Posted on May 21, 2019, 11 p.m.
Moderately high intake of dietary cholesterol or consumption of one egg per day has been found not to be associated with an elevated risk of stroke according to a University of Eastern Finland study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The study also failed to find an association in carriers of the APOE4 phenotype that affects cholesterol metabolism which is common among the Finnish population.
Association of dietary cholesterol or egg consumption with the risk of stroke has been contradictory in earlier studies, and data in the population of APOE4 carriers with associations between high intake of dietary cholesterol and risk of stroke was previously not available. Some studies have found no association, some have found a decreased risk of stroke, and others have found an increased risk of stroke. Dietary cholesterol, for most people, plays a small role in affecting serum cholesterol levels. Carriers of APOE4 which impacts cholesterol metabolism experience a greater effect, and prevalence of APOE4 in Finland is common with about one third of the population presenting as carriers.
Dietary habits of 1,950 men between the ages of 42-60 without diagnosis of a cardiovascular disease were assessed; APOE phenotype data was available for 1,015 of the participants of which 32% were known carriers of APOE4.
217 of the participants were diagnosed with stroke during a follow up of 21 years, dietary cholesterol and egg consumption were not found to be associated with the risk of stroke, even among the APOE4 carriers. Findings suggest even in those who are genetically predisposed to have a greater effect on serum levels moderate cholesterol or daily egg consumption are not associated with risk of stroke.
Those in the highest control group consumed an average of one egg a day and had an average daily dietary cholesterol intake of 520mg, findings can’t be generalised beyond these levels. One egg contains around 200mg of cholesterol, and about a fourth of the total cholesterol consumed came from eggs in this study. This study was limited by only involving a small male population who also didn’t have pre-existing cardiovascular disease. Findings will need to be replicated in a larger population with pre-existing CVD who are being advised to limit intake of eggs and cholesterol.
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