Infants Tolerate Adult Equivalent of 40 Eggs Per Week

By Robert A. Gibson

Egg yolks can be a source of the long chain fish oil fat DHA but many people are concerned about the consequences on their cholesterol level.

DHA is an integral component of breast milk and until Dr. Simpolous convinced the FDA, was not added to infant formulas in the US. Randomized controlled trials of infant formula supplemented with DHA compared with formula containing only precursor fatty acids have consistently shown short-term improvements in visual and neural development of preterm infants.

Although the potential long-term benefits of DHA are still being explored, biochemical data indicate that breast-fed infants accumulate DHA in the brain until 12 mo of age and at a greater rate than do infants fed formula without DHA.

The most commonly cited reason for delaying the introduction of whole eggs to infants is to avoid sensitizing infants to egg white proteins and hence the development of egg-related allergies

Although an egg yolk typically contains 200 mg cholesterol and 6 grams of fat, introducing 4 eggs per week to the diets of weaning infants did not significantly alter plasma cholesterol concentrations in either breast-fed or formula-fed infants.

Egg allergy and intolerance are among the most common food allergies and intolerances. In our group of healthy infants with no known protein allergies or intolerances, only 1 of 82 breast-fed and 1 of 79 formula-fed infants were withdrawn from the trial because the parents perceived that the infants had an adverse reaction to the egg yolk intervention.

The results of the trial indicate that it is possible and practical for weaning infants to consume 4 egg yolks/week without affects on the intake of other foods such as cereals and meats.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 75, No. 6, 1084-1092, June 2002

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

The amazing part of this study is that a typical 15 pound infant could tolerate four eggs a week. Since the average adult is 150 pounds, this would be equivalent to eating 40 eggs per week.

Eggs can be an important part of infant nutrition, especially if the chicken was feed large amounts of flax seeds at least one month before they produce the eggs. This ensures the omega-3 oils have enough time to reach the eggs.

Most people are afraid of having eggs and don't realize the wonderful source of nutrition that eggs really are.

Ideally the yolks should be consumed raw as the heat will damage many of the highly perishable nutrients in the yolk. Additionally the yolk has cholesterol that can be oxidized with high temperatures, especially when it is contact with the iron present in the whites and cooked as in scrambled eggs.

I know, I can hear more than half of you screaming, "Well what about coming down with salmonella?"

Well for the most part that is a non-issue, especially if you are consuming eggs from healthy chickens. If you are healthy, even if the egg has salmonella it won't cause a problem. Usually the worse that could happen to you would be a case of loose stools or diarrhea that is easily resolved with taking a high quality good bacteria product every hour until you are better.

You can cook the whites in a skillet over a low heat. Egg whites have avidin in them which can lead to a biotin (B vitamin) deficiency if you consume raw egg whites regularly.

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