Eggs Can Deliver More Nutrients into Human Diet

CANADA - Research underway at the University of Manitoba has shown the egg to be an effective and efficient way of delivering a range of important nutrients into the human diet, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 20 January 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

Scientists with the University of Manitoba's Faculty's of Human Ecology and Agricultural and Food Sciences have found that, by manipulating the diets of laying hens, they can dramatically increase the level of folic acid, a water-soluble vitamin, in the egg.

As part of an effort aimed at preventing birth defects, by increasing the amount of folic acid in the diets of pregnant women, researchers were able to triple the amount of folic acid, reaching a level where one egg is able to meet about 25 percent of the human daily requirement for folate. Dr Jim House says the research is also applicable to other nutrients.

Dr Jim House-University of Manitoba

There's been a lot of interest in looking at what's called designer eggs.

How can we modify the nutrient composition of the egg to, in particular, focus on those nutrients in which there's evidence that sub-components of the human diet might be at risk for marginal or low status of a particular nutrient.

For example there's been interest in looking at other vitamins including vitamin D and vitamin E as well, other water soluble vitamins and also looking at other nutrients such as trace elements or minerals.

Selenium, for example, there's been a lot of interest in looking at selenium enrichment in eggs so that's one particular aspect.

The other component is to look at novel bioactives, compounds that we don't typically consider to be classic nutrients but that might have a health promoting effect.

We're calling those natural health products or nutraceuticals.

The egg could serve as another vehicle of introducing those particular healthful compounds.

Dr House says there is interest in other nutritional aspects of the egg, in particular, whether or not the lipid profile, including omega three fatty acids and cholesterol, can be modified.

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