Home LanguageEnglish Finnish research found that dietary cholesterol does not increase the risk of stroke

Finnish research found that dietary cholesterol does not increase the risk of stroke

by Audrey Hazel

According to a new Finnish study, intake of high concentrations of dietary cholesterol or up to one egg per day does not cause a stroke. Furthermore, no association was found among carriers of the APOE4 phenotype, which affected cholesterol metabolism and was very common in the Finnish population. The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Previous studies have shown a relationship between dietary cholesterol or egg intake and stroke risk, but is this really true? Some studies have found that high dietary cholesterol intake is associated with the risk of stroke, while others believe that high cholesterol consumption is not related to the rate of the middle blower. For most people, dietary cholesterol only slightly affects serum cholesterol levels.

The dietary habits of 1,950 men aged between 42 and 60 years with no baseline diagnosis of a cardiovascular disease were assessed at the onset the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, KIHD, in 1984-1989 at the University of Eastern Finland. APOE phenotype data were available for 1,015 of the men participating in the study. Of those, 32% were known carriers of APOE4.

During a follow-up of 21 years, 217 men were diagnosed with stroke. The study found that neither dietary cholesterol nor egg consumption was associated with the risk of stroke – not even in carriers of APOE4.

The findings suggest that moderate cholesterol intake or daily egg consumption are not associated with the risk of stroke, even in persons who are genetically predisposed to a greater effect of dietary cholesterol on serum cholesterol levels. In the highest control group, the study participants had an average daily dietary cholesterol intake of 520 mg and they consumed an average of one egg per day, which means that the findings cannot be generalised beyond these levels. One egg contains approximately 200 mg of cholesterol. In this study, about a fourth of the total dietary cholesterol consumed came from eggs. Furthermore, the generalisability of this study is also weakened by the fact that the study population did not have a pre-existing cardiovascular disease at baseline and the size of the study population was relatively small. Therefore, the findings of the study should be verified in a larger cohort as well as in people with a pre-existing cardiovascular disease, who are currently advised to limit their intake of cholesterol and eggs.

Media Contacts Information:

Jyrki Virtanen, PhD, Adjunct Professor in Nutritional Epidemiology, University of Eastern Finland Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, tel. +358294454542, jyrki.virtanen@uef.fi

Anna Abdollahi, University of Eastern Finland, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, tel. +35845177477, annaab@student.uef.fi

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