Cravings are natural. They can hit you at any time, indicating a strong urge for something, and it could be sweet, sour, bitter, or savory. Relentless cravings are often associated with pregnancy cravings. But this obviously does not apply to men, who may experience food cravings for other reasons. This tells us that cravings are more than just a one-day desire but rather a message from your body. It is, therefore, essential to listen to your body to better understand why you have various food cravings. Let us look at some reasons why you could be craving eggs.
Is the thought of having poached, hard-boiled, scrambled, or fried eggs stuck in your head? Well, let us break down for you the reasons behind these urges. We will now discuss the meaning of egg cravings, the message they are sending, and how to reduce these urges. Now without further delay, let us get straight into it!
Craving Eggs Meaning
Experiencing an egg craving is, for the better part, considered normal. After all, eggs are deemed as healthy foods, due to their high nutritional value. According to Medical News Today, one medium poached or boiled egg weighing roughly 44 grams has the following nutrients (1):
- Calories- 62.5
- Total fat- 4.2 g
- Protein- 5.5 g
- Iron- 0.8 g
- Sodium- 189 mg
- Magnesium- 5.3 mg
- Zinc- 0.6 mg
- Cholesterol- 162 mg
- Phosphorus- 86.7 mg
- Potassium- 60.3 mg
- Folate- 15.4 mcg
- Zinc- 0.6 mg
- Selenium- 13.4 mcg
- Lutein and zeaxanthin- 220 mcg
Looking at the nutritional chart above may cause us to give in to egg cravings so that we can attain the listed nutrients. Yet, what does a persistent egg craving mean? The assumption is that you have a strong egg food urge which can be satisfied upon eating these foods.
However, you might soon realize that the urge does not go away, despite eating eggs for the longest time. Keep in mind that your body is trying to tell you something with every food urge. Egg cravings are no exception. Below are some of the things that your body is trying to tell you with relentless egg cravings:
Vitamin B-12 Deficiency
It occurs when you have low levels of vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 is a water-soluble vitamin that travels in our body through the bloodstream (2). Your body can store this vitamin for close to four years. However, any excess of it is excreted in the urine (2).
The amount of vitamin B-12 that we require in our bodies varies depending on our ages. Here is a sample of the recommended limits as per different age groups (6):
- Infants up to babies aged six months- 0.4 mcg
- Babies aged 7 to 12 months- 0.5 mcg
- Children aged 1 to 3 years- 0.9 mcg
- Kids aged 4 to 8 years- 1.2 mcg
- Children aged 9 to 13 years- 1.8 mcg
- Teenagers aged 14 to 18 years- 2.4 mcg every day, 2.6 mcg daily if pregnant, and 2.8 mcg if breastfeeding
- Adults- 2.4 mcg daily, 2.6 mcg if pregnant, and 2.8 mcg if breastfeeding
What Are The Causes Of Vitamin B-12 Deficiency?
A wide range of factors can cause vitamin B-12 deficiency. Some of these include (6).:
- Your body’s inability to absorb the vitamin, especially with aging. This may result in pernicious anemia.
- Weight loss surgery or a surgery that involves removal of part of your stomach
- Heavy drinking. Excess alcohol intake interferes with folate and vitamin B-12 and C absorption.
- Thinning of your stomach lining, which is known as atrophic gastritis
- Health conditions affecting your small intestines, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac diseases, bacterial growth, or a parasite
- Immune system disorders such as lupus and Graves’ disease
- Intake of medications that affect the absorption of vitamin B-12. Most of these medications include heartburn medicines, including proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole (Prilosec OTC), esomeprazole (Nexium), and pantoprazole (Protonix). You may also acquire this deficiency from various diabetes medications such as metformin (Glucophage).
- Intake of a strict vegan diet for at least three years (5).
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Vitamin B-12 Deficiency?
Vitamin B-12 deficiency triggers various symptoms. The most common ones are confusion, depression, fatigue, and memory problems (2). However, these symptoms are not enough to signify that one has vitamin B-12 deficiency.
They may be accompanied by other symptoms such as loss of appetite, weight loss, and constipation. In some cases, the symptoms may escalate and include neurological changes such as tingling in the feet and hands and numbness (2). Other people may also have difficulties maintaining balance.
In infants, the primary symptom is unusual movements. These include face tremors, feeding difficulties, reflex problems, and ultimate growth problems if the deficiency is not treated (2). Severe vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to anemia. This is characterized by shortness of breath, fatigue, weight loss, menstrual problems, diarrhea, sore tongue or mouth, pale or yellowing skin, and irregular heartbeat (2).
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How To Prevent Vitamin B-12 Deficiency?
You can prevent vitamin B-12 deficiency in a couple of ways. Some of the recommended treatment and prevention methods include:
You can prevent this deficiency by choosing a healthy diet that incorporates various foods. These foods must have high vitamin B-12 content. They include eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, red meat, shellfish, milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Taking Vitamin-12 Supplements
Your doctor may recommend supplements if you do not take animal products or follow a strict vegan diet. In this case, your doctor may decide to give you vitamin B-12 multivitamins or supplements and other products fortified with this vitamin.
Do not start taking these supplements without first consulting a professional. You may be taking other medications that may interact with these supplements and cause various health complications (4). That said, talk to your healthcare provider first and let them know of any other supplement or medication you are taking.
Vitamin B-12 Shots
You can treat vitamin B-12 deficiency by taking shots of this vitamin, especially if you have pernicious anemia or cannot absorb enough of the vitamin through your GI tract (6). However, this decision can only be approved by your healthcare provider. At no point should you self-medicate, even if the symptoms all point to this deficiency.
Typically, you will be required to keep getting these shots and take supplements regularly thereafter. Your doctor will let you know of all these when they diagnose and treat this deficiency.
Vitamin D Deficiency
The other reason why you could be craving hard-boiled eggs is due to vitamin D deficiency. Despite being considered a vitamin, vitamin D is more of a prohormone or the precursor of a hormone (9).
A lack of vitamin D can lead to various health problems. For example, it can cause rickets in children and osteomalacia or osteoporosis in adults (8). The deficiency can also result in low bone calcium stores, increasing the risk of fractures (8).
Your body produces this vitamin as a response to sun exposure. You can boost your vitamin D intake by taking several foods and supplements. However, you are advised to talk to a physician first before taking supplements or making major changes to your diet plan.
What Causes Vitamin D Deficiency?
As mentioned earlier, the human body produces this vitamin when it is exposed to the sun. That said, the belief is that one can get this deficiency when one does not sun bask for some time. Although this is partially true, the deficiency may also result from other risk factors. Below are the real reasons why you may end up with this deficiency (9):
Having darker skin may reduce your body’s ability to absorb ultraviolet radiation B (UVB) rays from the sun (9). This then makes it more likely for people with dark skin to get a vitamin D deficiency. Your body needs to absorb more sunlight to produce enough of this vitamin.
Individuals living in northern latitude areas or areas with high pollution are likely to get this deficiency. They are less exposed to sunlight and must receive this vitamin from food sources as much as they can.
Infants who are exclusively breastfeeding need to take vitamin D supplements, especially if they have dark skin or minimal sun exposure. Medical News Today suggests that breastfed infants obtain at least 400 IU of oral vitamin D every day (9).
Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency
An egg craving is not a solid symptom to signify a vitamin D deficiency. Keep in mind that it could also be telling of a vitamin B-12 deficiency. You can only honestly know if it is a vitamin D deficiency if you experience the following symptoms (9):
- Back and bone pain
- Regular infection or sickness
- Low mood
- Hair loss
- Impaired wound healing
- Muscle pain
If the deficiency persists, you may experience severe complications such as (9):
- Pregnancy complications
- Cardiovascular conditions
- Neurological symptoms
- Autoimmune problems
- Cancers such as of the breast, prostate, and colon
How To Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency?
The most recommended method to help prevent vitamin D deficiency is getting sufficient sunlight. This is the best way the body can produce this vitamin. You can also prevent this deficiency by eating food rich in vitamin D. Some of these foods include (3):
- Fish. Fish is an excellent option because three ounces of cooked salmon provide at least 57 IU of this vitamin (8). You can also opt for fatty fish like tuna and mackerel.
- Egg yolks
- Beef liver
- Foods fortified with vitamin D, including dairy products, cereals, soy milk, and orange juice
You can also prevent this deficiency by taking vitamin D supplements. The supplements can either be administered orally or through a shot (7). When taken orally, you may not experience any side effects unless you have taken too much of it. In this case, you will experience symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and a metallic taste (7). Be sure to talk to your doctor about the appropriate dose to take and how often.
You are also less likely to experience side effects if you get a vitamin D shot in the recommended amounts. This means that anything beyond these amounts will lead to some side effects such as sleepiness, fatigue, and a dry mouth (7).
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How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?
You need to get the recommended vitamin D levels regardless if you have or do not have vitamin D deficiency. The rates vary according to age. According to Medical News Today, the recommended vitamin D intake levels are as shown below (8):
- Infants aged 0 to 12 months- 400 IU (10 mcg)
- Children between 1 and 18 years- 600 IU (15 mcg)
- Individuals aged 1 to 70- 600 IU (15 mcg)
- Individuals aged 71 and above- 800 IU (20 mcg)
- Pregnant and lactating women- 600 IU (15 mcg)
You should keep to these limits and avoid excessive consumption of this vitamin. Experts acknowledge that excessive vitamin D intake is risky and can lead to numerous health complications, such as (9):
- Hardening of the kidneys, lungs, blood vessels, and heart tissues
- Calcification of the bones
- Headaches and nausea
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- A metallic taste in your mouth
The Takeaway On Eggs Cravings
Vegan or not, you might experience the strong urge to have eggs. They could be poached, scrambled, hard-boiled, or fried. What matters is that you must have eggs. In some cases, these urges signify nutritional deficiencies instead of a pure craving for eggs.
These nutritional deficiencies may be vitamin B-12 and vitamin D deficiencies. They are both vital in our bodies as they help with the performance of various bodily functions. For example, vitamin D helps in the formation of healthy bones.
Pay attention to such cravings and jot down any symptoms you may be experiencing related to either vitamin D or vitamin B-12 deficiency. Talk to your doctor before trying any of the prevention methods suggested above.
The Bottom Line
The two common reasons for craving eggs are underlying vitamin B-12 or vitamin D deficiencies. They are both signified by different signs and symptoms, which have been discussed above. Talk to a dietitian and healthcare provider to determine the best way to treat these deficiencies and put an end to these food urges.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Everything you need to know about eggs (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Everything you need to know about vitamin B-12 (2017, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Top Foods for Calcium and Vitamin D (2020, werbmd.com)
- Vitamin B12 (2019, medicinenet.com)
- Vitamin B12 Deficiency (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Vitamin B12: What to Know (2021, webmd.com)
- Vitamin D (2021, webmd.com)
- Vitamin D and your health: Breaking old rules, raising new hopes (2019, healthharvard.edu)
- What are the health benefits of vitamin D? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)