Eating omega-3 enriched liquid eggs can improve blood triglyceride levels, boost heart health, and help families reach their daily recommended intake of omega-3, according to the results of a clinical trial published this month in Food Research International.
The trial - conducted by University of Guelph researchers Emily L. Rose and Bruce J. Holub - showed that a breakfast consisting of omega-3 enriched liquid eggs decreased blood triglyceride levels by 32 per cent, reduced the triglyceride/HDL-cholesterol ratio by 37 per cent, and produced a moderate reduction in blood pressure levels without impacting serum cholesterol. The EPA and DHA blood levels of the test subjects rose 96 per cent and 210 per cent respectively, significantly lowering their estimated cardiovascular risk status.
Published studies show excess amounts of triglycerides in the blood and high blood pressure levels, as well as low DHA/EPA blood levels, have been linked to coronary artery disease and stroke in some people.
'The results of the study support enriched eggs as an excellent vehicle for the delivery of omega-3, and given their broad appeal, eggs have the potential to bridge a critical nutritional gap that exists in the North American diet,' said Bruce Holub, University Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Sciences at University of Guelph, Canada's leading food science and research institution. 'Use of this liquid egg product as a functional food could serve as a dietary intervention for managing the risks associated with cardiovascular disease.'
The predominant source of DHA and EPA in the North American diet comes from fish - 90 per cent in the United States and 75 per cent in Canada. However, as the new study points out, North American families are only getting a fraction of the recommended daily intake of omega-3.
The liquid eggs used in the study are produced by Burnbrae Farms and delivered 630 mg of both DHA and EPA omega-3. A 50 ml serving would provide a total of 250 mg of EPA and DHA, twice the average daily intake of EPA and DHA omega-3 in the North American diet. Egg Creations, a line of low-cholesterol liquid egg products offered by Burnbrae Farms in the U.S., provides 130 mg of DHA and 130 mg of EPA omega-3 per serving, comparable to the product used in the study.
'Current mean intakes of DHA and EPA in North America are at approximately 130 to 150 milligrams per day,' said Holub. 'This compares to a recommended daily intake ranging from 500 mg for healthy people to 900 mg per day for people with cardiovascular health problems. The shortfall is significant and needs to be addressed through increased public and health education efforts.'
The clinical trial involved 16 healthy men with moderately elevated triglyceride levels in their blood - greater than 90 mg per deciliter of serum (1 mmol/L). The men, between the ages of 30 and 65, were assigned to either eat an omega-3 enriched liquid egg breakfast or a control breakfast for an initial 21-day period, followed by the alternate breakfast for a second 21-day period. The two periods were separated by a washout period of 10 weeks, during which time the subjects returned to their usual diets.