Research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that dietary cholesterol and egg intake are not associated with risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Rather, the study showed that eating eggs was actually associated with better performance in certain cognitive tests.
The Finnish study followed 2,497 adult men for nearly 22 years and showed no increased risk of incident dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, in a subset of 480 men who underwent cognitive function testing, higher egg intake was associated with improved executive function and frontal lobe performance.
The researchers acknowledge eggs’ exceptional nutrient package and state, “The bioactive compounds [in eggs], such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and choline, may have beneficial effects on inflammation and intestinal cholesterol absorption.” The authors add that, “high intake of choline has also been associated with fewer errors in a test that measured cognitive capacity…”
Eggs and dietary cholesterol were once implicated as a risk factor for the development of dementia or heart disease, however, contemporary research has shown several beneficial effects of eggs on health and disease risk markers. In fact, a recent review and meta-analysis reported that daily egg intake decreased stroke risk by 12%.
While this study appears promising, particularly given the demographic shifts towards a larger population of older Americans, more research is needed to better understand the connection between egg intake and cognitive function, particularly among different age groups.
Reference: Ylilauri MPT, et al. Association of dietary cholesterol and egg intakes with the risk of incident dementia or Alzheimer disease: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor StudyAm J Clin Nutr. 2016. Epub ahead of print.