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No link to moderate egg intake and CVD

Thursday March 5th, 2020

Moderate egg intake is not associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, while taking fish oil supplements is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, according to two studies published today.

The association between egg intake and CVD risk has been a topic of debate over the past decade but the report in the latest edition of The BMJ found no overall association.

A team of USA-based researchers examined data from three large US cohort studies: The Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), the NHS II, and the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study (HPFS). These included 83,349 female nurses aged 30-55; 90,214 female nurses aged 25-44; and 42,055 male health professionals aged 40-75, respectively, who were free of CVD, type 2 diabetes and cancer at the start of the study.

During the follow up period, 14,806 cases of CVD were recorded, including 9,010 cases of coronary heart disease and 5,903 cases of stroke.

The researchers established that most people ate between one to five eggs per week, and those with a higher egg intake had a higher BMI, were less likely to be treated with statins, and ate more red meat.

After adjusting for age, lifestyle, and dietary factors, no association was found between egg intake and risk of CVD.

Results from an updated meta-analysis of 28 observational studies further support the overall lack of an association between egg intake and CVD risk, but evidence varied between studies conducted in the US, Europe and Asia.

The BMJ also publishes the findings of an observational study by researchers in China and the USA into the link between fish oil supplements and CVD.

Drawing data from the UK Biobank - a large population based study of more than half a million British men and women - the analysis included 427,678 men and women aged between 40 and 69 years old, without CVD or cancer, who were enrolled in the study from 2006 to 2010 and completed a questionnaire on supplement use.

Almost a third of participants reported taking regular fish oil supplements at the start of the study and the researchers found that these were associated with a 13% lower risk of all-cause mortality, a 16% lower risk of CVD mortality, and a 7% lower risk of CVD events.

They also found that the association between fish oil use and CVD events appeared to be stronger among those with high blood pressure.

The researchers conclude that habitual fish oil use “is associated with a lower risk of all-cause and CVD mortality and a marginal benefit against CVD events among the general population”.

Drouin-Chartier JP, Chen S, Li Y et al. Eggs consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease: findings from three large prospective US cohort studies and a systematic review and updated meta-analysis. BMJ 5 March 2020.

Li ZH, Zhong WF, Liu S et al. Associations of habitual fish oil supplementation with cardiovascular outcomes and all-cause mortality: evidence from a large population based cohort study. BMJ 5 March 2020.

Tags: Asia | Diet & Food | Heart Health | North America | UK News

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