternative for the evaluation of the true ileal digestibility of egg protein.

BTW, I've looked up studies on the breath analysis method used here and it is considered VERY good.

EricT 08-21-2007 11:49 AM

Oh, btw, bro, the reason I reacted so quickly and strongly to that article is not cuz I was waiting to pounce on your post! I've read it before along with a lot of his other nonsence and he just gets on my nerves :biglaugh:

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