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Nutr Metab (Lond). 2006 Jan 6;3:6.

Plasma LDL and HDL characteristics and carotenoid content are positively influenced by egg consumption in an elderly population.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA.



Approximately 1/3 of individuals have a high plasma response to dietary cholesterol (hyper-responders). Although increases in both LDL and HDL cholesterol have been observed, limited data exist regarding effects of egg consumption on lipoprotein subclasses and circulating carotenoids.


29 postmenopausal women (50-68 y) and 13 men (60-80 y) were assigned to either 3 eggs (EGG, 640 mg cholesterol/d) or an equal volume of cholesterol-free egg substitute (SUB, 0 mg cholesterol/d) for 30 d. Following a 3 wk wash out, subjects crossed over to the alternate diet. Individuals with a response to dietary cholesterol > 2.2 mg/dL for each additional 100 mg of dietary cholesterol were classified as hyper-responders while hypo-responders were those with a response <or= to 2.2 mg/dL. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy determined LDL and HDL size & particle concentrations. Dietary records were used to evaluate carotenoid consumption.


Hyper-responders had higher concentrations of both LDL (LDL-C) and HDL (HDL-C) cholesterol after EGG. In contrast, the concentrations of plasma LDL-C and HDL-C did not differ between the EGG and SUB for the hypo-responders. After EGG, hyper-responders had larger (>or= 21.2 nm) less atherogenic LDL particle (P < 0.001) and larger HDL particle (> 8.8 nm) (P < 0.01), with no significant difference in the total number of LDL or HDL particles. Regardless of response classification, all individuals had an increase in plasma lutein (from 32.4 +/- 15.2 to 46.4 +/- 23.3 ng/L) and zeaxanthin (from 8.8 +/- 4.8 to 10.7 +/- 5.8 ng/L) during EGG, yet hyper-responders displayed higher concentrations of carotenoids when compared to hypo-responders


These findings suggest that the increases in LDL-C and HDL-C due to increased egg consumption in hyper-responders are not related to an increased number of LDL or HDL particles but, to an increase in the less atherogenic lipoprotein subfractions. Also, increases in plasma carotenoids after EGG may provide a valuable dietary source for this population.

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