Springtime can be a welcome change, but this allergy season also has many of us running to the nearest chemist to find some sort of (often ineffective) relief from various allergies and irritations. Luckily, nature already offers us an alternative to antihistamines, decongestants and cortisone — quail eggs!
Article written by Ariane Monnami, nutritionist and micro-nutritionist.
The therapeutic effects of quail eggs have been known for centuries. Egyptians would often eat quail eggs for their nutritional composition and positive effects on ‘internal balance’, whilst in China, quail eggs were already known to provide relief from asthma. However, it was the Japanese who turned to domestication and farming. Nowadays, farmed quails are usually a cross between Japanese quails (Coturnix Coturnix Japonica) and wild quails (Coturnix Coturnix Coturnix).
Dr Truffier and his works
During the 60s, the French family physician Dr Truffier noted a reduction in allergy frequency amongst quail farmers with a regular intake of quail eggs.
He then decided to test the effects of quail eggs on a large patient group and he observed the effects and results of over 500 treatments over an eight-year period, noting significant improvements for 70% of adults and 85% of children. In 1978, he published his works “Approche thérapeutique de la maladie allergique par ingestion d'œufs de caille” (Approach to allergy treatment with consumption of quail eggs).
Amongst some individuals, Dr Truffier also observed a “rebound effect” at the beginning of treatment - otherwise known as a temporary worsening of symptoms often seen with natural treatments and therapies (homeopathy, phytotherapy, oligotherapy). However, these undesirable effects were not seen during a study undertaken using a standardised extract of quail eggs.
Quail egg composition
Quail eggs are said to be the animal product containing the highest amount of protein, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. A quail egg contains five times more phosphorus, seven times more iron, six times more vitamin B1 and 15 times more vitamin B12 than a chicken egg, as well as numerous antioxidants, qualifying it as a “superfood”.
What’s more, unlike chicken eggs, quail eggs are cholesterol free!
How does it work?
Quail egg whites contain a high concentration of ovomucoid, a powerful inhibitor of trypsin, the molecule responsable for the production of histamine by white blood cells. The level of ovomucoidin quail eggs is much higher than in other types of eggs. It also contains ovoinhibitors with powerful regulatory effects on elastase, the molecule involved with pulmonary emphysema and psoriasis.
Following a traditional treatment using quail eggs
According to Doctor Truffier’s recommendations, the treatment should be carried out as follows:
- First two days of treatment: the patient should eat three eggs (raw)
- Third day of treatment: the patient should increase to four eggs
- From 5th to 49th day of treatment: increase to five eggs
So if you’ve counted, you’ll realise this makes a treatment of 240 eggs.. the sourcing and conservation of which can be a little tricky! The eggs also need to be eaten raw, either on their own or diluted in liquid such as milk or orange juice which then increases risk of contamination. Lastly, according to the protocol, “the eggs should be eaten on an empty stomach and you should not eat anything else for the next three to four hours”… Not all that compatible with our modern lifestyles and continuous race against time!
Luckily all of these constraints can be avoided as recent technology is able to provide us with standardised quail egg extracts, containing all the benefits without the hassle.
A 2014 double-blind study tested the effects of a patented mix of quail eggs on allergic rhinitis caused by different types of allergens: pollen, dust, animal hair.
The study took into account both the objective results (measurement of peak nasal inspiratory flow) and the subjective results (measurement of participant experience using a visual scale to evaluate allergic symptoms).
The study was able to show that the two types of symptoms improved in the group following the treatment compared to the placebo group, without any side effects. The improvement in allergic symptoms could be seen 15 minutes after taking the standardised extract.
(1) Truffier JC. Approche thérapeutique de la maladie allergique par ingestion d’œufs de caille. La Clinique. 1978;22:2–4.
(2) Vergnaud S. Bruttmann G. Effetto inibitorio dell’ovomucoide di uovo di quaglia gaipponese sull’attivita. La Medicina Biologica. 2007;2:5–13. and.
(3) A proprietary blend of quail egg for the attenuation of nasal provocation with a standardized allergenic challenge: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Annie-Claude Benichou,1 Marion Armanet,1 Anthony Bussière,2 Nathalie Chevreau,3 Jean-Michel Cardot,4 and Jan Tétard2