While it is true that when compared to egg whites, the yolk contains a lot of fat, recent studies have proven that not all fats are indeed bad for you. In fact, we all need fats in our diets. Certainly we all know the ills of saturated fats and trans fat, but some fats are necessary for our body’s daily needs. Fats supply your body with essential fatty acids that your body is incapable of producing on its own. It is these healthy fats that carry needed nutrients into our bodies and allow our bodies to absorb them. It is the lipids in egg yolk that allows the vitamins A, D, E, and K (essential for balanced mood, healthy skin, and eyesight and brain development) to be absorbed into the body.10
Because of these unwarranted fears and misconceptions, egg yolk has for many years been forgotten as a great source of healthy fats (lipids), protein, and other nutrients. Until recently, it was not possible to separate and use many of these nutrients and proteins found in yolk because of technological and economic factors. Ecovatec has developed a process to safely harvest the protein, phospholipids, and oil from the yolk in an efficient way, thereby unlocking the previously untapped power and potential of yolk.
As mentioned before, not all fats (lipids) are bad. When it comes to lipids, quality is paramount. One such high quality lipid is the Phospholipid. Phospholipids are a type of lipid made up of two fatty acid tails attached to a glycerol and phosphate head. Phospholipids are amphipathic in nature, meaning that their heads are water loving and their tails are oil loving. This characteristic causes them to naturally form bilateral chains that are perfect for cell membranes.11 In fact, phospholipids make up the majority of the cell membranes in our bodies, holding and sustaining the protein molecules through which cells communicate via hormones and neurotransmitters. Healthy membranes allow our cells to remain “fluid” and flexible and thereby function properly. Healthy membranes make for healthy cells.
Egg Yolk Phospholipids also have several nutraceutical functions:
- Used to fortify Infant Formula – Rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, which are needed for brain and eye development. It has been discovered that the PL found in egg yolk is almost equivalent to the PL found in human breast milk.13 The PL in yolk also contains cholesterol and choline, fundamental nutrients for a baby’s development.
- Shown to help prevent dementia – having healthy cell membranes means cells can communicate better with each other. Studies have shown that the type phospholipids found in egg yolk can help to improve memory and stave off the effects of dementia.14
- Protect against liver failure – Studies have shown that phospholipids can help to repair liver damage caused by toxins in substances like drugs, medication, alcohol, fatty foods, and viruses.15
- Cosmetic applications – The bilayer shapes formed by egg phospholipids are easily absorbed by the skin and can aid in the regeneration of skin.16
Egg phospholipids are superior to many other phospholipids, especially the lipid that largely replaced it in the lecithin market. In the 1930’s, when soy production dramatically expanded, food companies the world over opted for the cheaper lecithin derived from soy. Soy has now served as the mainstay emulsifying ingredient in the food industry and soy lecithin is present in almost all processed foods. What we are finding out recently, however, is that soy lecithin is more of a functional food, as opposed to a nutritional one. It can even be stated, that it is harmful to our health. Egg lecithin, on the other hand, is not only a better emulsifier but it provides far greater health benefits than soy. While soy lecithin is extracted from soy beans through a highly chemical processing method, Ecovatec harvests Phospholipids from egg yolk using a cleaner, proprietary method, resulting in safe, non-GMO, phospholipids. For a more detailed discussion please see Lecithin: Yolk vs Soy.
13. Pg 1105. Bitman, Joel; Wood, Larry, M.S, MD; Hamosh, Paul, MD; and Hamosh, Margit, PhD, “Comparison of the Phospholipid Composition of Breast Milk from Mothers of Term and Pre-term infants during lactation,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 40: November 1984, pp 1103-1119.
16. Hans Lautenschlager, “Strong effect – phospholipids in cosmetics,” Kosmetik International 2. (2013): 38.
Nutralipids: Egg Oil
Egg oil, another extremely useful yolk lipid, is made up mainly of triglycerides, phospholipids, cholesterol, and lutein. The lipid profile of egg yolk oil is a perfect match for human skin.17 Relished for thousands of years for all of its many traditional cosmetic applications, egg oil was used widely by the Ancient Greek, Arab, Jewish, and Chinese cultures.18 The process of extracting the oil from the yolk results in the complete removal of the proteins. This allows for not only easy absorption of the cholesterol into the skin, but also allows people with egg allergies to benefit from its amazing cosmetic and skin care applications.19
17. Aleksandrs Kovalcuks, “Purification of egg yolk oil obtained by solvent extraction from liquid egg yolk,” Research for Rural Development 1. (2014): 142.
Modern Cosmetic Applications
The phospholipids present in egg oil have been shown to have a similar structural shape as the barrier layers in skin.20 This allows the phospholipids to penetrate the skin and be absorbed with ease. This lipid profile of egg oil causes it to be a perfect ingredient in cosmetics. The lipids can also form hollow spheres called “liposomes,” which can encapsulate other active ingredients, allowing faster absorption for them as well.21
Skin and Hair Applications
Egg oil has been shown to contain high quality cholesterol, which has the ability to help nourish, moisturize, and repair skin and hair.22 Studies have also shown egg oil to be helpful in alleviating the effects of eczema and aging skin.23 Another area where egg oil has shown great results is the healing of burn wounds. Studies indicate that the application of egg oil on burns leads to faster skin regeneration and less scarring.
Organic Fungicide and Pesticide
A new study done by the South Korean government found water-spraying a mixture of emulsified egg yolk and vegetable oil was an effective organic pesticide-fungicide. Egg oil containing lyso-lecithin has proven even more potent. The egg oil fungicide not only improves production yield, but actually provides nutritional benefits to the crops. Ecovatec Solutions Inc. has the technology to create such a product and is exploring this application of egg oil further.
21. Hans Lautenschlager, “Strong effect – phospholipids in cosmetics,” 38.
23. Ping Wu et al., “Assessment of Egg Yolk Oil Extraction Methods of for ShiZhenKang Oil by Pharmacodynamic Index Evaluation,” Molecules 21, no. 1 (2016): 1.