Lamb shank, like many meats, is an excellent source of protein. It also provides many minerals and vitamins, particularly certain B vitamins, such as vitamin B12. All values below are for 3 oz. of lamb shank, trimmed to 1/8 inch fat. Dietary Reference intake (DRI) percentages are for adults under age 50.
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A serving of lamb shank contains 184 calories. None of these calories comes from carbohydrates. There is also no fiber in lamb shank.
One 3 oz. serving of lamb shank contains 22.7 g of protein. This is 49 percent of the DRI for women and 41 percent of the DRI for men. This protein is made up of 18 different amino acids, including all of the essential amino acids. Because it contains all of the essential amino acids, lamb shank is a complete protein. Lamb shank is particularly high in the essential amino acid lysine, providing 17 percent of the recommended amount per day. Lysine is thought to enhance the immune system.
One 3 oz. serving of lamb shank contains 8.7 g of fat. This fat is made up of 3.9 g of saturated fat, 4.1 g of monounsaturated fat and .7 g of polyunsaturated fat. This 3 oz. serving also contains 76 mg of cholesterol, which is more than 25 percent of the maximum recommended amount per day.
Lamb shank is a rich source of many minerals. One 3 oz. serving supplies 50 percent of the DRI of zinc for women and 36 percent of zinc for men. About 46 percent of the DRI for selenium is provided by 3 oz. of lamb shank. One serving also supplies 24 percent of the DRI for phosphorus and 14 percent for potassium. For women, 3 oz. of lamb shank provides 9 percent of the DRI for iron; for men, 3 oz. provides 21 percent of the DRI for iron.
While lamb shank contains no vitamin C or A, it does supply numerous B vitamins. One 3 oz. serving supplies approximately 20 percent of the DRI for riboflavin. It also provides 35 percent of the DRI for niacin for men and 40 percent for women. This same 3 oz. serving provides 10 percent or more of the DRI for both pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Finally, one 3 oz serving of lamb shank provides nearly all of the vitamin B12 an adult needs in one day, with its 2.28 mcg supplying 95 percent of the DRI. Vitamin B12 is important for metabolism and can help prevent certain types of anemia.