An egg a day can help maintain Vitamin D levels in winter, new research finds

Eating an egg a day can help keep Vitamin D deficiencies at bay during the winter months, new IPAN research has shown.

The study is the first to investigate the relationship between eating commercially available free range eggs and blood vitamin D levels during the winter months in young and middle aged Australian adults.

The study involved a randomised controlled trial of 51 adults aged 25-40 years, who were divided into three groups and asked to consume either two, seven or 12 eggs per week for 12 weeks.

Research lead Professor Robin Daly said the findings indicated that weekly consumption of seven eggs was an effective dietary approach to optimise vitamin D levels during the winter months as the sunlight hours decline.

As well as measuring blood vitamin D levels, the research team also looked at changes in blood lipids and acceptability of eating the allocated number of eggs after 12 weeks. Prof Daly said there were no significant adverse effects on blood lipids (i.e. cholesterol) and that participants found it relatively easy to eat the eggs as part of their daily diets.

The main source of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight. Eggs are one of the few foods that are a naturally rich source of vitamin D.

As many as one in three Australians do not get enough vitamin D from sunlight or their diet in winter. This can lead to fatigue, bone and muscle aches and pain and muscle weakness as well as mood changes and an increased risk of contracting respiratory infections.

“Vitamin D deficiency can have a negative impact on bone health as the key function of vitamin D is to promote calcium absorption, but it may also increase the risk of other non-skeletal diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, depression and Alzheimer’s disease,” Prof Daly said.

“The simple strategy of eating an egg a day is in line with current Australian dietary guidelines and could help prevent health complications caused by vitamin D deficiencies.”


Funding statement: This study was supported by a grant from Australian Eggs. The sponsor was not involved in the conduct of the study, collection, management or analysis of the data, or the decision to publish the results.