One egg a day

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An egg a day keeps the cardiologist away. This is the finding of a very large study published in Heart, British Medical Journal. (1) Regular consumption of eggs is associated with significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Details to follow.

Prospective study of half a million individuals

A group of researchers from China and the United Kingdom, coordinated by Prof. Liming Li and Dr. Canqing Yu (Peking University, School of Public Health) studied the relationship between egg consumption and the occurrence of cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, coronary events, and hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes.

The prospective study was performed on about half a million adults, ranging in age from 30 to 79 years. Their clinical pictures were recorded and followed over the years, as were their egg consumption habits.

More eggs, less cardiovascular disease

The study on egg consumption focused on healthy individuals, thus excluding consideration of people with neoplasms, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Over an average observation period of 8.9 years, a total of 83,977 cases of cardiovascular disease and 9,985 deaths from cardiovascular problems were documented, as well as 5,103 major coronary events.

At the beginning of the cohort study period, 13.1 percent of participants reported consuming eggs daily and 9.1 percent reported very infrequent egg intake. Analysis of the results showed that compared with people who did not consume eggs, daily consumption was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Eggs and cardiovascular health, the details

Regular egg consumers-up to one egg per day-have significantly reduced risks of hemorrhagic stroke (-26%), hemorrhagic death from stroke (-28%) and cardiovascular disease (-18%), according to the study. A 12 percent reduction in the risk of ischemic heart disease was also observed in people who take eggs daily, compared with those who avoid them or take them sporadically.

Far beyond what has already been shown in Dr. Dominik Alexander’s study(Journal of American College Nutrition, 2016). According to which egg consumption, up to one a day, has no significant association with heart disease (compared to ‘two eggs a week’ consumption).

Eggs and health, beyond the cliché

Eggs have long been cast in a bad light as a possible contributor to increased blood cholesterol. A hypothesis by the way also challenged in this study, according to which such food instead helps to balance the ratio of ‘good’ to ‘bad’ cholesterol.

In contrast, the egg is a valuable source of high biological value protein as well as high-quality vitamins and bioactive components, such as phospholipids and carotenoids.

The cohort study by the team of researchers from China and the United Kingdom is observational in nature, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about dose-effect relationships. The authors moreover emphasize the benefit of a ‘large sample,’ in addition to the consideration of established and potential risk factors for cardiovascular disease. As for possible implications on clinical practice, the authors pointed out that ‘the present study finds that there is an association between regular egg consumption and a lower rate of heart problems.’

Antonio Gattulli and Dario Dongo

Notes


(1) At



http://heart.bmj.com/content/early/2018/04/17/heartjnl-2017-312651