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Egg Intake and Stroke: Linked to Lower Risk in Asia, Research Shows

Eggs have been a topic of discussion in the field of public health for many years, as some studies have suggested that they might increase the risk of stroke, while others have not found a link. 

Stroke is a serious health problem that can cause death or disability, and there are things we can do to reduce our risk of having a stroke.

To get a better understanding of the relationship between egg consumption and stroke risk, researchers looked at data from 24 different studies involving many people over time, and combined the results in a special analysis called a meta-analysis.

Eggs and Stroke Risk: What You Need to Know

A study published in 2020 in the Frontiers of Nutrition journal looked at whether eating eggs increases the risk of having a stroke. The researchers analysed data from 24 different studies that followed many people over time. 

The researchers also looked at how many eggs people ate and how that affected their stroke risk. They found that the relationship between egg consumption and stroke risk was not a straight line. Instead, there was a “J-shaped” curve, which means that very low egg consumption and very high egg consumption were both linked to a slightly higher risk of stroke.

Reducing Your Risk of Stroke: Understanding Modifiable Factors

Modifiable factors are risk factors for stroke that can be changed or modified. This means that by making lifestyle changes, people can reduce their risk of having a stroke. 

For example, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, poor diet, and physical inactivity are all modifiable risk factors that can be addressed to lower the chance of stroke. By making changes to these risk factors, people can take control of their health and reduce their risk of stroke.

Environmental factors such as air pollution and lead exposure are also contributors, with non-modifiable factors including age, sex, race, heredity, and personal history of prior stroke or cardiovascular disease.

Egg Consumption and Its Effect on Stroke Risk

Eggs are a rich source of high-quality protein, folate, choline, riboflavin, selenium, and many vitamins, but also have a high dietary cholesterol level. Epidemiological studies examining the association between egg consumption and stroke have produced inconsistent results. 

Some studies showed an increased risk of stroke, while others indicated a significant or non-significant inverse relationship. To provide a reliable quantitative assessment, several meta-analyses were performed, including the current study involving 24 prospective cohort studies and 16 publications.

Meta-Analysis Findings on Egg Consumption and Stroke Risk
The meta-analysis found that there is no significant link between egg consumption and stroke risk when comparing the highest and lowest levels of egg intake. 

However, when looking at different regions of the world, researchers found that higher egg consumption was associated with a lower likelihood of stroke in Asia but not in North America or Europe. 

The study also showed that the relationship between egg intake and stroke risk was nearly J-shaped, indicating that there may be an optimal range of egg consumption for stroke prevention. Overall, the study suggests that while egg intake may not be harmful, it’s important to further explore the appropriate amount of egg consumption to minimise the risk of stroke.

Public Health Implications
The results of this study may have public health implications, particularly in light of guidelines that removed the limit for dietary cholesterol and recommended eggs as part of a healthy diet. 

The Chinese guideline recommends healthy adults consume 40-50g of egg daily, but no specific data was provided in the USA. The current study revealed a nearly J-shaped relationship between egg consumption and stroke risk, suggesting that egg intake should be restricted.

Potential Protective Mechanisms of Egg Consumption Against Stroke
Several possible protective biological mechanisms of egg consumption against stroke have been proposed, including increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), ovotransferrin peptide in egg white, lutein and zeaxanthin, and other egg components such as vitamins and zinc. 

However, the adverse effect of high levels of dietary cholesterol in eggs should also be considered.

Implications for Future Research

To better understand the relationship between egg consumption and stroke risk, future research should take into account changes in egg intake over time, the impact of different cooking methods on nutrient composition, and regional and dose-response differences. This will help to provide more accurate and comprehensive information to guide public health recommendations.

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