Egg Yolks May Reduce Risk of Macular Degeneration

Consumption of regular egg yolk may reduce the risk associated with eye disease dry macular degeneration.  According to a report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the risk of dry macular degeneration may be lessened because egg yolk raises macular pigment concentrations.

According to the study’s senior author, Dr. Robert J. Nicolosi, “Two eggs per day is probably all that is needed to maximize blood levels of lutein and zeaxanthin as well as macular pigment optic density (MPOD) status.”  Both lutein and zeaxanthin have been shown in other studies to help lower the risk associated with macular degeneration.

Study subjects were all older adults taking statins.  Their low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol levels were unaffected even when they ate as many as four yolks per day.  Out of the 52 participants in the study, serum lutein increased by an average for 16 percent after the 2-yolk phase and 24 percent after the 4-yolk phase of the study when compared to the baseline.  Serum zeaxanthin increased by 36 percent and 82 percent respectively.  Macular pigment optic density increased significantly after both phases, but only among individuals with low baseline density values.

While these results may indicate a lower risk of dry macular degeneration, there is a current study underway to evaluate the consumption of 12 eggs per week on the progression of dry macular degeneration.  The senior author points out “Although this was only a 5-week study and the 1-year data are not ready for comment, it would seem to me that physicians could consider that those patients on statins, who have early stage macular degeneration, could be prescribed 2 egg yolks per day.”

Dr. Nicolosi also added that “increases in blood levels of lutein and zeaxanthin and MPOD correlate well with the risk for age-related macular degeneration.”

The impact of such nutrients supports other studies that have indicated that the risk of macular degeneration for individuals can be lessened.