Scientists from Deakin University found that eating an egg every day in winter can help keep your vitamin D levels up.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that has long been known to help the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus; both are critical for building bone.
Also, previous studies showed that vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections and reduce inflammation.
Vitamin D supplements are available in two forms: vitamin D2 (“ergocalciferol” or pre-vitamin D) and vitamin D3 (“cholecalciferol”).
Few foods naturally contain vitamin D, but some foods are fortified with the vitamin. For many people, the best way to get enough vitamin D is by taking a supplement.
Vitamin D also can be produced in the presence of the sun’s ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays, and vitamin D deficiency is a common health concern during winter.
Eggs are one of the few rich dietary sources of vitamin D, containing cholecalciferol (vitamin D-3) and 25-hydroxyvitamin D-3.
The latter has been reported to be 5 times more effective at increasing vitamin D levels in the body.
However, whether there is an optimal dose of eggs to increase or maintain a healthy vitamin D level during wintertime is not known.
In the current study, researchers aimed to examine how eating 2, 7, or 12 commercially available eggs per week can affect vitamin D levels in the body during the autumn-winter months in young adults.
In the 12-week study, 51 adults aged 25-40 years were assigned to eat 2 eggs/week, 7 eggs/week, or 12 eggs/week.
The team examined the change in the vitamin D level in the body. Forty-two (82%) participants completed the study.
The researchers found vitamin D levels in the body did not change strongly in either the 7-eggs/week or 12-eggs/week groups but strongly decreased in the 2-eggs/week group.
This led to a strong between-group difference after 12 weeks. People overall felt positive to eat eggs in all three groups.
Based on the findings, the team suggests that eating 7 commercially available eggs per week for 12 weeks is effective for preventing the wintertime decline in vitamin D levels in the body.
Future work needs to see if the benefit exists in older adults.
The research was published in The Journal of Nutrition and conducted by Professor Robin Daly et al.
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