Date of Completion


Embargo Period


Major Advisor

Valerie B. Duffy

Associate Advisor

Jane Kerstetter

Associate Advisor

Michelle Judge

Field of Study

Nutritional Science


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


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.