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J Nutr. 2006 Oct;136(10):2519-24.

Consumption of one egg per day increases serum lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations in older adults without altering serum lipid and lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations.

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Center for Health and Disease Research, Department of Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Sciences, University of Massachusetts Lowell, MA 01854, USA.


Lutein and zeaxanthin accumulate in the macular pigment of the retina, and are reported to be associated with a reduced incidence of age-related macular degeneration. A rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin in the American diet is the yolk of chicken eggs. Thus, the objective of the study was to investigate the effect of consuming 1 egg/d for 5 wk on the serum concentrations of lutein, zeaxanthin, lipids, and lipoprotein cholesterol in individuals >60 y of age. In a randomized cross-over design, 33 men and women participated in the 18-wk study, which included one run-in and one washout period of no eggs prior to and between two 5-wk interventions of either consuming 1 egg or egg substitute/d. Serum lutein 26% (P < 0.001) and zeaxanthin 38% (P < 0.001) concentrations increased after 5-wk of 1 egg/d compared with the phase prior to consuming eggs. Serum concentrations of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides were not affected. These findings indicate that in older adults, 5 wk of consuming 1 egg/d significantly increases serum lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations without elevating serum lipids and lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations.

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