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Eggs don’t increase cardiovascular risk for people with diabetes

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — Consuming eggs don’t increase cardiovascular risk factors in people with pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes, according to a study in Australia that disprove the belief that eating eggs is harmful for heart health of patients of Type-2 diabetes.

Researchers at the University of Sidney’s Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders have found that eating up to 12 eggs per week for a year did not lead to increased heart disease.

Their findings, conducted over a period of 12 months during which the participants were put on a high egg (upto 12 eggs per week) diet or a low-egg (less than two eggs per week) diet, were published Monday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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In a previous study published in 2015, the researchers found the number of eggs was safe during three months that researchers monitored cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure in participants. The new study was longer term, but conducted with the same participants between January 2013 and July 2014.

“Despite differing advice around safe levels of egg consumption for people with pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes, our research indicates people do not need to hold back from eating eggs if this is part of a healthy diet,” Dr Nick Fuller of the the University of Sydney said in a press release.

“A healthy diet as prescribed in this study emphasized replacing saturated fats [such as butter] with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as avocado and olive oil.”

The study included 128 participants diagnosed with prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes 18 years and old.

Participants, for the first three months, were asked to aim for a stable weight while adopting either a high-egg diet or a low-egg diet. At the end of the three months, no increase in the markers of cardiovascular diseases was observed.

Participants, while maintaining their weight, were broken into two groups — 66 participatns ate 12 eggs per week, and 62 participants ate less than two eggs per week. There was no difference in cardiovascular risk markers identified at the end of three months.

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For the next three months, the participants aimed at weight loss while still being on either high or low-egg diets. For another six months, the researchers followed up with the participants who followed the same diets, without showing any sign of increase in cardiovascular risk factors.

Participants kept the same egg diet for an additional three months, and then another six months. In every stage, both groups had no adverse changes to cardiovascular risk markers, while also extending equivalent weight loss. Their goal was 500 calories less than their estimated energy requirements for weight maintenance.

The researchers said the new study supports the assumed health benefits of eggs, including being a source of protein and micronutrients that support a broad range of health factors, including the intake of fat and carbohydrates, eye and heart health, health blood vessels and health pregnancies.

With Agency Inputs

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Vitamin D can help tackle diabetes

Raghu Kshitiz

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Boosting vitamin D — often referred to as the sunshine vitamin because it is created in our skin in response to direct sunlight — can help tackle diabetes, according to a study from the Salk Institute.

The condition is caused by faulty beta cells in the pancreas. These cells manufacture and release insulin, the hormone essential for controlling glucose levels in the blood.

If beta cells produce too little insulin, or none at all, glucose can accumulate in the blood at levels that are toxic to cells and tissues.

Researchers from the Salk Institute have reported a potential new approach for treating diabetes by protecting beta cells.

Previous studies have found a connection between low vitamin D levels and a higher risk of diabetes, but the mechanisms involved have been challenging to unravel.

The researchers found that a particular compound — called iBRD9 — boosted the activity of vitamin D receptors when they were bound to vitamin D molecules. This had a protective effect on the beta cells.

They demonstrated that, in a mouse model of diabetes, iBRD9 brought glucose levels back down into the normal range.

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When beta cells become dysfunctional, the body can’t make insulin to control blood sugar (glucose) and levels of glucose can rise to dangerous, even fatal, levels.

“We know that diabetes is a disease caused by inflammation,” explained senior author Ronald Evans adding, “In this study, we identified the vitamin D receptor as an important modulator of both inflammation and beta cell survival.”

The team accomplished this by conducting a screening test to look for compounds that improved the survival of beta cells in a dish. They then tested the combination in a mouse model of diabetes and showed that it could bring glucose back to normal levels in the animals.

“This study started out by looking at the role of vitamin D in beta cells,” said first author Zong Wei. “Epidemiological studies in patients have suggested a correlation between high vitamin D concentrations in the blood and a lower risk of diabetes, but the underlying mechanism was not well understood. It’s been hard to protect beta cells with the vitamin alone. We now have some ideas about how we might be able to take advantage of this connection.”

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The underlying process has to do with transcription the way that genes are translated into proteins. Combining the new compound with vitamin D allowed certain protective genes to be expressed at much higher levels than they are in diseased cells.

The discovery’s implications can have far-reaching implications: It identifies a basic mechanism that can be translated into drugging many different targets in the clinic.

The findings appeared in the journal Cell.

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