Shell Eggs as A Vehicle for Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acids Influence on Serum Lipids and Platelet Aggregation in Humans Academic Article uri icon


  • Consumption of the omega-3 fatty acids indigenous to fish has been associated with decreased heart disease risk and improved neural tissue development in preterm infants. To increase the availability of these fatty acids, laying hen diets may be manipulated to increase yolk omega-3 fatty acid levels to levels similar to those found in lean fish. The current study investigated the usefulness of these enriched shell eggs for mediating health affects associated with omega-3 fatty acid consumption. Healthy male and female subjects (n=32) were assigned randomly to consume self-selected diets restricted in omega-3 fatty acids plus either regular (C) or n-3 enriched shell eggs (4/week), the latter from hens fed flaxseed (F, high in linolenic acid) or menhaden oil (M, high in docosahexaenoic acid). Subjects consumed all types for 6 weeks with a 4 week washout period between each for a total of 3 test periods. Plasma total cholesterol (TC) and triglycerides (TG) were determined enzymatically. Platelet aggregation was studied using collagen stimulated platelet-rich plasma preparations in 7 subjects per treatment. Percentage change for the above parameters was determined from Week 0 to Week 6 for each subject per period. Dietary intake was monitored using 3-day food records (2/period) by the Nutrient Data System (University of Minnesota, 1994). Data were analyzed by analysis of variance using the general linear model procedure of SAS (SAS Institute, 1992). Nutrients did not vary between dietary treatment or test periods. Week 0 plasma TC and TG levels were not influenced by dietary treatment indicating no carryover between periods. Egg consumption resulted in no significant changes in TC. Subjects consuming M eggs exhibited 10% and 25% reductions in TG during periods 1 and 2, respectively, however this effect was significant (P<.05) only during the second test period. Consumption of F eggs significantly lowered TG only during period 3. Changes in platelet aggregation were consistent among treatments for all periods. Control eggs tended to increase aggregation while consumption of M eggs reduced (P<.07) platelet aggregation by 10%. These data indicate that omcga-3 fatty acid rich shell eggs may positively impact variables associated with cardiovascular disease risk but that this effect varies with egg omega-3 fatty acid profile. 1995 American Dietetic Association.

published proceedings

  • Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

author list (cited authors)

  • Mayo, P. K., Elswyk, V., & Kubena, K. S.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Mayo, PK||Elswyk, Van||Kubena, KS

publication date

  • January 1995