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Lutein plays a significant role in age-related macular degeneration and cardiovascular disease risk reduction. Previous research, however, has not evaluated the effects of lutein on risk factors of both conditions concomitantly. In this 12-wk study, 33 healthy older adults 40-79 y were randomly assigned to consume: one egg substitute = 0 µg lutein and 0 mg cholesterol, n =12, egg = 200 µg lutein and 230 mg cholesterol, n=10, or one lutein fortified egg = 260 µg lutein and 230 mg cholesterol, n=11, per day.

Baseline serum lutein positively associated with HDL-C concentrations (r = 0.43, P = 0.02). Macular pigment (MP) density positively correlated with TC (r = 0.40, P = 0.02), LDL-C (r = 0.39, P = 0.02) and HDL particle size (r = 0.50, P = 0.003) and inversely with small HDL (r = - 0.47, p = 0.006) and small LDL (r = - 0.38, P = 0.047) particles number. LDL and HDL subfraction profiles may play a role in the transport of lutein from serum to retina.

Serum lutein concentrations increased significantly from baseline (P = 0.009) and MP density improved (P = 0.07) in egg groups. Following egg consumption, HDL particle size significantly increased (P = 0.03), while total VLDL (P = 0.003) and small VLDL (P = 0.008) decreased. Total LDL particles number also tended to decrease (P = 0.07). Changes in HDL particle size was positively associated with changes in serum HDL-C concentration (r = 0.55, P= 0.003).

Changes in apB concentrations were inversely related to changes in total LDL particles number (rho = 0.47, P = 0.003).

Intracellular adhesion molecule -1 (sICAM-1), vascular cellular adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1), and C- reactive protein (CRP) concentrations decreased in the egg group (P < 0.05). Changes in serum sICAM-1 tended to inversely correlate with changes in HDL-C concentrations (rho = - 0.33, P = 0.07).

Overall, egg consumption promoted favorable MP density and lipoprotein subfractions profile and decreased serum sICAM-1, sVCAM-1, and CRP. Future studies with larger sample sizes are required to continue evaluating the beneficial roles of egg lutein on both eye and vascular health.