Egg Consumption Doesn’t Increase Stroke Risk

Egg consumption was not associated with an increased risk for stroke, according to results from a new Finnish study.

“Epidemiologic studies suggest inverse associations between consumption of egg, a major source of dietary cholesterol, and stroke, the authors, writing in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, wrote in their abstract. “However, the evidence of the relation remains limited, especially among carriers of apolipoprotein E4 (apoE4), which influences cholesterol metabolism.”

The authors sought to examine associations between egg and cholesterol intakes with stroke risk and with blood pressure, in a population of 1,950 older male participants in the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. The researchers pulled data on apoE4 phenotype for 1,015 of the participants. They also assessed dietary intake at baseline and examined hospital discharge registries for incident stroke events. Using Cox proportional hazards regression analyses, they estimated associations with stroke risk.

No Added Risk, with Generalizability Problems

According to the study results, there were 217 incidences of any stroke (166 ischemic and 55 hemorrhagic). When the highest egg consumption quartile (one egg per day and a cholesterol intake of 520 mg) was compared with the lowest, adjusted hazard ratios were 0.81 (95% CI, 0.54 to 1.23) for total stroke, 0.84 (95% CI, 0.53 to 1.54) for ischemic stroke, and 0.75 (95% CI, 0.32 to 1.77) for hemorrhagic stroke. Diastolic blood pressure was lower in the highest egg consumption quartile versus the lowest, although the researchers reported no significant associations with systolic blood pressure or cholesterol intake.

The authors noted that the study had some generalizability issues, primarily that the data could not be generalized beyond the study control population (about one-fourth of the total dietary cholesterol was from egg consumption.

“The generalizability of this study is also weakened by the fact that the study population did not have a pre-existing cardiovascular disease at baseline and the size of the study population was relatively small,” according to a press release about the study. “Therefore, the findings of the study should be verified in a larger cohort as well as in people with a pre-existing cardiovascular disease, who are currently advised to limit their intake of cholesterol and eggs.”