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Home > Living Well > Health Library > Egg Protein for Sports & Fitness
Egg protein is a high-quality, highly digestible, complete protein. While whey protein is widely considered to be the best protein supplement for building muscle, egg protein is similarly rich in branched-chain amino acids, the type of amino acids used to make and repair muscle fibers. Egg protein is considered complete because it provides all of the essential amino acids in adequate proportions to meet the body's requirements, and in this way it is similar to whey and other proteins from animal sources. Athletes and bodybuilders who use egg protein say it helps them increase muscle mass quickly.
Egg protein is lactose-free and safe for people with sensitivities or allergies to milk-based proteins (such as whey or casein), soy protein, and other protein supplements. Egg protein is also fiber-free, so people who experience digestive symptoms from pea and hemp protein supplements might find it more tolerable. Unlike soy and pea proteins, egg protein does not contain any phytate and does not appear to interfere with mineral absorption.1, 2
It appears that most healthy, active people will experience all of the possible benefits of egg protein by taking 20 grams before or just after a workout.3 The optimal amount of egg protein is not known, but most people use a 30-gram serving providing 20 grams of protein once per day. Athletes sometimes take up to three servings per day, depending on their training level and the protein content of the rest of their diet.
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.
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.
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.
Last Review: 05-04-2015
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