Whole Eggs Can Boost Your Beta-Carotene and Vitamin E Uptake from Veggie Salad W/ Oil Dressing by 400%-700%

Believe it or not raw food vegans, it takes scrambled (whole) eggs to turn your veggie salads into a "superfood", or rather, to have the "super effects" of all its "super vitamins" on your health . The photo shows an egg-recipe from The Organic Dish, take a look; and don't worry if you're afraid of healthy oats, you can leave out the out cakes under the eggs ;-)
I still see people throwing the good yolk of their eggs away. Shame on you! You're not just throwing the most nutrient dense (also in terms of nutrients per energy content) away, you also sacrifice the beneficial effects of the co-ingestion of eggs with other nutrient dense foods - benefits which have only recently been recognized by the scientific community when people finally starting looking beyond individual foods and nutrients and started to investigate the actual and practically more relevant effects of food matrices.

This trend that began with the negative effects of pesticides and/or heavy metals in "real meals" (which are always food matrices | Wilkowska. 2011) is something I have written about in the Facebook News and individual articles before and I plan to re-address, whenever scientists like Kim, Ferruzzi & Campbell (2016) give them the deserved attention.
You aren't interested in vitamns? Maybe in fasting for health and fatloss, then?

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Why's that? Well, as it turns out and has just been confirmed for beta-carotene and vitamin E (Kim. 2015 & 16) by the aforementioned authors from the Purdue University (Kim. 2016) the way you combine your foods is as important for your nutrient sufficiency as the micronutrient content of the individual foods.

Let's do some math, together: For the fat-soluble vitamins E, which are obviously relevant in the context of Kim et al.'s latest studies (2015 & 16), the RDA is 14 mg/day. That's the amount of vitamin E you'd get from a relatively small quantity of each of the randomly chosen high vitamin E foods in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Yes, you can get your vitamin E from a single food, but that's not wise - for several reasons (Kim. 2016).
The bad news is that for all for of them it is not clear whether you will actually absorb all the vitamin E, so that it can do its anti-oxidant magic in your bloodstream. Yes, for wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, and almonds, the relatively high fat content is one out of many potentially relevant cofactors (including cooking methods, the type of dietary lipids, and interactions with digestive enzymes or other dietary | Eitenmiller. 2004) compounds for the optimal uptake of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin E (learn more).

The paprika powder from Figure 1, no matter how nutrient dense it may be, will probably get only small amounts of its vital (=vitamin and other beneficial micronutrients) carriage (including, but not restricted to beta-carotene and vitamin E) delivered into your blood... unless, obviously, you combine it with the right foods and thus form a nutrient absorption optimizing food matrix.
Figure 2: Kim's 2015 study showed a similarly pronounced increases of the accumulated area under the curve (AUC), i.e. the total uptake of various carotenes when 3 eggs were added to vegetable salad (made with 3g of canola oil).
A food matrix consisting of three scrambled eggs and vitamin-(A)-rich vegetable salad of which Kim's previous study showed that it increased the bioavailability of beta-carotene 8-fold (see Figure 2). In the current study (Kim. 2016), the authors did thus speculate that...
"[b]ecause carotenoids and vitamin E are both fat-soluble nutrients, we expected cooked whole eggs to also increase the absorption of vitamin E contained in the same salad" (Kim. 2016).
to evaluate the accuracy of their hypothesis, the scientists recruited 16 healthy male participants for a randomized, single-blind, crossover-design experiment:
"[All] participants completed 3 trials that each included consuming a controlled diet for 7 d followed by a testing day. In addition, 1-wk dietary washout periods were scheduled between each of the trials. [...] The investigators were fully blinded to the participants test-day meals until after all testing and sample analyses were completed, but the participants and dietitians were not blinded to the meals" (Kim. 2016)
Obviously, I am not giving away any secrets, when I tell you that the experiment confirmed the authors' hypothesis. Interestingly enough, with practically relevant increases in vitamin E absorption being achieved with both, the "low egg" (LE - 1.5 cooked scrambled eggs) and the "high egg" (HE - 3 cooked scrambled eggs) vegetable salads, which contained, just as in the previous study, 100 g tomatoes, 62 g shredded carrots, 70 g baby spinach, 25 g romaine lettuce, and 5 g Chinese wolfberries, and was served with 3 g of canola oil (note: all vegetables and eggs were purchased from the same local market and brand throughout the study period, thus we can assume that the contents of alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol in the test salad were 2.1 and 2.0 mg/serving, respectively, for all three trials).
Figure 3: Relative increase (per vitamin E intake in mg) in TRL levels of alpha- and gamma-tocepherol in response to the ingestion of the vegetable salad alone, the salad with 1.5 or 3 cooked scrambled whole eggs (Kim. 2016)
In fact, the increase in the levels of alpha- and gamma-tocopherol in the subjects' triacylglycerol-rich lipoprotein fractions (TRLs) was even more pronounced than that of the carotenes in Kim et al.'s 2015 study. Since eggs contain sign. amounts of vitamin E, themselves (they don't contain, alpha-, beta-carotene and lycopene), we do yet have to look at the relative (i.e. relative uptake of amount of vitamin E that was ingested) uptake levels I have plotted for you in Figure 3. For these, the increases for alpha- and gamma-tocopherol were 'only' 107%, 144%, 441% and 358% in the 1.5 egg LE and the 3 egg HE group, respectively.

That the former, i.e. the increase in the LE = 1.5 egg trial didn't reach statistical significance is, as the authors rightly point out, most likely "due to the small sample size and low statistical power" (Kim. 2016) - a phenomenon that has been observed previously in small-scale studies that compared the nutrient availability of vitamin E with different doses of fat (Mah. 2015 | this study also used a less preferable marker of vitamin E absorption, namely plasmo not triacylglycerol-rich lipoprotein fractions (TRLs) levels, which mainly represent newly absorbed dietary vitamin E, as the studies by Kim et al.).
Highly Suggested Read: "Egg-Ology Today: The Underappreciated Health Benefits of Egg Phospholipids, Prote-ins & Antioxidants in the Yolk" | more.
Bottom line: Whole eggs are good for you! If you want to know what, i.e. which substance or nutrient (many of which I've discussed in the article you can read by clicking on the three eggs to the right) it is that gives eggs this ability, you will yet have to continue getting your EOD dose of SuppVersiy articles and Facebook News, because Kim's latest study was not designed to "assess the specific impact of [different] components of egg yolk on vitamin E absorption" (Kim. 2016)... after two studies showing significant benefits, however, we can be almost sure that a follow up study will be conducted; and if so, I can guarantuee that I will address it here or in the SV Facebook News, where you can also comment on this article!
  • Eitenmiller, Ronald R., and Junsoo Lee. Vitamin E: food chemistry, composition, and analysis. CRC Press, 2004.
  • Kim, Jung Eun, et al. "Effects of egg consumption on carotenoid absorption from co-consumed, raw vegetables." The American journal of clinical nutrition 102.1 (2015): 75-83.
  • Kim, Jung Eun, Mario G. Ferruzzi, and Wayne W. Campbell. "Egg Consumption Increases Vitamin E Absorption from Co-Consumed Raw Mixed Vegetables in Healthy Young Men." The Journal of Nutrition (2016): First published ahead of print September 21, 2016 as doi: 10.3945/jn.116.236307
  • Mah, Eunice, et al. "a-Tocopherol bioavailability is lower in adults with metabolic syndrome regardless of dairy fat co-ingestion: a randomized, double-blind, crossover trial." (2015).
  • Wilkowska, Angelika, and Marek Biziuk. "Determination of pesticide residues in food matrices using the QuEChERS methodology." Food Chemistry 125.3 (2011): 803-812.
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