New European research has found that a higher intake of eggs, around one egg a day, may help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those who eat eggs less frequently.
Carried out by researchers
at the University of Eastern Finland, the new study looked at 239 blood serum
samples from participants taking part in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease
Risk Factor Study (KIHD) in eastern Finland.
The samples were analysed in four groups: subjects with higher egg intake, defined as an average of one egg per day; a lower egg intake, defined as an average of two eggs per week; those who ate eggs and developed type 2 diabetes; and those who remained healthy and acted as a control group. Participants were also followed for an average of 19.3 years.
The findings, published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, showed that the blood samples of men who ate an egg a day included certain lipid molecules that were positively linked with the blood profile of the group of healthy men who remained free of type 2 diabetes.
Certain molecules in the blood samples from men who developed diabetes were also correlated positively with those found in the lower‐egg‐intake group. In addition, the researchers also found that a higher level of the amino acid tyrosine in the blood predicted a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Previous findings from the same study have also suggested that eating roughly one egg per day is linked with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes among middle-aged men.
“The purpose of the current study was to explore potential compounds that could explain this association using non-targeted metabolomics, a technique that enables a broad profiling of chemicals in a sample,” says early stage researcher and lead author of the study Stefania Noerman from the University of Eastern Finland.
However, a high intake of eggs has previously been discouraged, due to their high level of cholesterol. On the other hand they are a rich source of nutrients which are beneficial for health, and opinion has been divided on their potential health effects.
The current findings suggest that there are potential metabolites which can explain how consuming eggs is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, although the researchers note that further studies are needed. “Although it is too early to draw any causal conclusions, we now have some hints about certain egg-related compounds that may have a role in type 2 diabetes development. Further detailed investigations with both cell models and intervention studies in humans that use modern techniques, such as metabolomics, are needed to understand the mechanisms behind physiological effects of egg intake,” concluded Noerman.
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