Eggs, Vitamin D and Diabetes

Vitamin D plays a number of critical roles in the body. It is essential for calcium absorption and regulation, bone growth and repair, and neuromuscular and immune function, to name a few. In recent years, new research has favorably linked vitamin D to several diseases and conditions, from cancer to obesity. This continues to be an area of active investigation.

One area where vitamin D may play a role is in the development of type 2 diabetes.  Several prospective cohort studies have identified a correlation between inadequate vitamin D levels and type 2 diabetes.  A recent pre-clinical study in The Journal of Nutrition by researchers at Iowa State University supports this connection.

Lean rodents and those at risk for the development of type 2 diabetes were fed one of two sources of vitamin D: supplemental vitamin D or an equivalent amount of vitamin D from whole egg powder.  Circulating concentrations of vitamin D and body composition were measured following the 8-week study.

Results showed that rats consuming whole eggs experienced far greater increases in serum vitamin D concentrations compared with rats fed supplemental vitamin D.  Most importantly, weight gain and body fat, risk factors for the development of type 2 diabetes, were reduced in rats with higher concentrations of vitamin D, particularly in rats fed whole eggs compared to supplemental vitamin D.

Eggs are one of the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D.  The results of this present study suggest that the vitamin D in eggs is more effective at influencing circulating vitamin D levels than an equivalent amount of supplemental vitamin D.  Whether this finding translates to humans remains to be determined.


Reference: Saande C, Jones SK, Hahn KE, Reed CH, Rowling MJ, Schalinske KL.  Dietary whole egg consumption attenuates body weight gain and is more effective than supplemental cholecalciferol in maintaining vitamin D balance in type 2 diabetic rats. J Nutr. 2017;147:1-7.

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