Moderate egg consumption can increase heart-healthy metabolites in the blood and reduce the chances of a stroke or a heart attack, a new study has found. The findings, published in the eLife journal, suggest that eating one egg a day could help lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Eggs are rich in dietary cholesterol, but also contain various essential nutrients. There is, however, conflicting evidence over egg consumption and its impact on heart health. A 2018 study in Heart, which covered almost 500,000 adults in China, found that those who ate eggs on a daily basis had a substantially lower risk of stroke and heart disease than those who ate eggs infrequently.
The authors of the latest study carried out a population-based study and explored how egg consumption affected cardiovascular health markers in the blood to better understand this relationship.
Lead author Lang Pan of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Peking University, said: “Few studies have looked at the role that plasma cholesterol metabolism plays in the association between egg consumption and the risk of cardiovascular diseases, so we wanted to help address this gap.”
The researchers selected 4,778 participants from the China Kadoorie Biobank — 3,401 of whom had a cardiovascular disease. They used the targeted nuclear magnetic resonance technique to measure 225 metabolites in plasma samples from the participants’ blood. Of these metabolites, 24 associated with self-reported levels of egg consumption were identified.
The analyses showed that individuals who ate a moderate number of eggs had higher levels of a protein in their bloodstream called apolipoprotein A1 — a building-block of high-density lipoprotein, known as ‘good lipoprotein’. These individuals had more large high-density lipoprotein molecules in their blood that helped clear cholesterol from blood vessels and protect against blockages, which lead to stroke and heart attacks.
The researchers also identified 14 metabolites linked to heart disease. They found that participants who consumed fewer eggs had lower beneficial metabolites and higher harmful ones.
Canqing Yu, Associate Professor at the varsity’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, said: “Together, our results provide a potential explanation for how eating a moderate amount of eggs can help protect against heart disease.”
“More studies are needed to verify the causal roles that lipid metabolites play in the association between egg consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease.”
China’s current health guidelines suggest eating one egg a day. However, data suggests that the average consumption is lower than this.
(The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult certified medical professionals before starting any medication or therapy.)